Updated: Dec 18, 2022
The Mental Health Connection
We want to express our sincere appreciation for your support and for making 2022 a success. Anything is possible when we work together. Let’s keep this in mind as we plan for the coming year.
May the holiday season fill your home with joy, your heart with love, and your life with laughter.
Annette Conway, PsyD
December is National Stress-Free Family Holidays Month
We see the holidays as anything but stress-free. Our “to-do” list explodes, time moves faster, and family obligations and traditions loom. While completely “stress-free” may not be attainable, we can enjoy this festive season more by managing our expectations and stress. If some of the old holiday traditions aren’t making you happy and causing stress, it’s time to try something different. The key is to take some control over the holidays instead of letting them control you. Don’t do something just because you always do, like sending holiday cards to every acquaintance, long-lost friend and out-of-touch family member, baking seven varieties of cookies for your neighbors, spending the entire day planning and preparing a holiday meal, inviting your in-laws to stay at your house the week before Christmas, etc. If you’re not enjoying the activity, ask yourself how important it is to the overall holiday, then spend less time on it, schedule another time after the holidays, find an alternative or give it up altogether. You do have a choice.
4 Easy Self-Esteem Boosting Activities People with high self-esteem are happier, more confident, and generally feel good about themselves. We sometimes can’t help but compare ourselves to others and the “ideal.” This leaves us open to self-criticism and decreased self-esteem. We can find ways to nurture our self-esteem. Below are three activities that can help. Build a list of Positive Qualities When feeling down or disappointed in ourselves, it’s often difficult to think positive thoughts about ourselves. It’s helpful to have a list of our positive qualities to lift our mood.
Start by writing down your positive characteristics on small pieces of paper (bonus points if you use a variety of colors preferred).
Fold each piece and put them in a decorative container.
Before bed, first thing in the morning and anytime you need a boost of confidence, select one or more pieces of paper and appreciate the quality you possess.
Text 3 Awesome People When was the last time you told someone how awesome they are and how much you appreciate them? Boosting someone else's confidence can, in turn, boost our own. Acknowledge others We all like to feel seen. When we are acknowledged, it gives us a feeling of acceptance and inclusion. Next time you see a stranger, give them a smile and a nod of acknowledgment instead of just walking past. We get the added benefit of the mood boost smiling gives us, too. Show Kindness The holiday season is a special time of year when we feel more compassion for others—both those we know and those we don’t. Being kind to others reflects kindness back to ourselves. It helps increase our feelings of self-worth and brings a sense of joy and connection with others. Here are some ideas to get you started:
Send a card to a friend you’ve lost contact with and express your desire to keep in touch.
Buy a meal for a homeless person you pass on the street.
Use your skills to offer free professional services to a nonprofit.
Bake holiday treats for your neighbors.
Get together with friends, coworkers, or family to clean up a local park or beach.
Compliment a stranger.
Foster a pet.
Offer to take a photo of a couple struggling to take a selfie.
Offer a person behind you in line to go before you.
Tell a family member you love them.
Help a child with homework or a project.
Say “thank you.”
We all have the power to enhance our self-worth. You don’t need to change who you are, but you may need help believing and remembering how amazing you are. Practice makes perfect.
The Brain Energy Theory of Mental Illness Many factors can play a role in mental illness. Genetics, stress, trauma, and substance abuse are often identified as the source or contributing factors to mental health conditions. But some researchers are looking deeper and searching for a root cause of mental illness. Researchers are discovering it may be all about mitochondria and their effect on metabolism. The Powerhouse of Energy Mitochondria are often referred to as the powerhouse of the cell. Mitochondria are crucial for energy production in the form of adenosine triphosphate (ATP). The mitochondria in our cells regulate or influence:
Neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, dopamine, and GABA
Hormones, such as cortisol, estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone
Enhancing mitochondrial functioning may be an effective way of treating mental illness, solely or in conjunction with other therapies. Several studies have found a relationship between mitochondrial dysfunction and mental health disorders, such as bipolar disorder and depression. Impairments in energy production are found in these disorders. A better knowledge of mitochondrial physiology and pathophysiology might allow for developing new effective therapies to treat these specific mitochondrial impairments. This could be especially beneficial for treatment-resistant patients. In line with this theory, Christopher M. Palmer, M.D., in his recent book, Brain Energy, maintains that all mental health disorders are metabolic disorders of the brain. [READ MORE]
Get Kids Away from their Electronic Devices this Holiday Season
There’s more to life than video games, movies and social media. When children are on holiday break, persuading them to put down their phones and tablets can be challenging. There are plenty of indoor and outdoor activities for kids of all ages to do alone, with a friend or as a family. The trick is to find a few your kids will be more interested in than their iPhones. Holiday shows and festivals offer festive entertainment for the whole family. Indoor and outdoor seasonal and year-round activities can be discovered or re-discovered. Arts and crafts supply stores, like Michaels, offer DIY kits for boys and girls of all ages. Here are a few activities to keep your kids focused on something other than their electronic devices.
Holiday light displays
Indoor or outdoor
Arts and crafts kits
Painting or drawing
Knitting or sewing
Puzzles and games
Baking cookies or making snacks
There’s no shortage of activities for kids to do on their holiday break. The trick is to find a few your kids will be more interested in than their iPhones.
Easy No-Bake Holiday Treats
Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberry Santas
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Pecan Pie Bites
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
World Aids Day
December 1, 2022
See Worlds Aids Day for more information.
International Day of Persons with Disabilities
December 3, 2022
See United Nations for more information.
Human Rights Day
December 10, 2022
See United Nations for more information.
Partner with us!
Are you a psychologist, LCSW or LMFT? We’re always looking for exceptional mental healthcare providers. Visit helptherapy.com for more information and fill out the quick and easy application.
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