Friends, this is a “Special Holiday Edition,” bear with me at this edition is a little longer than most, I find that sometimes holidays can be challenging and wanted to address some of those challenges. Holiday months come with a mixed bag of emotions. For many, days like Valentine’s Day have no emotional significance, those people will simply ignore the day and go on. For others the day is filled with happy anticipation, and still others holidays like this are filled with overwhelming emotions. If you are in that last category, please know you are not alone. Our society does not talk about this enough, but often times holidays are emotional and depressing, but remember you are not alone. Whatever holiday it is that gives you grief, you are not alone. And the best part is that you can feel better, I hope this article helps guide you in that direction.
February has long been considered a month of love. At exactly the half way point, well for 3 out of 4 years anyway it is exactly the half way point, we celebrate Valentine’s Day. For that day, as with many other holidays, we will we celebrate the day with some of the significant people in our lives. I know it looks different this year, and I wish that were not the case, but life is what it is and Valentine’s Day, like so many other days looks different. Usually school children make really creative mailboxes and valentines for their classmates, parents frequently make purchases for their children, and many will treat their significant other by taking them out to eat, or bring them chocolates, flowers, and gifts. Awe…. what a nice day to celebrate love. But for some it’s not. What did you say? I said that for some Valentine’s Day is not the wonderful day full of love, hugs and kisses. For some, it’s a day of grief, sadness, and frustrations. Like Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Christmas and birthdays, for some these holidays are overwhelming.
So many people are quietly suffering on days like this–days that society considers to be celebratory. Individuals who are grieving the death of someone do not easily embrace days like this. Likewise for those who are estranged from someone important to them. That may be a spouse, child, parent, or old friend. Whoever it is, it hurts. Holidays are often difficult days for individuals and yet, it is a holiday so there is pressure to fake happiness and not discuss grief with others. Let’s be real, no one really wants to be around a gloomy Gus on a holiday right? Wrong! When you have loss, you also have others that want to share in that journey with you, you are not alone. And you can feel better, it may be slow and it may take a while, but you can feel better.
“But I feel alone, Cindy, I feel alone.” I hear you, and so will the others around you. The reality is that when I say people care, people do. They may not know what to say or do, but they do care. But what can you do; what can you do to feel better? I am so glad you asked, because I do have some ideas for you. It is not enough to say “feel better”, frequently feeling better takes action. So here are some ideas for you when holidays like this arrive and are more than you can take emotionally:
You matter! I matter! We all matter! Seriously, we all matter and that means we have to take care of ourselves. There are times in life when we feel unable to maintain self care, when we are too sad, too tired, too depressed, too overwhelmed, or too frustrated. Those are the times we call on others to help us. It is ok to ask for help, trust me, this one I know, I have asked many times. Sometimes it’s a friend over the phone from miles away, other times it’s a meal with my parents, or dinner with my husband, a drive with one of the kids, bending the ear of a colleague at work, or even the neighbor who doesn’t even know how significant it was that they listened to me talking about my dogs. It feels good to not feel alone, and I don’t have to tell you how alone I am, and I don’t have to talk to you about my intense grief or feeling of helplessness or failure. But if I start a conversation and I feel less alone, I begin, for that moment to feel better. And the next day I do the same thing and the next day and the next. Create a plan to take care of you. Use some of my ideas, add in some things that you do, but create a plan. Write it down, sometimes when life is a lot writing it down and having a checklist is helpful. As February winds to a close know that you are not alone, in a world full of people we do not have to be alone. Find joy in the day and in the month regardless of who you spend the holidays with and call someone and keep calling someone until someone listens. You are worth it, take care of you. Thank you for hanging out with me today!
If you are needing help, Intrust Healthcare is just a call away. We have worked with our communities for over 20 years and aim to be THE trusted leader in mental health across Kentucky. We offer a variety of counseling services, psychiatry & medication management, and case management services. Stay #SafeatHome with services using your phone, tablet or computer from ANYWHERE in Kentucky. Give us a call at 606-676-0638 and get connected with a clinician in your region today.
Written by our new monthly contributor, Cindy Freer Conley, PhD, BCBA-D from A Kaleidoscope Life Blog
Cindy has spent her career of over 30 plus years in one role or another of the mental health and counseling world. She has worked in private practice and in schools settings. She holds a PhD in Exceptional Education with a concentration in Applied Behavior Analysis and a couple of other degrees in School and Human Services Counseling and Exceptional Education and currently works in public education full time and adjunct part-time at a nearby university. Cindy has spent her career working to help individuals, families, teachers, schools, and even communities better understand ways we can take better care of our kids. It is her hope to use this as a vehicle that will benefit all; but most especially our children – they are the future you know.