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Christmas Message and Tips for Self-Care Interventions

Christmas Message and Tips for Self-Care Interventions

As a mental health practice of the Christian faith, I want to remind you that Christmas is about exemplifying Christlike behaviors of kindness, honesty, trustworthiness, having good values and ethics, love for your fellow men, respect, generosity, compassion, forgiveness, not being hypocritical, and being humble. Yes, forgiveness is crucial, but it does not mean you accept or agree with what was done to you. In forgiveness, God still holds others accountable and responsible for the consequences of their actions. A road for forgiveness means that you have chosen to let go and let God be the judge of it all. It also means that you accept that you may not always get an apology, but you don’t want to continue being held hostage to anger and being upset about the wrong done to you. The Bible says in the NIV version of Deuteronomy 32:35 that  “ It is mine to avenge; I will repay. In due time their foot will slip; their day of disaster is near, and their doom rushes upon them.”

I had experienced a period in my life where my cousin and I were arguing when I was in my 20’s. I ended up slapping her, and I truly regret it. I apologized and truly meant it, but I couldn’t take back the slap. I made sure I never repeated that behavior. I realized that I was wrong despite whatever argument we were having. I had no right to slap her, and I was remorseful. I also know sometimes wrong can be done to you too. I know you might say, “Dr. Vansiea, you don’t know what that person did to me or understand.” Trust me, I get it. I had a cousin almost choked me to death, had family members jump me to fight in my home, had people say that I will not amount to much, had family members call me crazy, had family members exclude me from functions, and had husbands lie and cheat on me. I have also had close family members exclude me from planning close relatives’ homegoing due to anger and hatred. Saying all of this, the moral of the story is, “Let God continue to work on healing you because Dr. Vansiea is also a work in progress herself.” I am in this profession to make a difference because I have experienced many things in my journey, including discrimination, chronic medical illnesses, depression, suicidal thoughts, and anxiety. In addition, my father had a mental illness. My life is a living testimony, and this year I almost died from Covid-19 in January. 

The weight is too heavy to carry being angry and hateful with retaliation in life. The Bible also says in the KJV of Matthew 5:44 that, but I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.”

The key is speaking your truth in how you feel to the ones who hurt you if the opportunity presents itself and once it is safe to do so. You can also articulate it in a letter to God. Never allow your mental and physical health to be compromised by others while loving them. It’s important to know your worth, too, and not allow others to devalue you because that is not love. The Bible’s depiction of love is not rendering evil for evil and praying for those who hurt us, but we must also not put ourselves in harm's way either.

Now, let’s talk about self-care needs this holiday and crucial things to watch out for at this time of the year. Self-care needs are also healthy ways to cope with life challenges in order to maintain balance and wellness.  This holiday season, there may be sadness if we have lost friends and relatives that may have gone to be with the Lord, such as Dr. Vansiea herself lost both grandparents this year. This will be the first Christmas without them. Let’s remember to tap into others when grieving to talk, such as trusted family members, friends, or mental health providers like Dr. Vansiea. Let’s acknowledge the dead by reflecting on memories, writing tributes, visiting gravesites if you can, and/or writing a goodbye letter to your loved ones. Also, please do allow yourself to feel because death hurts. Remember that they are gone but never forgotten. 

There are some common stressors if left unresolved in life that can lead to contributing factors (exacerbating or accelerating an issue) of mental illness such as:

Let’s also be our brothers' and sisters' keepers by recognizing some symptoms of depression and suicide listed below with some interventions. For example, depression is a mental health disorder characterized by persistently depressed mood or loss of interest in activities, causing significant impairment in daily life.

In the anxiety and depression association of America facts & statistics of 2021, it is stated that Major Depressive Disorder “affects more than 16.1 million American adults, or about 6.7% of the U.S. population aged 18 and older in a given year.” (https://adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/facts-statistics

Some symptoms of depression over a two weeks period or more are:

Warning Signs of Suicide:

What Should You Do if you See the Warning Signs of Suicide? 

If you believe someone you know is in immediate danger of killing themselves...

Types of Self-Care and Ways to Cope

   Personal Self-Care

Physical Self Care

Mental/Emotional or Psychological Self-Care

Spiritual Self-Care

Socialization Self-care

Professional Growth and Development Self-Care

Financial Self Care

I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year. Please continue to stay faithful and hopeful during this holiday season. I pray that 2022 will be a better year for you and your family.

Much love and prosperity. Take care.

 Dr. Judy E. Vansiea

Author
Dr. Judy E. Vansiea

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