From Susan’s Desk
December 2, 2021

Many of us enter the holidays with a feeling of anticipation of magic and fond memories, yet we can end them with feelings of anger, frustration, and disappointment.  At Josselyn, December tends to be a slower time for our intake and clinical staffs, but come January, our phones start ringing off the hook!  While it may be some small comfort to know that you are not alone in feeling relived to return to a normal routine, with relatives safely back in their own normal routines, there are other ways to cope and enter the holiday season prepared with some good tools.

COVID has certainly put a new wrinkle on the holidays as well.  Should we travel?  Should we ask our guests to be tested? Will the test work on this new Omicron variant?  So many of us have questions that only complicate our feelings about the holidays.

Some of our Josselyn clinical directors and supervisors have offered to share some helpful tips as you enter the holidays.  We hope this helps ease some tension and anxiety this holiday season.  Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, and Joyful Kwanzaa.  Remember, we are all human, and we are here on this planet to love and support each other.  May we have Mental health for all.

Nina Becker, LCPC
Clinical Director – Waukegan

No matter the circumstance the best way to navigate these issues is to take time before the event to reflect on what your boundaries are and try to enforce them to the best of your ability. Be realistic about what “holiday time with family” looks like—it isn’t always like the Hallmark movies—and try and be patient with yourself while choosing to focus on gratitude during this season.”

“2021 holidays are posing their own unique set of challenges: maybe you are reuniting with your family for the holidays this year after spending last year’s holidays alone, maybe you are choosing to celebrate without family to maintain social distancing and safety, or maybe you are overwhelmed with the thought of seeing family who grew apart during the pandemic.

Chloe Brodner, LCPC
Clinical Supervisor

“I encourage everyone to let their emotions come up if they surface. If the holidays bring up grief or sadness about loved ones lost or not being able to be with certain family members, acknowledge those emotions. I also encourage everyone to not let themselves isolate and try to connect (even virtually) with family or friends. It is also healthy to try to stick to a good routine by continuing with healthy habits and continuing to set healthy boundaries as needed!”

Heidi Kalman, LCSW
Clinical Supervisor

When it comes to family time around the holidays, I encourage clients to lower their expectations. It is okay if things are not perfect, it really is just another day or two out of the year. I encourage them to be kinder to themselves and make time to be alone to recharge when necessary. 

Regarding the pandemic, I encourage clients to accept that there is not a lot in our control when it comes to this, and ultimately everyone needs to do what they are comfortable with, and be accepting of other’s comfort levels, even if they may be different than their own. I encourage clients to use the holidays as a time for reflection—a pause in our regular busy lives.”

Linda Weiss, LCSW
Clinical Supervisor

“Take time out for yourself each day during the holiday season and always to protect your body from the effects of stress.   Deep breathing, mindfulness meditation, imagery and progressive relaxation are all soothing ways to help yourself attain calm during this time.”   

Vanessa Wolters, LCPC
Clinical Supervisor

“Create a plan for stressful moments and how you will respond. Remember that the only thing you can control is your reaction!”

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