Archive for December, 2006

Dealing with the Holiday Blues

December 29, 2006 Leave a comment

Not everyone shares in the celebration and joy associated with the holidays. Many people feel stressed and unhappy in response to the demands of shopping for gifts, spending large amounts of money, attending parties and family gatherings, and entertaining houseguests. It is not uncommon to react to these stresses with excessive drinking and eating, difficulty sleeping, and physical complaints. The holiday blues are a common result. If you experience reactions like these during the holidays, you are not alone. Let’s take a look at what causes the holiday blues and what you can do about them.

What Causes the Holiday Blues?
Fear of disappointing others. Some people fear disappointing their loved ones during the holidays. Even though they can’t afford to spend a lot of money on gifts, some people feel so obligated to come through with a fancy gift that they spend more than they can afford.
Expecting gifts to improve relationships. Giving someone a nice present won’t necessarily strengthen a friendship or romantic relationship. When your gifts don’t produce the reactions you had hoped for, you may feel let down.
Anniversary reactions. If someone important to you passed away or left you during a past holiday season, you may become depressed as the anniversary approaches.
Bad memories. For some families, the holidays are times of chaos and confusion. This is especially true in families where people have substance abuse problems or dysfunctional ways of relating to each other. If this was true in your family in past years, you may always carry memories of the disappointment and upheaval that came with the holidays. Even though things may be better now, it is difficult to forget the times when your holidays were ruined by substance abuse and family dysfunction.
It could be SAD. People who live in northern states may experience depression during the winter because of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). SAD results from fewer hours of sunlight as the days grow shorter during the winter months.

Strategies for Dealing with the Holiday Blues

While the holiday blues are usually temporary, these ideas can help make this year’s holiday experience more pleasant and less stressful.

Be realistic.
Don’t expect the holiday season to solve all past problems. The forced cheerfulness of the holiday season cannot ward off sadness or loneliness.

Drink less alcohol.
Even though drinking alcohol gives you a temporary feeling of well-being, it is a depressant and never makes anything better.

Give yourself permission not to feel cheerful.
Accept how you are feeling. If you have recently experienced a loss, you can’t expect yourself to put on a happy face. Tell others how you are feeling and what you need.

Have a spending limit and stick to it.
Look for holiday activities that are free, such as driving around to look at holiday decorations. Go window-shopping without purchasing anything. Look for ways to show people you care without spending a lot.

Be honest.
Express your feelings to those around you in a constructive, honest, and open way. If you need to confront someone with a problem, begin your sentences with “I feel.”

Look for sources of support.
Learn about offerings at mental health centers, churches, and synagogues. Many of these have special support groups, workshops, and other activities designed to help people deal with the holiday blues.

Give yourself special care.
Schedule times to relax and pamper yourself. Take a warm bath or spend an evening with a good book.

Set limits and priorities.
Be realistic about what you will be able to accomplish. Prepare a To-Do list to help you arrange your priorities.

Volunteer your time.
If you are troubled because you won’t be seeing your family, volunteer to work at a hospital or food bank. Volunteering can help raise your spirits by turning your focus to people who are less fortunate than you are.

Get some exercise.
Exercise has a positive impact on depression because it boosts serotonin levels. Try to get some type of exercise at least twice each week.

After the Holidays
For some people, holiday blues continue into the new year. This is often caused by leftover feelings of disappointment during the holiday season and being physically exhausted. The blues also happen for some people because the start of a new year is a time of reflection, which can produce anxiety.

Is It More than Just the Holiday Blues?
Clinical depression is more than just feeling sad for a few weeks. The symptoms generally include changes in appetite and sleep patterns, having less interest in daily activities, difficulty concentrating, and a general feeling of hopelessness.
Clinical depression requires professional treatment. If you are concerned that a friend or relative may be suffering from more than just holiday blues, you should express your concerns. If the person expresses thoughts of worthlessness or suicide, it is important to seek the help of a qualified mental health professional.

For further information, visit these web sites:
American Psychological Association:
National Depressive and Manic-Depressive Association:
National Mental Health Association:


The Suspense is Over

December 28, 2006 1 comment

We found out today that we will be adding another girl to our family. We have selected the name of Emily Nicole Jones. Having a name is extremely important and I am sure that she is tired of not having one. We are extremely happy to find out that we can continue to buy dresses and smell good products for another 18 years. I had tiny hopes of producing a star quarterback for the University of Tennessee, but am still thrilled to know that the Lady Volunteers have a couple of recruits on their way.
All of the ultrasound pictures came back normal and that was the greatest blessing. It is amazing how God continues to bless our family and I am so thankful for it. Please continue to pray for the remainder of Dana’s pregnancy and for our continuing transition.

Categories: Family

Sometime I feel like Chicken Little

December 14, 2006 3 comments

I finally got the chance to watch Chicken Little. I do realize that it came out over a year ago, but I do have other things to do besides watch cartoons. It was hilarious and had a great message.
Chicken Little had it rough! The guy had information that was extremely important. He knew that the sky was falling and he wanted people to know about it. He spent his time trying to warn everyone about the impending danger, but was ignored. His friends did not believe him and his family thought he was crazy. He was absolutely dedicated to spreading the truth but it was repeatedly rejected. Little did the naysayers know that they should have listened to him.
There are many times that I feel that preaching is the same way. I have a message that I know is true. The sky may not be falling, but Jesus did say that He was coming back. He wants us all to be ready for that day. Regardless of how simple the message is made people continue to ignore it. Most people think that Christians are crazy and that the things they say will never come true. It is sad to know that so many will be lost because they are too busy to listen to the life saving message of the cross. I will not give up on them. There was a time when I also ignored the message, but by the grace of God I listened. I pray that each of will have the dedication of Chicken Little and keep on sceaming that “The sky is falling” until Jesus comes back again.

Categories: faith

Bringing excitement back to marriage

December 6, 2006 2 comments

I get the opportunity to do premarital and marriage counseling quite a bit. It is often sad to see how easy it is for married couples to lose the excitement from their marriage. It seems that work, kids, church, and many other activities take up our time and leave very little room for enjoying our spouse. The video above is hopeful a good reminder about how excited we should be when we find the one God intended for us to have. I pray that each of us will take the time to cherish our loved one and help them to see how excited we are to have them.

Categories: comedy, counseling

Little ole me is a NCC

December 1, 2006 1 comment

I got a letter today that informed me that I am a fully certified National Ceritified Counselor by the National Board of Certified Counselors. The National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) is the nation’s premiere professional certification board devoted to credentialing counselors who meet standards for the general and specialty practices of professional counseling.
This is a goal that I have been working towards for the past three years. I am extremely excited about this achievement.
National Certified Counselors (NCCs) all have master’s degrees. Required coursework includes psychotherapeutic theories and techniques, diagnosis and treatment planning, group therapy, and assessment. Supervised practica and internships in therapeutic work with clients is also required. The NCC credential assures counselor competence in all the areas that are essential for mental health service providers.

There are more than 38,000 NCCs working in every state in the US. NCCs serve an estimated half million clients each year. The NCC Registry at ( offers easy access to NCCs and can be searched by counselor location, name or certificate number. NBCC’s Counselor Find feature offers the same access to NCCs who accept referrals and provides their business city, state and phone.
It is my prayer that I can use this certification along with my professional counseling license to better minister to my congregation and others in my community.

Categories: counseling, mental health