Taking Control of Your Mental Illness During the Holiday Season

depressed woman christmas tree holiday

Mental health professionals often refer to the holiday season as the most difficult time of year for their clients. There is more in the air than the scent of fresh baked cookies. On the not-so-sweet side there are awkward family interactions, embarrassing past woes revealed, resurfacing childhood trauma, addiction relapse rampant — the list goes on.

People seem to get sicker this time of year, both mentally and physically. If you find the holidays tough and notice negative changes in your mental health, these tips will shed some light on strategies you can use to stay balanced. Continue reading Taking Control of Your Mental Illness During the Holiday Season

Try Doing Nothing This Holiday: It’s Great for Your Mental Health

Liz Lemon couch doing nothing

Planning to do anything — even something fun and relaxing for the holidays — takes work and sometimes causes stress. Then you might want a vacation from the vacation.

Spending at least a day doing nothing is essential to having a restful holiday where your mind and body power down. But that’s only the beginning of why making time to do nothing over the holidays is great for your mental health.

Then there’s learning how you will actually do it and grappling with the definition of “nothing.” We’re aware of the irony of spending time strategizing how you will do nothing, but a quick read will be worth the reward. Continue reading Try Doing Nothing This Holiday: It’s Great for Your Mental Health

The Harm Orphanages Can Have on a Child’s Mental Health

orphan dirty hands cardboard house

When Monique Prince and her former husband had trouble conceiving, they decided to adopt children from a Ukrainian orphanage. Because adoption laws are different in the Ukraine, adopting children from this orphanage did not risk a potential custody battle with the biological parents.

“We didn’t want the children to be taken from us after we adopted,” Prince told Talkspace during a phone conversation.

These children desperately needed the kind of home Prince wanted to provide. The temperature in the orphanage was barely above the freezing point, Prince said. No one held the babies or gave them any sort of affection. The staff did not have the training or energy to properly address basic needs such as diaper changing and bottle feeding. Continue reading The Harm Orphanages Can Have on a Child’s Mental Health

Seasonal Affective Disorder [SAD]: Use this Infographic to Battle Depression

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This infographic was originally published on the resources section of Yellowbrick, a national psychiatric center that specializes in treating young adults such as college students. 

There’s holiday blues, and then there’s seasonal affective disorder [SAD]. Check out the infographic below so you can understand the difference and help those in need, especially if one of those people is you.

Consider the Talkspace E-Gift Card as well, something guaranteed to combat SAD. But make sure you have the right conversation before you give it. Continue reading Seasonal Affective Disorder [SAD]: Use this Infographic to Battle Depression

The Right Way to Send Someone a Talkspace E-Gift Card

Talkspace E-Gift Card ribbon

Sending a friend or family member a Talkspace E-Gift Card is a great idea! You need to be tactful, though. If you send it without having a positive conversation with them beforehand, they might take it as you saying they are annoying or need to be “fixed.”

Remember, this gift card is not a way of saying “you need help” to someone. It is an invitation for this person to join you in living a happier and mentally healthier life. Keep reading to learn how to have the right conversation with the one you care about before sending the gift card. Continue reading The Right Way to Send Someone a Talkspace E-Gift Card

Survive Your Dysfunctional Family This Holiday Season

dysfunctional sad gingerbread family holiday

“No family is perfect… we argue, we fight. We even stop talking to each other at times. But in the end, family is family…The love will always be there.” – unknown author.

For those who grew up in dysfunctional families, even this quote might seem too optimistic. After painful childhood experiences, there are only idealized images of loving families in your mind.

We all have an idea of what family should be: we should unite, make up and love one another like that Hollywood family does at the end of each episode. Then you look at your own family and realize just how far you are from that ideal image.

Each year, the holidays can be a difficult reminder of this truth, and maybe you use the natural human defense of denial to cope. Here are few tips and ideas for you to begin healing. It starts with finding new ways to cope with family at the holiday time, with acceptance instead of denial. Continue reading Survive Your Dysfunctional Family This Holiday Season

Holidays Stressing You Out? Change Your Thinking with 3 Tips

woman stress holidays

We look forward to the holidays with anticipation and, perhaps, some trepidation. There can be a lot of stress and pressure during holiday activities. This short article will present some thinking tips for the holidays, some ideas you can use to make the holiday season less stressful and more pleasant.

Thinking Tip #1: Get Away from “Should” Thinking and Into Preferences

One of the most common ways in which we get ourselves upset is by thinking other people ‘should’ or ‘must’ behave or act certain ways. If a family member is being selfish or shortsighted, we will be upset with them. It would be nice if they were less selfish and more thoughtful, but there is a big difference between thinking they should versus a preference of it being nice if they would.
When we acknowledge it as a preference that is not happening, we are mildly and temporarily disappointed. When we believe they should act a certain way, we can be upset, sometimes enraged for extended periods of time.
The tip here is to shift your thinking that others ‘should’ or ‘must’ act a certain way to thinking it would be nice if they did but certainly not a requirement for your enjoyment and peace of mind. Continue reading Holidays Stressing You Out? Change Your Thinking with 3 Tips

Holiday Suicide is a Myth — And an Opportunity for Awareness

depressed woman christmas tree holiday

The popular notion of suicide rates spiking around the holidays is a myth, according to years of data the Center for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] collected. Suicides rates are actually lowest during December and peak in the spring. The media perpetuates this myth, but it isn’t the worst kind of lie.

Suicide awareness and prevention is a conversation we should be having during all seasons, so why not take advantage of the media’s holiday blues invention? It’s a chance to look out for the people we care about and be proactive rather than waiting until spring. Riding the wave of media coverage will allow you to reach more people via social media as well. Continue reading Holiday Suicide is a Myth — And an Opportunity for Awareness

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Are You Making A Hell Of Heaven?

cognitive behavioral therapy female hand word web

The poet John Milton, in his epic poem “Paradise Lost” (1667), stated — through the voice of his character Satan — “the Mind is its own place and, in itself can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven.”

I can think of no better or more eloquent statement to summarize the teachings of cognitive behavioral therapy [CBT]. CBT operates on the premise that our thinking is the precursor to moods and emotions, which is then the basis for a lot of behaviors, both heavenly and hellish. It is not the outer event that makes us feel any particular way but how we interpret and evaluate that event that makes us feel happy or sad, depressed or joyful, frightened or safe, energized or lethargic.

Cognitive behavioral therapy is not positive thinking. It is more about realistic thinking. Continue reading Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Are You Making A Hell Of Heaven?