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Therapist's Corner...
Relieving Holiday Stress

     For most of us, the holiday season can be a busy and hectic time.  Between putting up decorations (inside and out), buying gifts, fighting the holiday traffic, cooking big holiday meals or even making holiday snacks…Whatever your stress is, this time of year can be stressful for some individuals.  Here are some suggestions to help you fight off the stress of the holidays:
     Find healthy coping strategies. Find strategies that work for you. Some ideas may be listening to calm music, exercise, read a book, relaxation techniques, or getting outside in the fresh air and bundling up to take a walk.  Then, practice those techniques until they become ideas that you will turn to when you feel stressed out.

  • Write in a Journal. It helps to write about things that could be causing you stress. Write for 10 to 15 minutes a day. Also find a good time a day for you to always write. You can also write about positive events that are happening in your day.  You can write about things you are thankful for.  Whatever helps you out specifically is what you can write about.  These are your thoughts.
  • Find someone that you trust, to whom you can let your feelings out. Feel free to talk, laugh, cry, and express your anger when you feel that you need to. Talk with friends, family, a professional counselor, or maybe even a member of the clergy. Talking about your feelings is a healthy way to relieve stress.
  • Find something you enjoy. You may think that you are too busy to do these things. But making time to do something you enjoy can help you relax. It might also help you get more done in other areas of your life.

     Whatever you decide to do, always remember that the Holidays are a fun and joyful time. If you can find time to see the joy in the little things, then the big things do not seem as bad.  Establish some healthy coping skills to better manage your stress and your holiday season might go a little bit smoother.  Happy Holidays!!

~ Meredith McDowell, Therapist


Guest Columnist...
Generate Happiness, Hope and Harmony With Color

     Happiness, hope and harmony can enter your life by adding color. Some days are filled with positive events that are full of vibrant colors and other days are filled with challenges that can be dark and gloomy. As I open my eyes each morning and wrestle with my thoughts about the upcoming day, I try to see a rainbow of positive color to get me started off on the right foot. One way to do this is to notice the colors around you.
Happiness, Hope and Harmony
     Happiness, hope and harmony are all positive emotions that are core to opening our hearts and our minds and can make us more receptive and creative. There are certain colors that help elicit these positive emotions. Take a moment to look at your surroundings right now. What colors do you see the most? Do you see bright and energetic colors like yellow, blue and green or are you seeing more black, gray and brown? These darker colors are often associated with secrets, uncertainty and seriousness.
     Happiness comes from enjoying something of pure pleasure and satisfaction. Hope is simply a wish for something you consider to be possible. And, harmony comes from many pleasing elements that all come together. There are many colors that might bring these three blissful emotions floating into your life but, the colors that I find to simply bring the greatest amount of happiness, hope and harmony into my life are three of the most simple and abundant sources of color.
The Colors of Happiness, Hope and Harmony
  1)    Yellow -- Adding the primary color of yellow is known to produce a warming effect and arouse happiness. Simply set your alarm for one hour earlier than normal and rise with the sun. To get the full effect, go for an early morning walk or sit next to an eastern facing window and let the day unfold with you. The warmth from the sun's rays and the brilliant color of yellow in your view is certain to bring you more joy.
  2)    Blue -- Adding the primary color of blue, the most calming color, is most likely to give you peace, stability and guidance to hope. The color of blue is simply added by looking upward as you leave your home and allowing the abundance of the natural sky to rest with you before you venture out for your day. Humanity's most popular color is blue, making it the easiest color to add to your daily living.
  3)    Green -- Adding this secondary color, which comes from yellow and blue combined, is essential to adding harmony to your life. Green is the primary color of nature and symbolizes growth, fertility and balance. The first line of disease is a break with nature. Staying with nature by relaxing in a park or your backyard's abundance of green can increase your sense of harmony.
     When I intentionally stop and acknowledge my surroundings throughout my day, I am able to easily bring in these three vibrant colors. Inviting yellow, blue and green into my focus enhances my happiness, hope and harmony and ultimately leads to more blissful living.

~ Joni Reisinger, Guest Columnist,


From Our EAP...
Managing Holiday Stress when Visitors Come to Town

The holidays are about family get-togethers—and sometimes with family members we would rather, well, go anotheryear before seeing them again.
Reducing Conflict Is Possible
     Are your family holiday gatherings sometimes a bit stressful, with personalities that rub each other the wrong way? If so, try the following ideas to help you enjoy the season a bit more and possibly look forward to getting everyone together again next year.
Begin with a Positive Mind-set
     Expect your best year ever. Such an attitude can create momentum for a positive experience, enabling you to detach from negativity, mishaps, and little slights and snubs in conversations with family members.
     This year, refuse to allow your “buttons to be pushed.” Rehearse new responses to predictable interactions you might experience from loved ones who get under your skin—and do it six or seven times, as an actor would so it sticks.
     If Aunt Flo criticizes your choice of pumpkin pie filling, saying that Trader Joe’s brand is much better, instead of allowing yourself to respond on autopilot, thank her for the tip.
Use “Perfection” as a Guide for Success,Not a Measure
If you are planning the picture-perfect holiday family experience, go for it! However, remember, every family experiences interpersonal annoyances and conflicts. 
     Accept your family members as they are and keep the big picture in mind. More positive memories are likely to follow with your broader focus. Use your vision as a guideline, but don’t make it a litmus test with degrees of perfection measuring whether your get-together was successful.
Set a Time for Group Cleanup
     Although family members are guests in your home, that doesn’t mean they can’t pitch in to help put your house back in order at the end of the visit.
     Try a colossal pickup party, and have fun doing it with all hands on deck. Ask everyone to spend 20 minutes participating in one big, rousing, music supported, cleaning extravaganza. Divvy up all the chores—vacuuming, laundry, dusting, dishes, the works. Humans are “hard wired” for this sort of teamwork, and you will marvel at the positivity.
Leave Politics at the Door
     We aren’t far away from the next national election, so politics may be at the top of everyone’s mind.
     If you like conflict, dive in, but to avoid stress and hard feelings, and to prevent dessert from being ruined, recognize that strong opinions of family members probably differ and can cause severe conflict.
     Sports and the food served are safe go-to discussion topics. Rope in a few trusted family members and assign them to steer conversation away from unpleasant topics when they arise.
Don’t Leave Great Memories to Chance
     Plan interactive and enjoyable group activities before your family guests arrive that hold promise for becoming fond memories in the future. Will everyone head out to see holiday lights and grab a pizza, take a hike, visit the city, or play family games?
     Be deliberate. Don’t let fun be an accident or a hoped-for outcome of your get together. Plan something fun for the family. It could be a session of karaoke, an indoor game, or a family quiz.
     A family walk or an outdoor game will help everyone feel energized. Try a new hiking location no has been to yet. Make a family photo album of the event.
Stay in the Giving Mode
     Will someone remember to give you that special perfume from New York’s finest perfume store, Aedes de Venustas? After all, you have dropped hints about it all year. How will you feel if you don’t get it?
     Instead of worrying about what you’re getting, stay in the giving mode during the holiday season, and make it about others to reduce disappointments and ensure fond memories.
Include a Non-family Member as a Buffer
     It works. If you’re worried about bickering and personality clashes, try bringing a neighbor or friend to dinner.
     When strangers are present, relatives often avoid conflicts and exercise more self-restraint. Holiday gatherings often bring loads of stress, but with these “survival strategies,” the time can be more enjoyable.
     Stay focused on the true meaning of the holidays, and be grateful for the family you have.
Happy Holidays!

~ Anna Hain, EAP Coordinator

Emerton SeanneSpotlight on Seanne's Training...
Now offering Strategic Coaching!

Seanne Larson Emerton, owner of Family Resources of Greater NE, P.C., recently completed advanced training in Strategic Coaching at the Madanes Strategic Coaching Training in Carlsbad, California on December 4th, 5th and 6th, 2015.  The trainer, Cloe Madanes, PhD, is a world renowned innovator and teacher of family and strategic therapy as well as an originator of the coaching model for strategic intervention.  She has authored seven books that have been translated into more than 20 languages and has been featured in Newsweek, The Washington Post and The Boston Globe.
     Strategic coaching is used to help individuals, couples, organizations and businesses maximize their potential to enjoy breakthrough performance.  The international group of advanced practitioners who successfully completed this strategic coaching training, mastered techniques to help their clients minimize interpersonal conflict and achieve success both personally and professionally.
    To make an appointment for individual, relationship or business/executive coaching,  please contact Emerton at Family Resources, 308.381.7487


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