Dusting off my keyboard to offer a number of thoughts as many of us navigate this season's stretch of time where the weather is chillier and the sun may seem to rest more than in the vibrant summer months. It's been a long pandemic, and most of my writings have begun, "I hope you've been navigating these global intersecting crises with care and connectedness..."
And I truly mean it each time. I'm at a loss for words to encapsulate the sheer magnitude of the different pain points I've come to know and hold the past three years.
Some days call for deep pauses to rest, engage with healing space, and accept that it's normal to feel out of capacity and tired on a regular basis given the current trauma-saturated global sociopolitical and ecological climates.
Winter in New York can be a time when I hear the feelings, "gloomy, depressed, and isolated" more often in my practice. With this in mind, I want to share some reflection questions to help cultivate your own holistic wellness strategies to navigate the season. Use as journal prompts or dialogue with friends or family; engage with the questions in whatever ways feel accessible. As always, additional crisis support referrals are available on my resources page.
What's my relationship with understanding my body's baseline? How can I notice new physical pains, or changes in my relationships to food / mind-altering substances affecting how my body feels and moves? When do I feel neutral to good in my body?
Has my working definition of the holidays changed from earlier years? Are there any experiences that would feel harmful to engage with this season? What celebrations or days of remembrance would feel authentic for me to engage with this season?
Who do I consider connecting with when I seek out chosen family or feeling affirmed in my identity? What groups or neighborhood orgs are available to connect with in my community? What people or communities are associated with anxiety or negative feels in my social calendar?
If I feel uncomfortable at a gathering, what resources are available as contingency plans to get to an emotionally safe space before, during or afterwards? What boundaries might be helpful to write down in advance to proactively maintain my agency in the event of an uncomfortable situation?
What does my behavior and mood look like when my social battery is low, and what are things that my body, mind, and spirit need to feel reenergized?
Hoping this post supports some healing dialogue and intention-setting as the winter solstice approaches. May you discover new pathways to pleasure and experience joy along the journey!
Sending warm vibes,
Veronica Chin Hing-Michaluk is a psychotherapist and sex therapist in NYC. Honoring the intersectionality of cultural identity, gender diversity, and sexuality, they support clients navigating the complex challenges that arise when holding intricate identities that exist outside the status quo. They help clients feel accepted unconditionally, and empowered to attain personal transcendence.