On Valentine's Day

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January and February are often busy months in our counseling office, and this year is no exception. A combination of Seasonal Affective Disorder, the post-holiday blues, and the doldrums of West Michigan winter can cause understandable feelings of depression and sadness. I myself have experienced this phenomenon regularly for most of my adult life and unconsciously looked for ways to brighten up these months and give myself a boost in mood — some of my solutions worked well, others not so much. And while Bachelor Mondays can be a psychologically rich diversion… allow me to present to you an alternative balm to the soul that can warm up even the coldest and darkest of January/February evenings: Valentine’s Day.

Now, hear me out. I am aware that Valentine’s Day is a polarizing holiday. “It’s too commercial!” you might say, as you notice the rising prices of greeting cards and heart shaped candy. “It’s elitist and demoralizing!” you may cry as ...

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Posted in:

  • Holidays
  • Valentine's Day

Tags:

  • Joy

Unpacking Grief

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When you think of grief or grieving, what comes to mind? If you’re like many people, death and dying are probably at the top of the list, or perhaps they are the only points on the list. In my experience with people - both formal and informal - it has become apparent that grief is largely misunderstood and, therefore, not often acknowledged to its fullest extent. Aside from the necessary attention given to one who is dealing with death and the, oftentimes, unwanted effect of it, a wealth of circumstances and life events are likely to bring about legitimate grief. The difference with such instances not relating to death is the uncertainty about how to grieve or if it is even warranted, assuming it is not neglected altogether. Grief is primarily about mourning a loss - whether literal or figurative, concrete or abstract - which leads to the aspect of “normal” versus complicated grief. Given that I work in mental health care, I prefer to avoid the word n ...

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Posted in:

  • Grief

Tags:

  • Emotions

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