5 Effective Ways to Deal with Difficult People Right Now

Dealing with difficult people

The increased conflict of recent years has put many of us on edge. I’ve seen friendships implode over hurtful words and differing opinions. I’ve watched marriages bend under the weight of mental health challenges and family drama.

When you’re in survival mode, dealing with difficult people can feel like the tipping point. The popular idea of “cutting people out” of your life is tempting when you’re just trying to make it through the week.

Before you throw in the towel, here are 5 things to keep in mind when relating to difficult people. Continue reading

10 Things Not to Say to Those Who are Hurting and Distressed

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The world is hurting. Again.

If we’re honest, we’re all having a difficult time with something right now. And after everything we’ve experienced in the last two years, how could we not?

Maybe your heart is broken by what you see on the news. Or you’re feeling the financial pressure with rising prices here at home. You may be worried about your job, your family, your health. Anxiety and depression could be taking a toll. Or loneliness is growing because your friendships don’t look the same anymore.

It’s likely we’re all a bit more overwhelmed and overloaded than before.

Yet in spite of all we’re enduring, I’ve heard people say these things as of late… Continue reading

How to Survive the Holidays After Losing Someone You Love

I still remember all the firsts. The first vacation. First birthday. Our first Christmas without Dad. That feeling of trying to celebrate the holidays while a piece of our heart and home was missing.

Holidays are naturally a big deal and loss can feel even deeper during those times that magnify our togetherness.

This year, over 300,000 families will wake up Christmas morning without their loved one. Our family will once again experience another first Christmas without someone one we love. This year, the celebration may feel a little less merry and bright.

Grief can be challenging and confusing. Sometimes it feels like you’re drowning, other times like you’re being hollowed out from the inside. Overstimulated, yet numb at the same time. The stages of grief can feel cyclical and repetitive, causing you to wonder if life will ever feel normal again.

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Why You Can’t Fail at Christmas This Year

After surviving a year like this one, I thought the Christmas season would redeem all the mess. I looked forward to gazing at lights, drinking hot cocoa, cheerfully decking the halls, and lining my countertops with cookies shaped like snowmen and snowflakes. I envisioned feeling refreshed.

Instead, I spent the month stress-shopping online, complaining about the mail and snapping at my husband as he walked by.

This year there would be no travel plans, no family to see, no church service to attend. And because our normal had been uprooted, I felt pressured to do more this Christmas, not less. Continue reading

How to Be Thankful When You’re Feeling Blue

The last few weeks I’ve been preparing for the holidays. Mentally, that is.

Just this week my state registered a 39% positivity rate for COVID-19. Illness in my community is so widespread that the Department of Health developed an entirely new category of measurement.

As our cases surged, my heart sank. A “critically high” spread meant I would be home for the holidays. It meant more confinement. Less gathering.

Maybe you can relate. Across the country, cities are mandating that families forgo the festivities and guests this season. For most of us, this holiday promises to be different. Complex. Confusing and discouraging. Continue reading

Navigating Loneliness

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Social distancing while being homebound may be a new experience for many. But for us, this quarantine has been more of the same.

Every year when the weather begins to chill, I give a half-hearted wave to the world and tuck myself in for a long winter nap. I spend the majority of cold and flu season in self-induced hibernation; maintaining distance, vigilantly washing hands, wearing masks in clinics, reluctantly canceling plans with friends. For six months out of the year, being immune-compromised means that my world mostly exists within the four walls of my home.

It can get very lonely. And maybe you’re feeling lonely right now too.   Continue reading

Navigating Survivor’s Guilt

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Sometimes I feel like I’m in a lifeboat watching the Titanic sink. Thousands have died and lives continue to be disrupted while I sit safe inside my home.

My heart breaks for those who have suffered the most from this pandemic. Our family members in the New York area have surely witnessed and experienced things that are far removed for our experience here in the remote north.

Knowing that others are suffering and grieving while I’m relatively okay overwhelms me with a sense of guilt. Continue reading

Navigating Anger and Blame

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Adversity, loss and grief are a part of life. And so is getting mad.

Chances are high that you’ll experience anger before this crisis is done. And far too often, anger gets a bad rap. It can be easily mishandled or misunderstood.

Growing up, I believed it was better to “be nice” than to be angry. I thought that expressing any kind of anger was automatically wrong and harmful. So when I was bullied by kids at school, I never confronted them or stood up for myself. Over time I learned to suppress my anger with good behavior and a happy face.

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