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Coping with Loneliness During the Holidays

Coping with Loneliness During the Holidays

Holidays are traditionally a time for friends and family to gather and celebrate. For some, it’s the only time of year when they get to see their family and many look forward to it all through the year. The holiday season looks different this year and a lot of us are experiencing increased loneliness. It may be difficult or impossible for you to visit loved ones due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. Maybe you’ve decided to be alone this year to help reduce the spread of the virus.

For some, this may be our first holiday season alone. Others may have experienced this before, but it doesn’t make it any less difficult this time around. Some people may be apart from their family for reasons that have nothing to do with the pandemic. This could include situations of estrangement, where you have taken the deliberate decision to reduce or remove all contact with family members.

The holiday season is a common trigger for loneliness. People who may have been completely content being alone throughout the year may begin feeling sad, isolated and lonely as the year comes to a close. Here are a few things to consider as you try to manage these feelings.

Take Care of Yourself

It’s important to take care of yourself when you are feeling lonely. Consider the ways that you can be a friend to yourself during this time. Self-care is especially important when dealing with loneliness. This is because we may have a tendency to neglect our own needs when we are feeling alone. Take the time to ensure you are having sufficient and healthy meals and getting enough sleep. It may sound simple, but ensure that you are drinking enough water, too. Take the time to keep your environment clean and comfortable. These basic acts of self-care are examples of showing up for yourself and reaffirming your relationship with yourself.

Be Extra Kind and Gentle

Loneliness can trigger thoughts of self-pity or worthlessness. Practicing acts of kindness towards yourself can help to counteract these feelings. Taking the time to tell yourself reassuring words can be very effective during difficult times. Maybe you have a favorite phrase or saying that you can repeat to yourself when these feelings arise. Consider creating a playlist of songs that make you happy. You can have the playlist ready to go for when the feelings of loneliness arise. Maybe you can create a list of favorite movies to watch when you feel alone. What other ways can you show kindness to yourself? Think of something that you would want a friend or loved one to do for you and do it for yourself. Doing things to make yourself happy helps to remind you that you are self-sufficient.

Reach Out When You Can

Sometimes, we double down on our loneliness by withdrawing from loved ones. We may feel lonely, but still find ourselves sabotaging relationships. This turns into a cycle as our actions confirm our feelings of loneliness. This may manifest in many ways such as not returning calls or texts from friends and family, even though we crave connection. Try to push through these feelings of isolation and reach out to loved ones to maintain contact. A quick phone call can do so much and only takes a bit of effort and time. Remember that the best way to have a friend is to be a friend. Consider that your loved ones may be feeling lonely too. Who can you reach out to today?

Remember to Be Grateful

There are many benefits to practicing gratitude. A great way to counteract loneliness is to feel appreciation for all the good in your life. This is because loneliness is a feeling of lack, while gratitude is a feeling of abundance. Take the time to step outside of your loneliness and examine the positive things in your life. Though you may be lonely in the moment, you still have people in your life that you appreciate. You still have things in your life that you appreciate. What fills you with joy? Is it your work, hobbies, a passion project or a pet? Can you recall a happy day from your past that you feel grateful for? Being grateful for the past and present reminds us that there are good things to come in the future.

Manage Holiday Expectations

As a society, we have come to have great expectations of the holiday season. Holiday movies show us grand gestures and extravagant gifts. Social media may cause us to compare our holiday to someone else’s. You may feel like your holiday is inadequate if it doesn’t match up to expectations you have created for yourself. This year, it’s more important than ever to manage holiday expectations. The pandemic has created challenges for everyone and it may simply not be possible to have the holiday that you want. Consider how you can learn to be content with your current circumstances by accepting that this holiday season won’t be “perfect” – and that’s okay. How can you make the best of what you have and perhaps create new traditions on your own?

Speaking with a therapist can help you to manage feelings of isolation and loneliness this holiday season and as the pandemic continues. Click here to schedule a free consultation to get matched with a therapist who meets your needs.

How to Have The “Perfect” Workout

How to Have The “Perfect” Workout

Self-care related to working out has drastically changed in quarantine. Thus, many at home workout programs are trending. We’ve all seen online workout programs that promise results in 7 days, weight loss, or a changed body. These fake promises can really scare us into paying money for “quick change” that society deems necessary. They also lead us to question whether or not their workouts work for us. So, before jumping into a workout, we first have to ask ourselves a few questions, such as “what is a perfect workout, and how can I achieve it?

The Perfect Workout Is One Where You Have Fun

Are you having fun when working out, or do you dread having to pull out your yoga mat, or weights to prepare for exercise? This is an important question to ask yourself before starting a workout. Workouts are supposed to be fun. You should always leave a workout feeling good. A workout should make you want to do it again. If you find yourself being anxious about working out, then it may not be the best workout for you. Workouts should be done willingly and freely, not out of fear or panic.

One way to combat boring, or lackluster workouts is to find a workout that aligns with one of your hobbies. If you like to dance try Zumba, hip hop workouts, or ballet focused workouts. if you like to sing find workouts that are set to your favorite songs. If you are a big fan of celebrities try learning the choreography to one of their songs. if high impact workouts are too draining, switch to low impact or ” no jumping” workouts. This keeps things exciting, new, and fresh. They also make for a fun workout that you will want to do again.

Make Sure You Feel Confident

A perfect workout helps you feel strong and confident. Workouts that help you love the body you’re in while working towards the body you want are the best for you. Workouts should focus on helping you feel great, and take focus off obsessing over weight or burning calories. Workout instructors that do not shame you or put you down when working out help you feel more confident. Workouts that nurture you and are patient with you in the learning process build up your confidence. This also allows you to feel powerful, and sure of your own abilities.

When tuning into a workout video, pay attention to how the instructor speaks to your or the audience. Is the voice nurturing, caring, motivating, and kind? is the voice demeaning, harsh, or unkind? If the voice of the instructor or the mood of your workout feels like the latter, then it is time to find another workout. Make sure to find a workout that  helps you feel motivated, praised, and comfortable. Once you find a workout that does that, you find that it’s worth the search.

A Perfect Workout Allows You to De-Stress

Workouts that help you de-stress and relax are great. This is because they can serve as an outlet, and create a space that allows you to feel calm. Workouts that add to your stress only increase anxiety. and this is not ideal. This connects to the point of workouts being fun. A workout should not feel like an obligation, or a job. The combination of fun, feeling confident and strong, and less focus on weight and calorie burning leads to a workout that is void of stress. Workouts that are aimed at decreasing stress and tension include yoga, pilates, tai-chi, or cardio. Focus on finding workouts that take away some of your stress, avoid workouts that add to it.

Overall, the perfect workout is the one that feels good. They should be fun and allow you to feel strong and confident. They should not control you or make you feel like you need to change. If a workout feels negative, it’s not you that needs to change, it’s the workout! Seek workouts that you can customize to your level, needs, and body! For example, The Down Dog app has workouts that you can customize fully from the length of the workout to the area of the body you are working. An added plus is you can customize the instructor’s voice and music too! 

Your workout is for you! So, the “perfect workout” is one that decreases stress and makes you feel positive about every part of you.

Are You Struggling With Your Body Image or Disordered Eating?

If you are struggling with your body image, or if you are worried you may have an eating disorder, contact us to schedule a free consultation. Our psychologists specialize in body image and eating disorders and will help you regain a positive self-esteem while decreasing disordered eating issues. 

How To Best Support Your Black Friends and Colleagues Right Now

How To Best Support Your Black Friends and Colleagues Right Now

The deaths of many black individuals have shaken the country. The deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and Elijah Mcclain ( to name a few) have been the cause of trauma for black people everywhere. Witnessing the deaths of black people at the hands of police brutality has devastating effects on the emotional and mental health of all who witness it, but leaves a deeper wound and creates lasting pain for black individuals. This is why it is it is important, (now more than ever) to be a source of support for the black people in your life. Keep reading to find out how to best support your black friends and colleagues right now.

Support The Movement

One of the best ways to be an ally for the black people in your life is to support the Black Lives Matter movement in any way you can. This includes donating, signing petitions, and calling government officials. Donating what you can and taking 10 seconds to sign a petition are small, but worthy steps you can take to show your support for the movement and for black lives. By calling, donating or signing a petition you are taking the appropriate actions, and steps towards change. You can also protest in solidarity, by attending peaceful protests in your city. This shows that you not only care about the lives that have been lost, but the lives of all black lives. By supporting the movement you are saying ” Black Lives are valuable, worthy, and deserve justice”. This is a message that your black friends, colleagues, and associates need you to understand.

Check In On Them

Check in on your black friends and coworkers. Send them a text, asking how they feel, and what can be done on your end to help. Check in on their mental health, and offer ways to help that are already natural to your relationship. If applicable, list the ways you have already supported the movement, and ask if there’s more you can do on a larger or more personal scale. Do not expect a prompt response, in fact do not expect a response at all. They may be preoccupied with ways they can support their friends and family, or they may still be processing current events. Give them time, as they are dealing with trauma. What matters is that you have offered to help. Make sure to keep an eye out for a response and maintain your promise to help, in the event that more ways to help are listed. Most importantly make sure to combine your words with action. You can do this by following the steps above.

Have the Tough Conversations

Take the time to evaluate you own beliefs about race and about the current events. Take in the beliefs of the people you spend your time with. Do their beliefs align with your own? Do you consider them allies? How are you promoting the idea of racial equality and are the people around you doing the same? if you are not satisfied with the way the people in your circle are dealing with current situations then it may be time to start having tough conversations, Discuss the importance of offering support, being an ally, and being part of the movement. Emphasize the importance of being part of the change. Disagreements may ensue but what is most important is that you have started having these conversation, and have started raising awareness of the injustices committed against black people.

Raise Awareness Where You Can

Use social media as a tool to raise awareness. You can post petitions, places to donate, and list numbers to call. You can also provide information about the circumstances surrounding the deaths of individuals like George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Elijah Mcclain and so many more. Repost relevant information and links to resources. Text your friends and family about ways they can help, and stay up to date on newest developments and tell others about them.

Think About How You Can Continue To Support Long Term

Make sure your support doesn’t end here. Make sure your support persists when the movement is no longer trending in the media. One way you can do this is by continuing to donate, sign petitions, stay educated, and have conversations with the people around you. Another great way to keep up your support in the long term is to support black owned businesses. Lastly continue to educate yourself on resources that can be used to support the movement. Supporting the movement on a larger scale, still displays your support on a personal level.

Continue to take the steps towards change. Understand that your black friends, and coworkers experience deep emotional scars due to current events. Find ways to support them in this area too. Notify the black people in your life of therapy services that can aid them. Contact us to inquire about services that you can recommend to the black people in your life, or research other methods that can be of aid.