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Holidays 101: Handling Holiday Stress

Written by Lisa Jillanza

Thanksgiving may be behind us, but we are still entering the major holiday season… or the major stress season for some. The holidays are stressful for many during a normal year, but couple that with shipping delays, shortages, and inflation, many people may be finding it hard to cope this year.


So how can you better deal with your holiday stress? Experts suggest the following:

  • Talk with your family and find out what holiday traditions mean the most to them and focus on those activities and not ALL of the holiday activities.
  • Make a holiday schedule and invite your family members to help you keep on that schedule.
  • Make it a proactive event to find out what worked and what didn’t from year to year.

In the News: Self-Care Tips for December – Part I

Written by Lisa Jillanza

The month of December is notoriously known for being the busiest month for most people. Because of all the hustle and bustle, many people find themselves feeling overwhelmed. Here we offer you some tips for making the month of December a little less overwhelming.


Keep a gratitude journal. Include things that you are grateful for as well as things you accomplished each day. This will help you to remain grateful and positive.

Make a new holiday recipe. Trying a new recipe will challenge you and keep your mind active. You might even find a new holiday treat.

Get creative by writing and/or crafting. Creative expression and overall well-being are linked. These activities help you express yourself through art and keep your creativity flowing.

Think of something that you want to improve. Maybe you want to practice a foreign language or pick the guitar back up, whatever it is challenge yourself and you will find that through success you will be rewarded. 

Show love to someone. Reach out to an old friend or family member. Go out of your way to make someone feel special. Even a simple thank you card can be very meaningful. 

Write about a fun memory that you have had. If you are feeling in a funk, remembering a good time can sometimes help you get back into the happy mindset. 

At least for one day, take a break from your phone. Stay away from social media and the news. Spend more time getting to know yourself during this holiday season.


Continued in Part II…

In the News: Suicide Prevention Awareness Month – Part II

Written by Lisa Jillanza

(Continued from Part I…)

Care – Show you care. The context of caring makes it a lot easier to ask the hard questions about suicide. By actively listening and engaging, without judgment, you are showing that you care – this might just be enough to help the person feel relief and that they are not alone.

Escort – When someone acknowledges that they are feeling suicidal or hopeless, care enough to connect them to the nearest helping resource. Do not leave them alone! If possible, separate them from methods of harm.

Resources that are available 

  • Take the person to the nearest Emergency Room, where they will receive a full suicide assessment and receive needed care. If the person is hesitant to receive emergency healthcare, call 911.
  • Call 1-800-273-8255 to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and follow their guidance. You can also visit their website, suicidepreventionlifeline.org for further information.
  • If the person you know has a mental health professional that they see, help them schedule an urgent appointment. If they do not have an existing connection with a mental health professional, help them make an urgent appointment with their family physician. 

This year Suicide Prevention Week is celebrated September 10 – 16. The week is about prevention awareness but it is also about reducing the stigma surrounding suicide and encourage the pursuit of mental health assistance, such as therapy.

In the News Suicide Prevention Awareness Month– Part I

Written by Lisa Jillanza

Suicide is a problem that affects people of all different walks of life. Many of us know someone, such as a friend, family member or coworker that has committed or attempted suicide. Over the past 20 years, suicide rates have risen rather steadily in the United States. Suicide is currently ranked as the 10th highest cause of death of among all ages.

During the month of September, we celebrate Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, as suicide is preventable and together through treatment and support, we can help reduce the number of suicides.

Warning signs of suicide

  • Feeling extreme depression, guilt, or shame.
  • Feeling hopeless.
  • Talking about, or preoccupation with, death or suicide.
  • Preparing for death, such as updating/preparing a will, giving away possessions, or taking steps to access lethal means (buying a firearm, acquiring quantities of pills/medication, researching ways to die).
  • Exhibiting a dramatic change in behavior, including withdrawal from friends or usual activities, increased alcohol/drug use, difficulties in sleeping or eating, decreased self-care.

What to do if someone you know is experiencing a crisis or hurting

If you believe someone needs help, we encourage you to follow the ACE (Ask, Care, Escort) suicide prevention model, with these easy-to-remember steps:

Ask – Ask, “Are you thinking of killing yourself?” Although it may feel awkward, research shows that people having thoughts of suicide feel relief when someone asks them in a caring way.

(Continued in Part II…)

In the News Psychological Hacks for Better Mental Health – Part II

Written by Lisa Jillanza

Continued from Part I…)


  • Look around — notice those areas that need a make-over. We often get stuck in habitual patterns of behavior. Life is constantly evolving — things that used to work may no longer. Adjust accordingly.
  • Avoid wearing all-grey clothes to work as this color is associated with passivity, low involvement. and a lack of energy.
  • Make Sunday your personal-care day: get a massage, a mani-pedi, extra sleep, a delicious brunch, or catch up on leisure reading.
  • Wake up 15 minutes earlier than normal during the week. Moving slowly and purposefully sets you up for a calm, peaceful day where you are in control. Not the other way around.
  • Leave drama where it belongs: On Broadway or at the movies. Your central nervous system will thank you.
  • Steer clear of jerks. And while you’re at it, don’t be a jerk yourself!
  • Think faster. As counter intuitive as it may seem, mulling, over-analyzing, and delaying decisions doesn’t help. Trust yourself and decide, already.
  • Remember that happinessis a habit. You can rewire your emotional template every day. Let these tips guide you.
  • When distraction interferes with productivity, try the Pomodoro Technique: Work for 25 minutes, then take a break for 5 minutes. Repeat this sequence two more times. On the fourth round, take a longer break. Having an egg timer or mobile device helps keep track of time.
  • Dance, skip, tell a joke, or do something you normally wouldn’t do that adds whimsy, spontaneity, and fun to your day.
  • Focus on solutions rather than problems.