By Kelly Graham, MSW, RSW
While many of us love our family, sometimes spending a lot of time with them during the holidays can be stressful. Not only do you have the stress of trying to cook, clean, decorate, buy presents, etc., but then you have to try to be happy and cheerful and interact with your family. Don’t feel guilty; it happens to the best of us. We are already stressed with everything extra the holidays throw at us, but then we have to try and hide the stress and make sure everyone is having a good time. It’s enough to drive anyone crazy.
During the holidays you have the pressure to buy the perfect gift, cook the perfect meal, have the best decorations, and you have the stress of having to afford it all. We have the pressure of trying to follow tradition and make every holiday as good as, or better than the last. We just have to accept that fact that we can’t make the turkey exactly the way grandma did; and that’s ok. This also all happens during cold and flu season, so many of us are functioning at less than 100% because we are sick or trying to fight it off.
If you don’t spend a lot of time with your family, or certain members, the holidays are a time when you are all forced to come together and celebrate. Not that it’s necessarily a bad thing, but there may be a certain reason you don’t see them that often. They could be a toxic influence in your life, there may be unresolved problems between you two, or you just don’t seem to get along. While every family is unique, there are many times when there is family drama happening. The holidays are either a great place for this drama to come out or where everyone tries to ignore it and put on a happy face. Either one can be stressful. Even if there’s not drama, having that one relative that keeps asking when you’re going to get married, or have babies, or get a real job can be annoying and stressful.
Here are some things you can do to make it easier for yourself:
While the stress can consume you during the holidays, try and find a way that you can still enjoy them. Watch your favourite holiday movie, or eat that food you’ve been waiting a whole year to eat again, anything that makes you happy during the holidays. This can be a stressful time for everybody, but try and focus on the positive things that happen during them. This way you can still enjoy the holidays and not let the stress ruin them for you.
By Kelly Graham, MSW, RSW
The use of animals to help people emotionally and mentally seems to be on the rise lately. But can they actually help? While an animal is not a replacement for medical treatment or counselling, they can help to improve your well-being… as long as you like animals.
By Kelly Graham, MSW, RSW
You may or may not have heard of gaslighting before. No, I’m not talking about a light that runs on gas, or your gas light that comes on in your car. What I’m talking about is a form of psychological and emotional abuse. While you may have never have heard of the name before, it is more common than you probably think.
Gaslighting is a manipulative maneuver that people use to get you to question your reality. They do this as a way to control others and gain power over them. When the abuser has power, they can make the victim feel like they are the ones responsible for the abuse. It happens slowly, so the victim doesn’t realize what is happening. It may begin by the person telling lies or denying certain things you know to be true. But, because they seem so confident, you start to question whether what you know to be true, is actually true.
A simple example of this is if you were to move a lamp to a different table, then someone who knows the room well, comes in and asks why the lamp is moved. You look at them like they are crazy and deny the fact that the light was moved, insisting that it’s always been there. The other person then begins to wonder if they are wrong and the light has been there the whole time. Once somebody begins to question something they know to be true, then they begin to question other things in their life.
While it may start out as something small that you might brush off, it can get worse and worse to the point where you are questioning your whole reality. You begin to feel like you’ve gone crazy. You feel like you can’t trust yourself anymore. You become vulnerable, and this is when the abuser takes control. They control your perception of reality and can make it their own. You begin to believe what they want you to believe.
By Kristen Sohlman, HBA, RP
Photo by DZ Photography
After participating in a recent staff photoshoot, I began to think more about positive body image. What I noticed was that a group of strong, capable, and resilient woman started to question themselves. More specifically, they and myself included, started questioning their physical selves, their bodies, and in doing so, themselves. It is likely that while these negative self-judgments were being said out loud because it was a photoshoot, that these feelings were likely present long before the photoshoot itself but perhaps were silently said in the minds of myself and my co-workers. It is a very common issue for people to have negative images, thoughts, and feelings about themselves and their physical self. How does one begin to accept who they are and feel good about their body at the same time?
By Seija Grant, MEd CP, RP
I decided to write an article to shed light on this topic as I have had several clients who could not focus on higher level tasks (such as counselling goals) because of having insecure or unstable housing. I was also asked by a friend to participate in an interview about the impact of poor housing quality on mental health—so I started to research the subject. This article is primarily about students but the information is still relevant for those in the working world.
I am not sure if you are familiar with Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, so I will give you a brief overview. It is a longstanding psychology theory of human motivation. The premise is that there are universal human needs that come together to form a healthy individual. Maslow depicted them in a pyramid shaped hierarchy.
At the base of the pyramid are BASIC NEEDS. These are the most important; the basis of a person’s functioning. If a man has no home or family, he can still survive with his physiological needs met. Next, safety needs. And these are the focus of this article. Safety is having a place to rest your head at night, a place where you can feel relatively safe and comfortable, where the heat and the lights are on and your stuff will generally always be where you left it.
The next tier of the pyramid is PSYCHOLOGICAL NEEDS (examples: social belonging and self-esteem).
The top of the pyramid is made up of SELF-FULFILLMENT NEEDS, which are complex, such as self-actualization (to be able to reach your full potential, be the best version of yourself—ideal for student success).
Check here periodically for updates from Kelly Mental Health staff.
This blog is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to provide personal support as an alternative to psychotherapy services. Please note that replies are viewable by the public, and we may take a few days to respond. If you require immediate assistance, please call us during business hours.
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