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Handling the Holidays When You’re Grieving

Holidays can be a minefield to navigate when you are grieving the loss of a loved one, especially if that loss was recent and this is your first holiday without them. There you are, feeling so very sad and vulnerable and raw, and everywhere you turn you are listening to cheerful holiday music, looking at pictures of smiling people, and watching excited children and beaming parents going about their holiday preparations. The contrast between where you are and where the rest of the world seems to be can be overwhelming and quite painful. Holidays are a time when cultural tradition exerts tremendous pressure on you to be a certain way, feel a certain way, act a certain way – ways that feel almost foreign to you in the midst of your grief. As you look around your holiday table, the     . . . read more

Mature Behavior in 10 Easy (okay…actually pretty difficult) Steps

Though I strive to be sensible and balance reason with carefully considered emotions, I have had to put myself in time-out several times recently. My kids drive me nuts because they are children and we are inside together a lot because it’s winter in Maine, and I want to lose my mind. “Those people” on the internet drive me nuts because, in case you have not observed, things are tense out there. It seems like no matter who you are, every emotional button is being pushed in the current climate. Keeping myself under control is not always easy. Perhaps you can relate. I find it facinating how we work so hard to teach our kids to behave appropriately, meanwhile often misbehaving ourselves. My daughter’s school is amazing. They have beautifully explained expectations for how people treat each other- in the classroom,     . . . read more

5 Ways to Strengthen Your Bond (And Make a Good Relationship Even Better)

It’s a new year, and there is likely a resolution you have forgotten: investing in your relationship. As a culture, the new year tends to signify a time for reflection and for commitment to betterment in some sense.  We make resolutions to improve ourselves individually. Sometimes we commit to taking action to improve the world or our community. We consider seeing friends more or spending more time with family.  Life gets busy, and it’s important to reflect on our priorities so we don’t lose sight of them in the flurry of day to day living. However, one area that tends to get overlooked, unless there is a glaring problem or a new and exciting milestone (like marriage, a new baby, a special anniversary), is our commitment to bettering, or strengthening, our long term romantic partnerships.  In the chaos of life,     . . . read more

When You Feel Powerless

Note from Hannah: This post is being republished post-election after many people reported feeling hopeless and powerless. I hope it is of some help.  Powerless. Helpless. Stuck. These are some of the very worst, most unpleasant ways to feel. Too often people experiencing these emotions are hesitant to get counseling, or even talk with friends, because they feel it will “do nothing.” This is based on the belief that the event or circumstance needs to change in order to feel better. The thought at the core of hopelessness is: The thing that’s already done must be different or else I will never feel better. This is not true. Getting unstuck is about navigating your responses and feelings more effectively- not changing external events. I’m not saying it’s easy, but I think it’s essential to our well-being to cultivate healthier ways to     . . . read more

The Surprising Thing Authentic People Do (That You Probably Don’t)

Amongst people at dinner parties, networking events, and behind the closed door of my office, I hear, “I don’t want drama. I want honesty. I dislike fakey-fake.” Then invariably I hear this declaration from one of the people I just described, in response to some interpersonal issue they are having: “You know what the problem is? I’m just too nice!”  My response to this statement depends on the audience. If you have the misfortune of being my friend, I drop a (loving) truth bomb on you. Otherwise, I make my point a little more gently and in time. If you’re my blog reader, I’ll tell you like this: No, you are definitely not too nice. You can’t be too nice. What you are actually talking about is being dishonest, cowardly, and part of the problem you say you want to avoid.      . . . read more

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