December 2019
Holiday reflections from our CEO, Dr. Kiara Kuenzler
The holidays are a time to feel joyful, connected and content. We are surrounded by decoration, cheerful music, the spirit of giving, special foods and celebrations. It is often a time when we reconnect with family and friends, take some time away from the daily stresses of work. People all around seem to be smiling more and going that extra step to bring some cheer to others. So, what does it mean when you’re not feeling joyful, connected, and content? 

Amidst the moments of excitement and warmth and magic, the reality is that holidays can also be difficult. It is a time of year filled with emotional highs and lows. Holidays are a time when the pain of losing loved ones can resurface, sometimes in unexpected waves of intensity. For those far away or removed from loved ones or without as many in their support system, loneliness can be all encompassing in contrast to the brightness that surrounds the season. Even when we are able to connect with family and loved ones, these moments can be fraught with tension, stress, unmet expectations, challenging conversations, and all of the patterns and dynamics of the family or friendship can become heightened.

We often spend a lot of time thinking about how we can give to others this time of year, which in itself can certainly bring benefits of positive wellbeing for the giver as well. But it is also critical that we focus specifically on how to give to ourselves. 

Self-care and compassion are important to keep top of mind as you enter this holiday season. I encourage you to give yourself the space to reflect, the permission to feel, and the time and tools to take care of your own wellbeing in the months to come. 

Kiara Kuenzler
How will you take care of your self this holiday season?
6 ways to find calm in the chaos as we approach the new year
Shifting the focus to ourselves during this time of year can help build inner strength when things externally feel out of your control. Here are a few tips on how to focus on your self-care as we approach the New Year.

Set realistic expectations: Many times, we have an unrealistic idea of what the holiday season will look like, whether it’s expectations of finding the perfect gifts or throwing the perfect party. Get yourself out of this space by adjusting your expectations and setting realistic goals.

Move your body: Physical activity is a great way to de-stress and release those feel-good endorphins into your system. Be active — move, stretch, take a walk, get out in the fresh air. Even 15 minutes of movement can make a big difference.

Connect with others: The holiday season is often referred to as the happiest time of the year, but it might also bring up feelings of loneliness and loss. It can be easy to disengage from everything when these feelings arise, but It's important to resist that desire. Make plans to spend time with supportive friends and loved ones, or sign up to volunteer with a local nonprofit, to help make connections and stay grounded during the holiday hubbub. 

Practice mindfulness: Meditation and mindfulness can be a valuable tool to deal with anxiety and stress, especially during a busy holiday season filled with travel. Join Jefferson Center and the Jefferson County Public Library for a free, weekly call-in meditation center. Get more info here .  

Be aware of your triggers: Each of us have unique emotional experiences that can cause us to feel unsettled in situations that feel familiar. During the holidays, that could be certain traditions that invoke painful memories, certain people who are challenging to be around, or even the added stress of preparing for gatherings. Spend some time beforehand thinking about what your triggers are and how you'd like to respond to them. If you need extra support, schedule time with your doctor/therapist to help you work through this process. 

Connect with us: Especially during the holidays, mental health struggles can be isolating. Remember that you aren’t alone and seek help from mental health professionals when you need it. Contact Jefferson Center at 303-425-0300 to schedule an appointment or to get in touch with our Navigation team. 
Start a conversation about mental health in your community
Now is the time to schedule a presentation for 2020!
The more we learn about mental health, the better we can help support ourselves, and others in our lives who struggle with mental health or substance abuse. Get the conversation started in your business, church, school, or civic group, by scheduling an engaging presentation free of charge through Jefferson Center’s Speakers Bureau.
Our presentations are given by our licensed clinicians and are designed to help raise awareness and decrease stigma that surrounds mental health and substance use disorders. You can choose from a wide range of topics, including dealing with depression, managing life stresses, how to achieve good mental health, and many more. We can also work with you to create a presentation tailored to the specific needs of your organization. 

Take the next step in bringing awareness to your personal and professional circles and help us create a community where mental health matters.
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