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Wellbeing Corner – Vol.3, Dec. 2020 – Holiday Edition

Wellbeing Corner - Vol.3, Dec. 2020 - Holiday Edition

The holiday season is upon us!

As we embark upon this time in which families traditionally come together and celebrations are abundant, the thought of planning for them during the pandemic is weighing heavily on people’s minds. As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise, many people are shunning their holiday traditions to keep themselves and their loved ones safe, but are now experiencing a different type of stress… replacing the hustle and bustle of having too much to do during the holiday season with uncertainty, isolation and the loss of routine and tradition.

This disruption and shift in our holiday expectations can heighten emotions of loss, loneliness, anxiety, tension, sadness, and much more. Everywhere we turn, we are reminded that it is supposed to be “the most wonderful time of the year.” While for some that may be true, yet for others the holiday season is wrought with powerful triggers such as songs, scents, and rituals. The holidays may also serve as a reminder of what does not exist—a time in which to celebrate, cook, decorate, and rejoice with loved ones that may not be present this year.

As a trauma informed therapist, I will be the first to say this year’s holiday season has its own compounded needs that we need to address with care and mindfulness. What can we do within ourselves, our families, and our social circles to embrace these upcoming weeks into the new year?

First, think about how the holiday season impacts you and your loved ones personally. Acknowledge this year will be different in many ways and notice the feelings you have in response to this fact. Let yourself be sad. Let yourself be angry. Let yourself mourn the loss of what the holidays are ‘supposed to be’. Ask yourself, “What helps and what hurts?” When you give yourself a moment to recognize these feelings, your mind will feel freer to let go and find hope in the present. Allowing yourself to grieve the loss of all that 2020 may have robbed us of this year, can give space for new opportunities within this season and into the new year.

Second, create meaningful rituals and be realistic. The holidays don’t have to be perfect and may not be like last year. As we face transitional times, traditions and rituals may need to transition as well. Choose a few to hold on to and be open to creating new ones. For example, if your family, friends and loved ones can’t come to your home, find new ways to celebrate together, such as sharing pictures, emails or videos. Or meet virtually on a video call. Even though your holiday plans may look different this year, you can find ways to celebrate. Remain connected to the idea and meaning behind the traditions so that kids (and adults) feel like that normalcy is still there.

Third, and most importantly, take time for you! Be kind to yourself! Breathe! Taking a break and walking away from what you’re doing for a minute or two allows you to reflect on what you are feeling. Take some deep slow breaths in a quiet space. If you can address the source of stress at that moment, deal with it. If not, write it down and prioritize what needs to be done first. In essence, practicing mindfulness! Bringing our attention to the present moment with an element of nonjudgement and acceptance; noticing when we get caught up in thoughts about the past or the future and returning our attention to the present.

We have all had a tough year. We have had to figure out new ways of living. Don’t beat yourself up over things you can’t control. Do the best you can to the best of your ability and give yourself credit for making it through. Let us release all that 2020 has unfolded and embrace the HOPE that awaits us in the present and into the new year!

Wishing you all the warmest blessings this holiday season and HOPE for the New Year.

“Hope is like the sun, which, as we journey toward it, casts the shadow of our burden behind us.” Samuel Smiles

Be and remain well,

Deidre McLeod, MS LPC

If your loved ones, friends, or maybe even yourself, are struggling to find your best mental health and HOPEFULNESS, please contact us to schedule an appointment at:

Cornerstone Centers for Wellbeing

Appointment & Information number: 1-866-280-WELL (9355)

All referrals and appointments are strictly confidential.

Wellbeing Corner – Vol.2 Nov. 2020

Thanksgiving. This most beloved holiday is upon us, looking very differently through the lens of our year 2020. Thankfulness has been a difficult concept to grasp in many ways recently; let alone looking forward to how the holidays will be impacted by our current dynamics. Families may be separated due to inability to travel or be in proximity of each other due to pandemic concerns. Job loss and economic impact also resonate throughout our families, among many other factors. So how do we grasp the heart of ‘Thanksgiving’? Where is the meaning of the holiday?

“The grateful mind reaps massive advantages in life,” Dr. Robert Emmons, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Davis and the founder a research lab that studies the effects of grateful living. “Health and wholeness, wellness and fullness result from the systematic practice of a grateful living.” “It literally breathes new life into us. It recharges and it rejuvenates,” Emmons said about gratitude, which he defines as “an affirmation of the goodness in one’s life and the recognition that the sources of this goodness lie at least partially outside the self.”

Essentially, having ‘an attitude of gratitude’ can bring us wellness and ‘breathe new life into us’! Sounds like just the thing we all need, especially moving into an uncertain holiday season! So… now to find and take hold of it!

  1. Beginning with the above definition: “an affirmation of the goodness in one’s life and the recognition that the sources of this goodness lie at least partially outside the self.” It is not about us!! Finding the simple blessings and reasons to be grateful that surround us continually in the daily mundane can be the first step in finding gratefulness. Taking notice of a beautiful sunrise or sunset, a flower randomly growing on the side of the road, connecting with a loved one virtually or otherwise. Releasing ourselves to the knowledge we have so very many reasons to be grateful amid our hardships, we just need to take notice!
  2. It is not enough to take notice of reasons to be grateful, we must act! “The word ‘thanksgiving’ literally means, giving of thanks. Thanksgiving is an action word,” Emmons said. “Gratitude requires action.” Giving back to others around us brings us a greater sense of joy and happiness! Telling your co-worker how much you appreciate their collaboration on a daily basis; sharing with your spouse or loved one what you are grateful for about them; maybe even leaving an anonymous thank you note for someone who blesses you routinely… be creative!
  3. Keep the gratitude going! We do not have to leave the thankfulness of Thanksgiving with the holiday! Start a gratitude journal… make it a consistent pattern in your daily routine to grasp thankfulness! It will not return void!

Mostly, thank you all for all you do every day. Sacrificially. Without selfishness. Whether you are serving in hospice care or another completely different arena, thank you. We are all a part of a greater team and purpose to connect and serve together. I am grateful.

“Let gratitude be the pillow upon which you kneel to say your nightly prayer. And let faith be the bridge you build to overcome evil and welcome good.” Maya Angelou

Be and remain well,
Deidre McLeod, MS LPC

If your loved ones, friends, or maybe even yourself, are struggling to find your best mental health and ‘thankfulness’, please contact us to schedule an appointment at:

Cornerstone Centers for Wellbeing

Appointment & Information number: 1-866-280-WELL (9355)

All referrals and appointments are strictly confidential.

Wellbeing Corner – October 2020 – 1st edition

Welcome to the Cornerstone Centers for Wellbeing’s “Wellbeing Corner” Blog! We hope to provide you with a monthly opportunity to find your ‘center’ and to stop and take a breath (if for only one minute) amid your very busy day!

2020… no need to say more! We are all gasping for breath under stressors we never could have imagined for this year! We are just regaining our footing from this pandemic quarantine, only to roll right into a very volatile election, and holiday time! 2020 does not seem to hold back any punches. So, what does ‘wellbeing’ mean and look like in the middle of these trying and unprecedented times? Miriam Webster defines ‘wellbeing’ as the following: the state of being happy, healthy, or prosperous. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) states that ‘well-being includes the presence of positive emotions and moods (e.g., contentment, happiness), the absence of negative emotions (e.g., depression, anxiety), satisfaction with life, fulfillment and positive functioning. In simple terms, well-being can be described as judging life positively and feeling good.’ (https://www.cdc.gov/hrqol/wellbeing.htm#three). I will be the first to say, ‘wellbeing’ is a bit difficult to grasp right now! Anyone else feeling that contentment, happiness and the absence of negative emotions is nowhere to be found in this challenging socio-economic and emotional climate?

Where In this space and time can we find our ‘center for wellbeing’? This answer can be different for each one of us. Finding the moment to recognize the highlights in each day can be the first step in this challenge. It could be providing a special service or word/gesture to someone , connecting with our family and loved ones (virtually or otherwise), reading that book we have wanted to start for so long, finally getting outside our home to take a walk (without a mask). The key point is FINDING it! Find that moment for YOU! ; Giving back to ourselves can be the most difficult to make time for. I just encourage you all to FIND that positive moment for yourselves in each day and make self-care a priority. If you have taken the couple of minutes to read this entire blog… CONGRATULATIONS!! You made the first step in that positive self-care for today! Keep up the great work!

Thank you all for the sacrificial giving you graciously do every day! In the months to come, we will be focusing even more on emotional PPE, holiday time and embracing the New Year. Stay tuned!

“When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.” – Helen Keller

If your loved ones, friends, or maybe even yourself, are struggling to find your best mental health and self-care, please contact us to schedule an appointment at:

Cornerstone Centers for Wellbeing

Appointment & Information number: 1-866-280-WELL (9355)
All referrals and appointments are strictly confidential.
Be (and remain) Well!

Deidre McLeod, MS LPC