The Circle of Wellness Newsletter 12/23

The Circle

The Circle of Wellness with Diana

Monthly Reflections

There are plenty of reasons why some people might prefer to hibernate from mid-November through the beginning of January, and one of the biggest reasons is loneliness. Feeling lonely or down around this time of year is common and completely normal. If you’ve ever wondered why the holidays have this effect on people (perhaps including yourself) and are looking for strategies for dealing with seasonal loneliness, here are some insight that might help.

“How loneliness will feel and manifest will be unique to each of us,” Marian Grace Boyd says. Some examples include fatigue, anxiety, tension, isolation, melancholy, frustration, having no initiative or drive, procrastination, lacking self-confidence, finding it harder to make decisions, having less patience with family members, feeling empty, or feeling that things which once brought joy no longer do. Loneliness can also cause physical symptoms like headaches, tight shoulders, the feeling of a knot in your stomach, or an increase in self-medication with food, drugs or alcohol.

To those who have never experienced loneliness during the holiday season, even the possibility of facing unpleasant emotions during the so-called “most wonderful time of the year” seems far-fetched. Of course, in reality, it’s not, and there are several reasons for that:

  • Not everyone feels loved and supported. The holidays are often hardest for those who don’t have family or a reliable support system, those whose loved ones are gone or whose families are estranged.
  • There are too many triggers. One person’s source of happiness may be another person’s trigger. This is true year-round, but can be even more pronounced during the holidays.
  • Expectations don’t usually match reality. For someone who experiences loneliness during the holidays, the constant barrage of commercials, decorations, and posts on social media depicting what this time of year is “supposed” to look like can also make things worse.

If you’re dealing with loneliness, know that there are coping strategies and general tips for making it through the holidays. Here are few that might help:

  • Reimagine the holidays. Instead of stressing over a preconceived notion of what you think the holiday should be, focus instead on making it what you want it to be: a low-stress, enjoyable experience.
  • Plan something to look forward to. Whether it’s spending time with your family, going on a holiday trip or taking a quiet time for yourself, connect to the spirit of holidays through activities that feel meaningful to you.
  • Be kind to yourself. It’s okay to acknowledge that you feel frustrated or disappointed that you’re not able to experience the holidays the way you wanted them to be. Connect to your emotions, let them exist and release on their own.

News and Announcements

I’m currently accepting new clients for Psychotherapy and Personal Development remote sessions. All current clients receive 20% discount for Personal Development or MARI services, and newsletter subscribers receive 10% discount as new clients.

When you’re stressed or your children are anxious or upset, you can’t absorb any new information, so functioning at work or studying at school becomes problematic. Regulate your nervous system first so the flight-fight response turns off, then you can work or study productively.

Research and Information

This support dog had to be retired after 5 years due to compassion fatigue, working to support survivors of abuse in court. He actually did not want to be petted anymore and he went to work with his head low. His body absorbed so much emotional pain, it wore him out. Imagine what is happening to our bodies as we do this year after year…

This just shows how much emotions we actually absorb from other people and environments, and how much emotional strength mental health professionals put into helping others. We’re affected by trauma that our clients carry inside.

Suggested Readings

This Is Us” is a relaxing adult coloring book with unique and original drawings of people that incorporate creative patterns to express part of their character.

Use your creativity to color in the patterns and shapes that make a life. Amazing unique patterns that will give you countless hours of relaxation and fun. Find peace in the images and creative process that will bring the pictures alive.

Get this book here.

Useful Links and Resources

CalmiGo is a patented technology-based device that provides immediate drug-free relief in moments of anxiety, panic attacks, and PTSD. CalmiGo uses 3 proven techniques to decrease stress hormone levels by enabling your body to quiet the “anxious” nervous system (sympathetic system) and activating the “calming” nervous system (parasympathetic system).

CalmiGo’s patented technology guides you to effortlessly regulate your breath according to your unique breathing pattern. After just a few breaths your parasympathetic nervous system is activated and decreases your stress hormones.

Get CalmiGo here.

Recipe of the Month

Are you a pumpkin lover or a pumpkin hater? Even if you’re the latter, you’ll love this pumpkin recipe. It’s filling, satisfying and delicious. I grew up eating it during cold weather months, and I still make it often for my own family. You can use either rice or millet in this recipe with the same cooking instructions. You can also use butternut squash instead of pumpkin, but you’d need to add a bit more sweetener in that case. I suggest making your own pumpkin purée as the canned one will yield a slightly different flavor and texture.
Ukrainian Pumpkin Rice

  • 4 cups pumpkin purée
  • 4+1 cups milk of choice (I use coconut)
  • 2 cups uncooked rice or millet
  • 1/3 cup honey or maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tsp pumpkin spice
  • 1/2 Tbsp lemon zest
  • 4 Tbsp butter or ghee


  • Roast pumpkin at 425 degrees for about 30 minutes.
  • Cut pumpkin, remove the seeds and scoop out pumpkin purée.
  • In a big pot, combine 4 cups of pumpkin purée, uncooked rice and 4 cups of milk and bring to a boil.
  • Add honey, lemon zest, vanilla, spices, and raisins.
  • Reduce heat and cook it under a closed lid, stirring frequently.
  • As the liquid evaporates, gradually add 1 more cup of milk.
  • Cook it until the rice is soft, stirring often.
  • Stir in butter and mix well.

Homework Corner

Your homework for this holiday season is to connect to a sense of gratitude and paying it forward. Alone or with your family, you can choose a recipient or a charity to give to either monetarily or service-wise. Even a dollar or 30 minutes of assistance will count. Trust that the Universe will return the favor and will gift you with a nice surprise. Be open to receive in many different ways beyond the obvious ones.

Pet Therapy

Afina wants to remind you that the holiday spirit is inside of you and can connect you to a festive mood any time you want. 

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