6. Transform old traditions
Perhaps there were traditions that were special before grief eclipsed. It would be easy to ignore them this year, stop them altogether, and move on. Instead of avoiding in hopes of feeling less pain, continue traditions if possible. Make new memories in the “new normal” together. If you don’t feel comfortable keeping traditions as they were, or if the person missing was the key to the
tradition, consider transforming old traditions into new. Traditions contribute to a sense of comfort and belonging while creating lasting memories. Consider forming a new tradition in honor of a new start or in memory of a missing loved one.
7. Do something for others: Focus on being a blessing
The truth is that humans tend to be selfish and self-focused when hurting emotionally. When our focus is primarily on losses we have suffered, we miss joy that comes from giving to and loving others. Focusing less on ourselves enables opportunities to experience gratitude and joy in the midst of grief and suffering. Find someone who needs support during the holiday and invite them to lunch. Buy gifts for a needy family. Volunteer your time at a homeless shelter or soup kitchen. Giving of yourself will open up your world and will help to find meaning while suffering.
8. Practice self-care
Self-care is important during the grief process. I’m not speaking of self care that ignores the needs of others because ‘I’m busy with me’. Rather, healthy self-care helps identify, break, and prevent unhealthy cycles which impede healing. Here are excellent ideas for practicing healthy self-care:
- Journal about your feelings and goals for your future
- Pray and or meditate daily
- Go to Yoga classes to work out tense muscles and to learn to relax
- Get outside and walk while taking note of things for which you are grateful
- Listen to music that is beautiful, meaningful or uplifting
- Go to grief counseling or attend a grief support group
9. Seek professional help if the weight of grief impacts your ability to carry out daily activities
Grief can easily become major depression if not carefully monitored. Are you gaining or loosing weight quickly? Are you sleeping much more or less than usual? Do you find yourself unable to keep the focus required to complete imperative tasks for work or home? Are you neglecting personal hygiene or have you become fixated on being ‘hyper healthy’? If you begin to notice that you aren’t functioning normally from day to day because of intense negative thoughts or feelings, seek help immediately! You may be experiencing complicated grief that has morphed into full-blown depression. Medication and counseling may be needed to aid in your recovery.
10. Remember it’s ok to be happy and feel joyful when you’ve experienced a loss
In the middle of grief and loss there can be times of happiness, smiles and laughter. It’s not uncommon to feel guilty for feeling joy or being happy while grieving. You may feel inner conflict about your feelings. You may worry that enjoying life somehow invalidates the loss you have experienced or the memory of what was. Give yourself permission to heal at your own pace, to seek help in that process, and to be happy as you find a ‘new normal’. Being happy doesn’t mean that you have forgotten. It means that little by little you are beginning to heal.
Grief and loss are always difficult and holidays definitely complicate the process. Prepare yourself by choosing to be intentional during the holiday season and taking positive steps toward a healthier grief process. Think ahead and make a plan of action to implement on an unusually difficult day or moment. Consider going to a few counseling sessions to process your feelings and gain insight. Following these simple tips and being aware of potential emotional pitfalls will enable you to do more than survive the holiday season…you can thrive!
If you’re like me (human) and this is your first holiday season after a death, divorce or loss, you’re likely trying to find ways to either skip festivities, pretend they aren’t coming, or you’re in complete denial. The rows of décor in all the stores send pangs of memories. It’s apparent that this season will be anything but easy as you leave the department store dabbing your eyes with tissue. This is grief. And although you’d like to push past it, it’s far too powerful. The waves of memories and floods of reality simply overtake you at times.
The truth is that the majority of people struggle during the first holidays after a loss. You should know that this is normal and to be expected. But, there are things you can do to prepare and help yourself and loved ones get through the holiday season when grief overshadows. Below are 10 excellent suggestions and tips to help you thrive and process grief more effectively during the holiday season.
1. Don’t isolate
You may not feel like being around others. You may cringe at the thought of having to talk to friends or family members. You’re hurting and you’d rather be alone. You’d rather not talk about it. But, isolation is dangerous when we grieve. It increases the pro
bability of becoming severely depressed. Identify your support group. Perhaps you should join a grief or divorce recovery group. Tell close friends or family that you may need help or encouragement to not isolate. Remember that others have gone through grief before you. Allow them to help you as you travel on your own grief path.
2. Watch the food and alcohol consumption
Food and alcohol are typically abundant during the holiday season and can easily become the ‘go to’ coping mechanism for the grieving. (Darn dopamine!) Beyond the obvious repercussions of weight gain and potential addiction is the far more destructive one: numbing pain temporarily and beginning a pattern of never truly working through difficult emotions. Enjoy your holiday food and drink; but, keep it in check. Notice your eating and drinking patterns. Are you eating more or consuming more alcohol when you feel upset, angry or lonely? If so, begin to replace those negative coping skills with healthier ones. Try taking a walk outside, writing about your feelings, listening to uplifting music, or calling a friend instead.
3. Make a daily list of gratitude: Don’t succumb to self-pity
The practice of making a daily gratitude list can facilitate in the recognition of blessings and joys in everyday life. In self-pity mode we tend to focus on all that’s ‘wrong’ or ‘lacking’ in our world. Practicing intentional gratitude can promote the grieving through the holidays in a thankful attitude for all the goodness in the past, present blessings, and hope for the future.
4. Talk to the children about grief
Children are likely to be overlooked when there is death, divorce, or loss in a family. They may appear as if they are ‘just fine’ but most people aren’t aware that children often process emotions differently than adults. Children tend to talk much less about their feelings. Rather they will act them out in play, art, or behaviors. Compassionately talking with children to assure them that it’s ‘ok’ to feel sad, to talk about the person who is missing, or to express any emotions (in healthy ways) will increase the likeliness that they will feel understood and validated. Allow children to express their grief in their own way without judgment or expectations of what that should look like. Redirect destructive behaviors by verbalizing suggestions for healthy alternative coping skills. Focus on helping to identify the feelings they may be having. Playing with them will allow them to process through grief at their own pace. If you notice that there are major changes in sleeping, eating or behavioral patterns, it may be necessary to seek professional help.
5. Acknowledge and remember
It’s the elephant in the room. No one wants to say their name or bring attention to the obvious hole. The avoidance of talking about the person, the memories, the pain of the loss doesn’t help in the healing process. Instead, it may cause feelings of loneliness, frustration, or anger. Talk openly about the person who is missing. Acknowledge the pain of the holiday without them. Recall holiday memories. Give permission to yourself and others to embrace the grieving process by acknowledging and remembering.
What is the Zika Virus?
The Zika virus is a viral infection that can cause fever, rash, joint pain and red eyes. Zika is spread primarily through mosquito bites. You can also get Zika virus from sexual contact with someone who is infected, even if they have no symptoms. Zika can also be spread from a pregnant mother to her unborn baby and by donated blood or organs.
Zika is the most dangerous for pregnant women as it can cause serious problems for your baby. If you are not pregnant or planning to become pregnant, the Zika virus is not likely to cause permanent problems or even make you very ill.
Where is Zika found?
Most cases of Zika have been found in Central and South America, Mexico, the Caribbean and the Pacific Islands. The virus has also been found in Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and American Samoa. As of July 5th, 2016, 53 cases have been reported in the state of Texas. (Texas Department of State Health Services)
What are the symptoms of Zika?
Most people that become infected with the Zika virus have no symptoms or very mild symptoms. These symptoms usually surface 2 to 14 days after becoming infected.
Symptoms might include:
- Pain in joints, especially in the hands and feet
- Red eye
In some areas with outbreaks of the Zika virus, there has also been found to be an increase in a disease called “Guillain-Barre Syndrome”. This is a condition that can cause severe muscle weakness and can sometimes even lead to paralysis.
What if I am pregnant?
If you are pregnant or trying to become pregnant, experts recommend that you do not travel to areas where Zika virus is present. If you do visit these countries, it is especially important to avoid mosquito bites. It is also important to avoid having unprotected sex with anyone who is or could be infected with the Zika virus.
Zika can cause serious complications during pregnancy including miscarriage, stillbirth and birth defects. Babies that are born infected can have a head and brain that are much smaller than normal--a condition called “microcephaly”. Babies with microcephaly are at risk for many different issues including seizures, trouble hearing or seeing normally, learning problems and other problems with their growth and development.
If you are pregnant and have recently traveled to one of these affected countries, tell your doctor or nurse. Your doctor may want to test you for the virus. There are also tests that can be done to see if your unborn baby is infected.
Is there a test for Zika?
Yes. If you doctor or nurse thinks that you may have Zika, there are tests that can be performed. They may also test for other diseases with similar symptoms.
How is Zika treated?
There is no specific treatment for the Zika virus other than rest and fluids. You can also take Tylenol (acetaminophen) for fever or body aches. Aspirin and NSAIDS should always be avoided with symptoms of Zika virus and especially in children under the age of 18.
Can Zika be prevented?
Yes. The best way to prevent Zika virus infection is to avoid mosquitos that carry it. If you live or are traveling to a country with an active outbreak of the Zika virus, there are steps you can take to protect yourself.
- Stay inside during times when mosquitos are most active, this is usually very early in the morning or in the few hours right before sunset.
- Wear shoes, long sleeved shirts, long pants and a hat when outside.
- Wear a bug spray or cream that contains DEET or a chemical called picardin. Check the label to make sure. Do not use DEET containing products on babies younger than 2 months of age.
- On your clothes and gear, use products that contain a chemical called permethrin.
- Drain any standing water if possible, such as wading pools, buckets and potted plants with saucers. Mosquitos breed in standing water.
There is no vaccine for Zika infection.
LaBeaud, D. (2016). Zika virus infection: An overview. Retrieved from www.uptodate.com
What is a helicopter parent? It's a parent that constantly hovers over their child, making evey decision for them. Solving any problems the child encounters in life without letting the child learn how to deal with the problems themselves.
Someday your kids are going to need to figure things out for themselves. Wouldn’t it be unfortunate if they found themselves in a dangerous or tempting situation when they get their first opportunity?
Universities report that this is often the case. Young adults are known to speed dial their parents, hand the cell phone to officials and say, “Talk to my mom. She will straighten this out.”
Don’t pass up an opportunity to give your kids practice figuring things out for themselves while they are still young. It’s tempting in this fast-paced world to do things that kids could do for themselves. We’re pressed for time, and it feels so good to help them.
But, the bad news is that many parents pass up opportunity after opportunity to say, “I bet you can figure that out; Give it a try or I’ll be here later if you need some help.” Those parents put their kids at risk for believing unstated messages that say, “I have to do this because you’re not capable.”
Try this approach instead:
Step One: Empathize…
“Oh, that must be so frustrating.”
Step Two: Hand the problem back to your child…
“What do you think you are going to do?”
Step Three: Ask to share some ideas…
“Would you like to hear what other kids have tired?”
Step Four: Give them some simple ideas and ask, “Will that work for you?”
“Some kids decide………………….How will that work for you?”
Step Five: Allow them to learn through trial and error.
Life lessons can be learned when making good and bad choices.
ResourceCare’s staff includes licensed professional counselors that can help with any family issues that you may be dealing with.
The basis for this article is the "Love and Logic Parenting Techniques".
National Health Center Week is August 10th-16th, 2014
You May Wonder, What is a Health Center?
Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) were established, in part, to provide accessible, continuous, coordinated, and comprehensive patient-centered care.
As an FQHC, ResourceCare takes a proactive approach to ensure positive results for the most vulnerable, underserved and uninsured populations by providing primary care services and engaging in outreach, disease prevention, and patient education and self-care management activities in our communities.
FQHCs provide access to comprehensive primary health care services:
- Family medicine
- Behavioral/mental health
FQHCs are different from other health care providers; they offer:
- Case Management
- Patient Education
- Community Education
FQHCs are a great benefit to the communities they serve because they:
- Improve public health
- Provide needed services such as free immunizations for uninsured children
- Reduce the burden on hospital emergency rooms
- Act as a community voice for health care needs through the Board of Directors
- Offer broader health insurance coverage, such as offering a sliding scale fee structure based on an individual’s or family’s income
- Assist uninsured patients with enrollment in Medicaid, CHIP, and other assistance programs
We feel that Health Centers are an important part of the solution to our health care needs in this country.
We invite you and your family to allow us to be your partner in better health.
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