January Blues

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A new year has begun with the promise of new beginnings, resolutions… and as always the feeling in the air that we can start over and put the past behind us. Yes even THAT year.

But what if you don’t feel this way; what if you have woken up to 2017 with a little less optimism and a little more dread in your heart? What if it doesn’t feel like a new beginning, but only a mark of getting older, feeling more anxious or tired and less at ease? What if the veneer is peeling and you are faced with the feeling that the world around you is falling apart and you don’t know where to turn?

Many people for whatever reason will be facing some of this fear and may feel ashamed to admit it, often because to admit to feeling this way in the face of all that jolly New Year rhetoric can make you feel more isolated.

As if to say ‘I don’t feel this way’ is to say ‘I’m a failure’.

Mid-January can often mark the beginning of the winter blues when, after the excitement (and stress!) of the Christmas holidays, spring can seem a long way off. Lack of light, low- immunity and general doldrums can add to the danger of the ‘blues’ turning into something more overwhelming. Especially if faced with personal problems with finances, job insecurity, and family responsibilities.

 

2017: A Year of Change

There are lots of reasons why people may be waking up to the world with a little less enthusiasm this year. Here in the middle of Europe, there is growing unrest with concerns about the popularity of extremist groups, the refugee crisis, the unknown outcome of Brexit on the European Union and the ‘Trump effect’. Whilst everyone’s view on the world we live in is subjective, it is not hard to see that we are in a time of upheaval, which can underline the worries of individuals facing challenging times.

Problems don’t just magically disappear once the New Year has started and internalising these feelings can actually be more detrimental to yourself as well as the people around you.

On a personal note, many of my friends are dealing with illness or bereavement in the family. They are struggling to cope with looking after sick or ageing relatives often far from home. In particular for parents, this can be a difficult time because their children still need them here, whilst their family abroad need them present too. This can be physically exhausting and emotionally heart- breaking for the ‘sandwich generation’. 

 

You are Not Alone

Sharing often brings a feeling of connectedness. Photo: Suhyeon Choi/Unsplash

When we keep our feelings to ourselves, we often lose perspective and start to believe we are the only ones feeling this way. When you are living away from family or long -term friends, it can be hard to know who you can talk to. If you are lucky, you’ve found a community of friends who can understand because often they have been through, or are going through, the same experiences. Reaching out can take a lot of courage but sharing often brings a feeling of connectedness and restores our faith that ‘this too will pass’. Reaching out can also bring valuable advice, assistance or just someone to listen to you. It is important to know you are not alone.

Finding a doctor who speaks your language and is empathic to your situation can really help. Why not ask a friend or colleague for a recommendation? People often have a lack of vitamin D during the long winter months, which does not help with fatigue, and this can be easily remedied. You can also contact the Kanner Jugend Telefon (KJT) who can signpost you to other organisations in Luxembourg who provide social and emotional support. The KJT launched their English online help service last year. The service is there to support parents, children and adolescents who want information, advice or just to be able to contact someone to discuss any problem, large or small. The service is anonymous and confidential. You can contact them through their website at www.kjt.lu. They can also provide support by telephone in Luxembourgish, German and French.

 

Be Kind to Yourself

Recognise that in this crazy world, we often feel needlessly guilty for taking time out to do the things we need to do for ourselves. Our diaries are full of activities and with data coming at us faster and faster, we sometimes forget to slow down.

Give yourself permission to spend time doing the things you used to love to do. Read a book, go for a walk (take off your FitBit) or have a ‘date night’ with your partner or a close friend. Give yourself time to breathe.

And remember, that to fly safely, you need to put on your oxygen mask before helping other people.

Kanner Jugend Telefon Announce a Conference on Cyberbully


Kanner Jugend Telefon (KJT) – Online Help for Parents, Children & Youths
are running a conference around Cyberbullying on Thursday January 26th at 7pm. During this event, KJT will also launch a cartoon post-card series. Each month they will publish one cartoon card presenting one of the topics of the children contacting their Online Help. The cartoon of the first postcard of the series is about cyberbullying.

Cyberbullying is an aggressive, intentional act carried out repeatedly over time by a group or individual using electronic forms of contact against a victim. Children and youngsters have to deal more and more with cyberbullying.

Among others, Prof. Dr. Steffgen will give information about:

  •  What is cyberbullying, exactly?
  •  How does it work?
  •  Consequences of cyberbullying
  •  Why do people cyberbully?
  •  Prevention and what parents need to know
  •  What can I do as a victim, as a friend, as a parent? How to take act on any concern?

KJT are looking forward to welcoming you to their conference taking place at:
20 rue de Contern in 5955 Itzig on Thursday 26 January 2017.
Start at 19:00 | End at 21:00

Please register by 20 January 2017 at contact@kjt.lu

Final-Passage-Logo_larger-background

 

 

Photo: Ben White/Unsplash

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Lynn Frank
Lynn Frank is co-founder of Passage, a a parent support group in Luxembourg. She has worked in the voluntary sector all her life and holds a Bachelor degree in Psychology and a Masters in Public Health Education & Promotion.

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