December 2020

Many holiday family gatherings will be virtual this year.  But even if your celebration takes place over Zoom rather than the dining room table, the same family dynamics can surface. Spending time with loved ones, whether in person or online, can trigger unresolved resentments, feelings of sadness and loss, or slights. How we manage the situation is important for our own sanity, especially since we only have the power to control our reactions and our behavior. We cannot control the behavior, thoughts or feelings of others.

  • Remember to breathe. Deep breaths can help relieve stress and tension
  • Set boundaries
  • Limit the time you spend with others who might be a trigger.
  • Listen more than you talk
  • Have realistic expectations
  • Don’t take things personally
  • When possible, avoid topics that are bound to cause a fight
  • Use humor when appropriate
  • Stay in the moment and do not get sucked into the past 
  • Limit alcohol consumption. Drinking too much alcohol can lower your inhibitions making it more likely you will say things you regret. 
  • Get enough sleep so you are rested, and less likely to become irritable

In the winter, many people fall into a seasonal depression, known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Scientists believe that SAD is related to a reduction in the brain chemical Serotonin, which helps regulate mood.

Research suggests that sunlight plays a role in the production of normal serotonin levels, and that regulation process does not function properly in people wth S.A.D., resulting in decreased serotonin levels in the winter.

Symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder tend to last about 4-5 months.
SAD symptoms
may include:
  • Feeling depressed most of the day, nearly every day
  • Losing interest in activities you once enjoyed
  • Experiencing changes in appetite or weight
  • Having problems with sleep
  • Feeling sluggish or agitated
  • Having low energy
  • Feeling hopeless or worthless
  • Having difficulty concentrating
  • Having frequent thoughts of death or suicide
For winter-pattern SAD, additional symptoms may include:
  • Oversleeping
  • Overeating 
  • Weight Gain
  • Social withdrawal
Fortunately, there are treatments that can help many people with SAD. Treatment can include light therapy, talk therapy, antidepressant medication and Vitamin D.

Source: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/seasonal-affective-disorder/index.shtml

Financial stress is real. Reportedly, 90% of Americans say that money has an impact on their stress levels (Thriving Wallet, January 29, 2020). In a report by Thriving Wallet, it was found that:
1. 41% don’t set aside any money for their household retirement plan.
2. 25% have charged their credit card for groceries/food and have not been able to pay it off right away.
3. 33% said it would take more than 3 years to pay their credit card debt.
4. 29% said if they needed $2,000 for an emergency, they would use a credit card.
5. 20% of those with children in childcare said the cost is as expensive as, or more expensive than, their monthly rent or mortgage payment.

One of the worst things about financial stress, aside from the financial burden that
comes with it, is that financial stress can impact your physical health, to include having an adverse effect on blood pressure, respiratory symptoms and sleep.

Things you can do to take control of your finances include:
  • Set a budget
  • Write down all expenses
  • Track expenses against your budget
  • Reduce overspending
  • Eliminate impulse buys
  • Pack a lunch
  • Eliminate or cut back on fast food and restaurant purchases
  • Eliminate use of credit cards
  • Create an emergency fund
  • Establish a plan to pay off debt
  • Work a second job, if needed 

If more help is needed, consider contacting a nonprofit credit counseling agency for assistance. 
Meet our new EAP Manager!

Mary Jane Kocian-Figueroa, Psy.D., MPH
Feel free to reach out to Mary Jane directly with any questions or needs at 937-528-3176. We care about your company's well-being and that of your employees.
Information in this newsletter is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to
replace the counsel or advice of a qualified health or legal professional.