DCP EP. 95 Are We Safe For The Holidays? : Dr. Tyce Nadrich and Nyasha Chikowore

Transcribed by: Sydney Henriques-Payne

Completion date: December 19, 2021

DCP EP 95: Are we Safe for the Holidays? : Dr. Tyce Nadrich and Dr. Nyasha Chikowore 

Shana Pinnock: [00:00:00] Hey, Dear Culture fam. Before we get all the way into the show, we just want to give you a heads up that we’ll be discussing issues dealing with mental health and death. On today’s episode, we want to do all that we can to support our listeners. So if you or someone you know could use some help, we encourage you to contact the certified mental health professional. We’ll, of course, share some additional resources at the end of the show. Now, let’s get started. Welcome to Dear Culture, the podcast that gives you news you can trust for the culture, I’m your co-host Shana Pinnock social media director at The Grio. [00:00:30][30.4]

Gerren Keith Gaynor: [00:00:30] And I’m your co-host Gerren Keith Gaynor, managing editor of Politics and Washington Correspondent at The Grio. And this week we’re asking Dear Culture, how do we stay safe during the holidays? [00:00:42][11.5]

Shana Pinnock: [00:00:47] Yes, that is right. The holidays are here, and while we may be looking forward to much needed time off, you know, relaxing with family and friends. The truth is this time of year can sometimes be a little rough, from seasonal affective disorder to the stress of planning, shopping and dealing with that one family member that can work a nerve. The holidays can definitely take a toll. But this year you’ve got us on your side, and we’ve called in some experts to help us keep the holidays from being a holly jolly hot mess in just a little bit. We’ll talk with author and clinical psychologist Dr. Nyasha Chikowore and assistant professor of clinical mental health counseling at Molloy College, Dr. Tyson Nadrich who are mental health professionals. Let’s get to it. [00:01:29][42.0]

Gerren Keith Gaynor: [00:01:30] So, Shana, I usually have conflicting feelings around the holidays. Most people are joyful. They see the lights. I have to admit, I love seeing the lights. It makes me feel like excited about, you know, the new year coming. You know, I don’t really get excited about Christmas gifts and stuff like that, but I do enjoy the holidays generally. But because of, you know, the work that we do, I’m always thinking about all the work I have to get done before I go be with family for the holidays. And it just feels like a rush and not just rushing through work, but also getting gifts. And it starts to feel a bit cumbersome. It can also feel a bit performative. And so I want to ask you first, like how what do the holidays normally look like for you and how do you manage the stress of the holiday spirit? [00:02:23][52.9]

Shana Pinnock: [00:02:24] Oh, goodness. Well, well, first off the lights, I actually get stressed out watching people you know with all the lights, because now here I am trying to resist the African-American urge to be like, I know you’re light bill high. [00:02:36][11.5]

Gerren Keith Gaynor: [00:02:38] I saw that meme, by the way. [00:02:39][0.7]

Shana Pinnock: [00:02:41] But you know, it’s I know I’ve talked about this to, you know, as soon as it starts hitting like wintertime, just in general, you know, it’s getting dark at four o’clock here in New York City. Get me out of here, you know, but it’s in it. It’s dark, it’s it’s cold. It’s kind of just all around ridiculous. But then you add the holidays on to it. And I think I know for me, especially this year, it is incredibly stressful because I got this cross-country move that’s happening like literally a week before Christmas. And then so I’m moving into my apartment and then hopefully, if I can afford it, you know, being able to fly back to New York to spend Christmas with my parents and then flying back to Atlanta. And it’s just it’s so it’s so much that’s that’s literally all I can say it is. I don’t think I’ve been this stressed during the holiday season in years. Typically, it’s been more so like an emotional, stressful thing. It’s I typically I usually look forward to being able to hang out with family and friends. One thing I do know, and I mean, you and I, we’ve been at theGrio for years. So I mean, that week leading up to Christmas is always the most hectic time possible. Everybody, everybody is asking for all of your help on things. You got to answer all these questions. All of a sudden it just feels like. Good Lord. Like what? What are all of these things that I need to do? As a matter of fact, I just tweeted the other day like, “What is the professional way to respond to all of my bosses and all of my coworkers… that that includes you, G – I got nothing left to give you. It is. It is December. I got nothing. I got nothing. Please holler at me in the new year.” And honestly, it might not be until like, January 10th like I’m checked out. What about you? [00:04:41][120.1]

Gerren Keith Gaynor: [00:04:43] Yeah, I definitely. I definitely can relate. And you know, for me, I used to like really and I think I still do a really lean into being a worker bee because it distracts me from sometimes the sadness that does come around the holidays. I know for some people, the holidays can be a sad time. It can be depressing. You know, I lost my father. I know close friends who’ve lost family members this year, and they may be thinking about their loved ones a lot this year and sometimes thinking about being with family and being around the holidays reminds you of that loss. And you know, my dad’s been gone now for 10 years, and so I’ve grown to accept my the loss of my father, and I know that he’s still he’s still here with me, and so I don’t miss him in the same way that I used to. And it doesn’t bring the same sadness, but I know for many people that that wound is really fresh and which is why I’m really glad that we have today’s guests to talk about the holiday season and how we can cope and how we can create safe spaces. Dr. Nyasha Chikowore provides individual family and group therapy for individuals five and up. She utilizes cognitive behavioral therapy, interpersonal psychotherapy and multicultural counseling practices to support her clients. As a clinical psychologist or PsyD, she is passionate about work with the LGBTQ plus community and communities of color. She is also the author of the children’s book Giraffe Asks for Help, which promotes help seeking in children, and was inspired by her work as a therapist in Baltimore city schools. Dr. Nyasha welcome to Dear culture is a pleasure to have you [00:06:31][107.7]

Shana Pinnock: [00:06:31] and our other guests. Dr. Tyce Nadrich is an assistant professor of clinical mental health counseling at Molloy College. He earned his Ph.D. in counseling from Montclair State University and also holds a master’s in Education in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and B.A. in Psychology. Dr. Tyce is passionate toward providing clinical services for clients of color living with mental health struggles, and he also offers educational content and consultation services focused on multicultural and social justice practices, and conducts research on the mental health needs of people of color. Dr. Tyce, it is so good to have you here. [00:07:05][34.0]

Dr. Tyce Nadrich: [00:07:06] Thank you all for having me. [00:07:07][0.8]

Gerren Keith Gaynor: [00:07:07] Yes, thank you both for being here. [00:07:08][1.2]

Shana Pinnock: [00:07:09] Yes. So, Dr. Tyce, I’d love to start with you on this. You know, there’s a 2020 Forbes article that says Black Americans are more prone to holiday stress, and the National Alliance on Mental Health says one in five adults experience depression each year, and Black people are 20 percent more likely to experience serious mental health issues. I mean, given all the things of Blackness and all that entails, I’m not surprised. But I wanted to ask you, what are some of the factors that may make Black and other communities of color more prone to holiday stress? [00:07:43][34.0]

Dr. Tyce Nadrich: [00:07:45] Yeah, I appreciate that. When I think of what you’re sharing, I can’t help but not frame it through an intersectional lens. And that intersectional lens specifically refers to Black folks out our position ality within the system that we exist in, the system that is often oppressive, discriminatory and those intersectional experiences that are often missed within society. So when I think of Black folks specifically in the holidays, there’s all that stuff that preceded the holidays. There’s all of the the workplace discrimination on the street discrimination. But then there’s also this internal experience of navigating one’s own identity and trying to figure out who I am within this system that is sometimes harming me, sometimes attacking me. Often, most importantly, not validating me. So we bring that with us into the holidays, and we’re trying to reconcile that simultaneously with our roots, our culture, our folks, our people. And sometimes there’s conflict. You know, I feel like I’m in a good enough space to say this. Like, I can’t help but even think I’m going to quit it to myself for a moment is, you know, this idea that when you enter certain spaces outside of your outside of your community, outside of where you grew up, you know, and then you come back, there is this aspect of sometimes you’re being brand new, right? Like, you’re bringing this new attitude, you’re bringing this newness there, and it might not be something that’s tangible or visible to you. It might just be the identities that you hold. You know me. The two guests here today have letters after our names, and that connotes something, even if we’re not necessarily bringing those letters with us. So we’re trying to reconcile the version of ourselves that we are out in the world, which relates to workplace relationships released to society. And then we’re trying to reconcile the version of ourselves that we are at home. And to some degree, all people do this. But at times there’s incongruence between those versions of ourselves that we are across these spaces. And that’s an added level of stress of, you know, mental difficulty, things that, you know, I often do the things that we have to think about that other folks don’t have to think about. That said, there’s an added level of that when we’re coming back to our communities where there’s these historical value systems that are that are often cherished by us, but are sometimes incongruent with the spaces that we have to exist within. Outside of those homes. So I’m I’m stop there ’cause I be talking. [00:10:29][164.9]

Gerren Keith Gaynor: [00:10:30] Wow. Wow, I can. I think you’re absolutely. I think you hit the nail. You hit the nail so well because I’ve experienced that not only as an educated Black man working in Washington, D.C. and my family, most of my family’s in the south, but also being a queer person and like developing my identity here and sometimes feel like I have to kind of peel it back a bit when I’m. Home and I’ve made a lot of progress in that area, but I know a lot of people can relate to that, especially for those of us who fall in that intersection of being both Black and queer or other, whatever other that might be. But Dr. Nyasha, I want to kind of drill down on a bit of what Dr Tyce was talking about, which is relationships with our family and our loved ones. And while the holidays can be a joyful time, it can be a challenging time, especially when it comes to creating boundaries with our family members and loved ones. Sometimes I find it hard or difficult to change relationships that have been around for a long time. We’ve known our families, our families, our whole lives and sometimes coming seemingly after the fact to be like, No, I have boundaries. You can’t see that around me, or you can’t do that around me. How do we navigate creating new boundaries with already established relationships with our loved ones? [00:11:48][77.5]

Dr. Nyasha Chikowore: [00:11:49] Right? Yeah, that’s really difficult. And that’s something that I work a lot, especially now with a lot of my clients. It’s how do I go home and say, Hey, this is no longer OK? The name is you call me the nicknames or the topics that you bring up at the table. I’m not interested. And one thing that I’ve been talking about is prepping people. It’s usually easier to plan ahead and say, “Hey, let’s have this conversation before I come home” or, you know, “There’s something I want you to know about my life here. Let’s say in D.C. before I come back to South Carolina or Alabama or New York, because I want you to know how I feel, how this has made me feel in the past, and also what will be easier or what will make me feel better when we have these conversations.” I think it’s also useful to give our family examples of things that they can say, rather than letting people know what you can’t say to me. Because you know, some of our members, our family members can be defiant. People do enjoy conflict at times, and it’s better to give people choice. And here is how we can navigate this issue rather than “don’t do this. I don’t like it” because that creates defensiveness. [00:13:03][74.2]

Gerren Keith Gaynor: [00:13:05] Mm-Hmm. It’s good advice, [00:13:05][0.7]

Shana Pinnock: [00:13:07] that is very good advice. In other words, say, Yo Grandma, stop talking about your weight. It is the holidays your business. [00:13:14][7.6]

Dr. Nyasha Chikowore: [00:13:15] I mean, yeah, weight is a big thing. Um, even you know, when we talk about like me as a single Black woman where we are man it, it is just like, Well, you know, let’s let’s save time for my dating life outside of the dinner table outside of the congregation of the whole family, because I don’t want to be in the spotlight, but I’m going to tell you everything about my dating life on the side. And you can still get to know some things about me. But but really, it’s it’s letting your family members know like, I understand you’re worried about me. I understand that you care in your own special way. I understand, you know, you want to show that understanding so that you’re not villainizing, you’re a family member because it can come off that way when we are setting boundaries where people are like, Wait a minute, this is new. What did I do wrong? What’s going on? So you want to kind of ease into it? [00:14:08][52.2]

Dr. Tyce Nadrich: [00:14:08] I want to highlight something that she said, though, because I think this is so, so, so important that I think oftentimes we miss is we’re sometimes so focused on telling people what not to do that we don’t tell them what to do and we leave a void. If we say, “don’t say this,” folks might be left with, Well, what am I supposed to say? So I’m just highlighting what she said because I think of how important it is this is. We’re going to give folks something to do instead, not just leave a void because that’s that’s problematic, because now folks feel lost. You know, even if you think about child development and how we teach children stuff, we say, don’t do this and the kid is thinking, Well, what am I supposed to be doing instead? So we often when we talk about parenting and child development, we often say, Don’t tell kids not to do this. We say, do this instead, use your hands this way, things like that. So I just want to give credit where credit is due, because I think that’s such good advice. That’s something that I think we get lost in sometimes. [00:15:00][51.2]

Shana Pinnock: [00:15:01] So, you know, as we’re talking about the holidays and, you know, there’s a term called holiday blues, it’s funny enough. I think it’s so crazy. I think our our listeners in particular are so familiar with the whole idea of seasonal affective disorder. I know I personally get that like seasonal depression once it starts getting dark at four o’clock and it’s cold and I’m irritated with everyone. But actually, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, approximately 40 percent of adults are riddled with social anxiety around the holidays. Dr. Tyce, what are some common triggers for holiday blues and depression, and how might we be able to deal with them? [00:15:44][43.0]

Dr. Tyce Nadrich: [00:15:45] You know, I think of this two ways. And I think it depends on the person and even if we’re talking about helping. Professionals like myself and like the folks you have here today, there’s different ways of conceptualizing this, what I like to think of it in two different ways we can think about historically and ongoing what the holidays might mean for us. This is that baggage that we carry with us and then we can think about in terms of present how our identity is shaped within the holidays. So I think I’ll try to give examples of both of these things. You know, the former I have a a person that I care about deeply, who experienced trauma right around the holiday time just before November, notable significant trauma. So each year, that baggage kind of just gets a little bit heavier for them every year. Around that time when we have trauma, we live with that trauma. It’s part of who we are and we’re kind of renegotiating what it means to have that trauma with us. But at times that if that trauma happened at a certain time of the year, once those sights those smells, those feelings start to come back in the air. You know, we all kind of know what the holidays look like. Our neighborhoods are dressed up certain ways people are decorating their houses, certain ways certain smells start hitting the air. When certain folks start cooking things and and you know, there’s seasonal menus and stuff that we have to remember that our senses are deeply tied within our mind and our memories and our experiences and just the smell of something, the sight of something I want to emphasize the smell of things. Smell tends to be really connected to our memories that can bring us back to places even a little bit that can be quite unpleasant. And if those are tied with times of the years that have so much tradition attached to them, those traditions vary, obviously, by where you are, you might encounter those things every year over and over again. So I think that’s one way of thinking about it is what are we bringing with us from the past two years of understanding the holidays? And that might add additional stress. The other question is is what’s our identity in the holidays? Well, we often don’t think about how our identity shift throughout the holidays when we’re younger. Holidays are carefree and you’re receiving, receiving, receiving. And you know, we’re on a panel right now with all grown folks. And I think what we tend to learn when we’re grown is the holidays tend to be really stressful because we’re trying to give give give. And that’s an added burden and especially when we think about what your status is within your family, within your relationships. You know, we mentioned earlier, as I remember mentioned that being an educated Black man, that might mean something in your family about what you can provide to them, what you should be giving back to them. So so-and-so is educated, has a good job, might have money, so they should be given presents to someone so and so and so and so and so. And now these expectations of what it means to be us at the holidays are now adding additional stressors that are real and difficult to navigate because we’re trying to honor our family and those that we love, while also honor our own boundaries and our own mental health and our own wallets to some reason as well, because it’s expensive. So and then again, I want to don’t lose that intersectional piece because that’s all coupled with the things that Black folk are going through all day, every day. That stuff doesn’t go away, that stuff is still there. All of that is there. So it’s not like, you know, the holidays come in, you know, racism is gone. It’s not gone. It’s still it’s still there. And then we have this navigating identities, navigating history, trying to figure out who we are when it means to be in this place in our life at this time of the season. [00:19:27][222.1]

Gerren Keith Gaynor: [00:19:28] Yeah, thank you for sharing that Dr. Tyce. And, Dr. Nyasha, kind of sticking to this topic of like dealing with our mental health and things we might be going through at home. How do we share what we’re going through with our loved ones? How do we communicate what we need from them and how they can support us. [00:19:47][19.1]

Dr. Nyasha Chikowore: [00:19:48] And what’s definitely best to talk to people you feel, understand you and get you so that you don’t further, you know, even traumatized yourself or further feel that stress. So find your favorite family member, cousin, aunt, uncle or our parent and let them know again. I like the side conversation because we know when you talk in front of so many people, people get bits and pieces or they they have their own perspective on what’s going on. That may not be true to what you’re saying. So, you know, find that person, find a good place to talk about what you’re dealing with and also let them know, like we were talking about earlier, how they can support you, things that they can do, things that they can say that will be helpful. So I mean, it depends on the topic, of course, because there’s a myriad of topics that we may be sensitive about. But even if you have a cooking duty and you’re like, “Hey, I don’t feel up to cooking, can you help me or can we figure out who else can do this?” Because we know, you know, Black families if you cook something and then it doesn’t taste good. People are going to remember it every holiday… “Rememer Last Year” [00:20:53][65.5]

Shana Pinnock: [00:20:56] They gonna talk about you. [00:20:56][0.1]

Dr. Nyasha Chikowore: [00:20:58] Right. So, you know, whatever you need, supported don’t be afraid to say, “Hey, like, I’m not in a good place right now” because I often describe depression and mental illness, like having a cold. You’re not going to feel the same up to the same activities. You don’t have the same energy or the same wherewithal to do the things that you used to do. So you want to be like, Hey, you know, I can’t do this right now, but if you can support me or this is going to be hard for me this year because of X, Y and Z, which a lot of us are dealing with, either our favorite family member not being able to come because, you know, COVID or even some of our our family members not being here anymore because we’ve lost a lot of people in the past year or two. So just, you know, being vulnerable and letting people what’s really going on with you and like what we’ve been talking about, giving people that language that those ideas of how to support. And I think to you could also reach out to friends who are in different states or with their families, do a Facetime or you know, what I like to do with my friends is schedule a time to check in the group chat, you know, just to check in and see how everyone’s doing. And that can also go a long way too. [00:22:15][77.3]

Gerren Keith Gaynor: [00:22:16] Now say, I can’t help with the cooking. What I do is I cook, I help with washing the dishes because you don’t want me. You don’t want me in the kitchen. [00:22:23][6.5]

Dr. Nyasha Chikowore: [00:22:24] Well, you know your talent. [00:22:25][0.7]

Gerren Keith Gaynor: [00:22:26] All right. I know my talents, but I’m a serious no. Listen, you got it and you have to stay in your lane, I know cooking is not my forte. But I also know that I’m a good listener and just I’ve learned that in my family, I play the role of letting everyone kind of event and express themselves and let the and I just listen really well and communicate back to them what they are experiencing. And then just like on a love on them, you know, I might not understand what they’re going through, but the best thing we can do also is just listen to each other and just love on each other, even if we don’t see eye to eye. [00:22:58][31.7]

Shana Pinnock: [00:22:59] So I have a question for both of you, actually, but I want to kind of touch on and something that Dr. Nyasha said, because what I recognize is I am I am the person who is finds it very difficult to ask for help. I am my misery, does not love company. So if I am feeling, you know, a type of way, I’m like, Let me just stay over here in my corner. I don’t want to be a burden to anybody. I don’t want to, you know, then have to go through the whole emotional rigmarole of, let me explain what’s going on. And then I burst into tears and I feel weak. And I, you know, all of these things so well, OK. Well, I guess I got two questions for both of you. So for this one, it would be, what do you say or how do you encourage those people like myself who are like, I find it difficult to be that vulnerable to reach out to people and say, “Yo, like this? There’s something, there’s some real stuff going on with me emotionally, “ [00:23:54][55.4]

Dr. Nyasha Chikowore: [00:23:54] and if I could start Dr. Tyce. I like to tell my clients you are not a burden because I know for many of us who don’t who aren’t comfortable asking for help or don’t ask for help a lot, we feel like, Oh, what I’m dealing with is a lot and I don’t want to, you know, burden someone or put that on somebody. And I think there’s a popular meme that’s going around where you just ask someone, Do you have the capacity to listen to what I have going on right now or letting people know in a vulnerable way like I’m really struggling with something. I’m also struggling with being able to talk about it. And are you OK with me talking to you about it? I may ugly cry. I may have a moment. Is this a good time for me to do that with you? So I’m somewhat asking for permission and for that space that way, you don’t feel like you have been a burden to that person because they’re they’re offering consent. They’re like, Yes, you can do whatever you need to do, and I’ll be here. So I think that’s a good start. [00:24:55][60.5]

Dr. Tyce Nadrich: [00:24:56] Everything that she just said. I think another way to another, another add on to that would be as sometimes as we’re trying to figure out what it means for us to, you know, negotiate our own vulnerability with other people because it’s one thing to hold it inside of us. So, you know, we we find ways and patterns of doing that, and sometimes they’re healthy. Sometimes they’re not healthy about, you know, reconciling our own feelings and thoughts and emotions. And there’s a whole different process about putting that outward. So perhaps sometimes a good way of going about it is I’m going to lean on work on what she said a moment ago about asking for permission is asking for permission to not share what it is that’s bugging me, but to share what it is that I need in this moment. And I think it’s important to contextualize that because I think folks will often if you just say, Hey, here’s what I need and if it’s out of the normal people are going to be like “Whoa, whoa, whoa. What? Tell me more like, give me, give me the full scoop about what it is that’s bugging you.” But if we preface this by saying, “Hey, there’s something going on right now. I don’t want to talk about it. I don’t want to go there just yet. I think I will in the future. But right now, what I could use from you is this” that allows the person to feel some degree satiated, saying, “OK, they’ve shared with me that they’re they’re hurting and that they need help. And I’m going to hopefully figure out what that hurt is later. But I heard them then say they’re acknowledging my own curiosity. They’re acknowledging my… [00:26:21][85.3]

Shana Pinnock: [00:26:22] That’s my Parents… that’s my parents. [00:26:22][0.2]

Dr. Tyce Nadrich: [00:26:24] And they’re saying what they need. Like, Preface this it by saying, like, I’m not going to give you the whole scoop right now, but I am going to focus on what I need in this moment right now, and I’m hoping that you can meet that expectation. My hunch is, is that more often than not, folks are going to jump at that opportunity. So she because we gave them that thing to bite on that thing too. The thing to chew on to say, I’m going to get this later. They’re telling me that there’s more to this and I’m not going to get it right now. I’m going to get the rest of that later. But let me focus on what they’re saying. I need support. I can’t cook today. I can’t come out today. I’m not going to be as responsive when my phone calls are coming in,. [00:26:59][35.5]

Dr. Nyasha Chikowore: [00:27:00] Right, Not coming this year,. [00:27:01][0.4]

Dr. Tyce Nadrich: [00:27:01] Giving them that direct. “Here’s what I need” sometimes can really help and the rest of it will come later. Is only going to like, hold on to your acknowledging that something as wrong. [00:27:11][9.5]

Shana Pinnock: [00:27:14] OK, so my second question and so we had to we got to shift a little bit and this is what I guess I am being vulnerable with you all now because this is something that I actually really struggle with. You know, an unhealthy relationship with money can also be mentally unhealthy. I know that I’m over here. I’m between the middle of a move. I’ve, you know, there was COVID stuff and to make myself feel better, I was I was shopping. I’m over here repairing my credit right now because of this right now. And that’s it. And a study from American Express found that 86 percent over 86 percent of people overspent on holiday shopping in 2020. I know that was for me. It was I was I was one of the 86 percent way too much. But so I guess this is the question again for both of you is how can we manage expectations and set healthy boundaries around holiday shopping and spending? I know, like the supply chain issue right now is helping a whole lot of us like yo yo give this at the store. I got it, but I’m not coming with you is my coming this year. But yeah, but how can we, you know, manage those expectations and set those healthy boundaries? [00:28:31][77.3]

Dr. Nyasha Chikowore: Speaker 4: [00:28:32] Well, that’s a hard one, for sure. Well, I would like to take an example from office parties and doing, you know, the white elephant gift exchange. You know, we put we could put a cap on how much we’re spending. Okay, everyone’s going to do $15, right? We agree. Great. Um, obviously that’s difficult with family because you have varying ages and people would. Different needs, but I think that that’s a healthy family conversation to have, like what are we expecting this year? Because it’s been a lot. I mean, every year it’s tough to to meet financial expectations, but especially the last year or two with, you know, people are paying rent again, mortgages and what have gas? I mean, you know, we’re back on the road. So I thiare we expecting? What are our boundaries? Can we all agree on a number? And you know, the people with kids, what? What are we expecting? What do they need the most? Because is it that you know the little? Is it really something your kid needs? Or can we get a few outfits here and there for the next school year? You know, I mean, so I think it is just being open with, can we create a budget for the family because some of us maybe are living large and are wealthy, but a lot of us aren’t really. A lot of us are in right are in a different tax bracket right now. So I think that’s the best, the best way to deal with that. And also, you know, if there is a budget that is decided upon that, you still can’t meet. It’s okay to say no, it’s okay to shower people with love instead of gifts and let them know, you know, I care about you. A gift is coming sooner than later, but maybe not this year and also being comfortable with both being creative. Maybe I’ll make you something. I’ll get his T-shirt made. Get the whole family T-shirts that’s a little bit cheaper than buying people different things so that you’re still contributing something. [00:30:39][127.6]

Dr. Tyce Nadrich: [00:29:16] Yeah, I you know, I think everything that that my colleague here shared is great and these are all again, these are like objective behavioral event interventions that you can say, here’s what I’m going to do. Here’s I’m going to do it. And that’s really tangible, and that helps folks a lot. I’m going to lean a little bit of a different direction just to hopefully add some flavor to this in that I heard you kind of preface the question with stress. You talked about the stress of moving. You talked about the stress of COVID, the stress of life. And I think the question that I often would ask folks to look inward with is, Well, “what is this shopping? What is this splurging? It sounds like what purpose does it serve for you?” Because it sounds like it’s serving a purpose. It’s doing something for you. Many ways it sounds like you’re coping with something if you’re indulging on something and it’s giving you a feeling. But my hunch also is that it’s a short lived feeling in that it’s good— swipe. The bill comes a month later. OK, whatever was there, that it’s not there anymore. It’s cool now. Yeah, it’s gone. It was it was fun and that it lasted over. So I think the point there is is that when we start to explore what’s behind our behaviors, what’s behind, what we’re doing and why we’re doing it. I think that’s the question that the deeper question that I think that follows what what my colleague is sharing about those behavioral interventions or behavioral interventions are solid and they help you get a footing. But at times we can flip. So the question is is how do we take the behavioral piece? And now let’s integrate some introspection into why we were doing what we what we were doing. Maybe I’m spending this way because I feel compelled to because the identities that I hold in my family within among my community. Maybe I feel this way because I genuinely feel good after I swipe the card and get a bunch of stuff in the mail like that that helps me maybe find the deal excites me, right? Is that good for me? Is that good for me long term? Am I hurting myself in the distance by doing these types of behaviors? You know, short term that short term gratification leads to long term pain. And if that’s the case, we now have to figure out ways to process that form of coping, that form of of indulging. And what can we replace those behaviors with to still get that feel good because we’re looking for that feel good, right? That’s that swipe might feel good, that the package is coming in the mail. They feel good, the faces of our loved ones, when they receive that thing in the mail, the feel good. We’re going to try to replace that with something else. It doesn’t hurt us as much. It doesn’t hurt our wallet, doesn’t hurt our bank account, doesn’t hurt our credit. We need all that stuff. So how can we start to look at what these mean, what what purpose these behaviors serve for us, and then figure out new behaviors that can serve in similar ways, but healthier? I think the easiest, like the easiest equation I can show is we see patterns like this when it comes to fitness and health. You know, folks would sometimes overeat or indulge in eating because eating makes us feel good most of the time. Also, oftentimes after the fact, we don’t feel good, but the taste, the flavor, the smells, it makes us feel good. And then we see it’s not uncommon that folks will then take that same overeating, indulging in food and unhealthy foods, and they’ll equate to fitness now. So you’re doing it mentally. Similarly, a similar behavior you’re still indulging. You’re still diving all into something. But one has more immediate gratification, followed by a long term negative effects, while the other has immediate gratification that might be a little bit less intense, but way better long term effects. So we have to renegotiate our relationship with how we are indulging in ourselves. We were finding that coping, that satisfaction. And I think it’s a two stage process, and I think it goes perfectly aligned with what my colleague is saying. [00:33:17][240.7]

Gerren Keith Gaynor: [00:33:18] You better preach Dr. Tyce. I’ve done that introspection… I can absolutely relate. I’ve done that introspection. I’ve realized that for me, I’ve been trying to keep up with the Joneses, especially living here in D.C. and I had I just moved here and trying to get acclimated like Charlotte will tell you, I’ve been out here buying Gucci, and I got that credit card statement. [00:33:37][18.8]

Dr. Nyasha Chikowore: [00:33:38] Wow, good to know. [00:33:38][0.1]

Gerren Keith Gaynor: [00:33:38] My credit card statement said, you tried it, but I want to also, this is the last question for you both. And and this is why we’re I’m happy we have you both here on this episode because this demonstrates the importance of having a therapist and having someone with that professional expertise to help guide us through these many decision-making that we have to make, especially around the holidays. Well, unfortunately, we do know that some people don’t have access to health insurance and therefore don’t have access to a therapist. And for those of you who don’t have who have not yet tapped into the marketplace, I encourage you to do that and enroll before the end of the year. But my question to you is for those of… those of us who… who don’t have access to a mental health professional currently, what advice would you give to them on navigating the holiday blues? And what should folks go? Where should they go for additional resources? [00:34:37][58.6]

Dr. Nyasha Chikowore: [00:34:38] I mean, that’s always the topic, especially right now because therapy is expensive, and I like to acknowledge that as the person who gets paid a lot of the time, I do acknowledge that finding my own therapy has been difficult and I’ve looked at the price like, Oh, okay, but you know what we’re worth, but it is. It is difficult. Um, but I think one of the things that people can do, which we’ve been talking about this whole time, is leaning on friends and family community, which, you know, even though it is hard to ask for help, sometimes that’s the best way to get the support you need and be able to talk to friends and people that you find understand you. Another way to, especially during the holidays, is to keep up with those healthy routines. You know, if you work out all the time, keep working out. I know, you know, we want to take breaks and eat, but working out is actually helpful in terms of those chemicals in our brains that make us feel better. So keep that up. If you are someone into meditation, which I still struggle with but meditate, find those quiet moments to relax, you know, keep that heart rate down, keep the stress to a minimum. If isolation helps you bring that peace back to yourself, find moments to do that whenever you can, especially now. Because things start ramping up right before Christmas, we all get we feel under pressure, whether it’s at work to meet deliverables before we go on holiday or gearing up to be with the family. You just want to maintain, you know, that zen as much as you can. So those are my initial tips. What do you think that’s the case? [00:36:20][102.5]

Dr. Tyce Nadrich: [00:36:21] Well, I appreciate the internet of things like that. Yeah, I so I’m going to what I’m I’m sure two things. The first I’m going to share comes a little bit of a little asterisks. Next to it is, you know, the world that we live in right now has so much good content that is accessible to people that wasn’t there, you know, 15, 20 years ago. So finding community through online networks through, you know, and the Astros coming here, you know, good on like we have to vet these things because there’s a lot of toxic online networks, whether it’s YouTube or Reddit, there’s a lot of toxicity out there. But if we can invest in looking into good networks that are healthy, that are supportive. There are so many resources out there that weren’t there historically. Well, you know, mentioned meditation and things like that. Like, there’s guided meditations that you can engage with every day for free through YouTube, through podcasts, apps like. There’s so much there that we have to just choose to embrace, choose to act within, and what my colleague said about routine, it’s so important. It takes time to establish that routine. Know that that first week it might feel like a chore, but you have to keep going because the research has shown that once you get it, once you cross that threshold into it becoming a true routine, it doesn’t feel like work anymore. It’s just part of what you do. You all have morning routines and evening routines. To some degree. It’ll vary by person, obviously, but we all have stuff, and if we think about it, we may be sure where it came from. It just developed on its own. Inserting something new tends to be work. It tends to be a little bit of a labor until it isn’t. You know, I give this example of healthy eating when we first change that diet and we go from the process greens to the whole grains and you take that first scoop is just like it just says something’s wrong. All the sudden, it’s like, This is there. But then once you’re in it? Months later, you don’t even remember what the old one tastes like, then you’re enjoying it. That’s what we mean by a routine is you have to get over that hump of labor. The other thing that I often tell clients is, I think one of the biggest I’m doing air quotes for a secret. You know, a little semisecret is when it comes to finding counseling services. One of the places I recommend everyone go is look at look for a college campus. A lot of campuses have counseling centers for the community. They’re housed by and run by trainees, right? These are folks who are doing, you know, their doctoral training in accounting and psychology program, their master’s training in a clinical mental health counseling or programs like that. These are folks where you can get 20 30 dollar sessions, if not even less, sometimes free. Where these folks are training, they’re supervised. No, this I don’t want folks to get scared because this is a person who is not licensed yet who hasn’t graduated yet. They are supervised constantly. So looking for service supports like that through campuses might be a really good one. I know not everyone has a campus near them, so I get that it’s a limited resource. But looking at those campuses, you might find a really affordable resource for mental health care that’s very accessible, that’s easy on your wallet, and it tends to be really good quality. So I think it’s something that I don’t think a lot of folks know about that, but I wish they knew more of that. A lot of college campuses have these outpatient style counseling centers that often do a severe sliding scale of literally. Sometimes folks get to do it for free there. [00:40:00][218.9]

Gerren Keith Gaynor: [00:40:00] Thank you. Thank you. That’s actually very helpful. So I’m glad that you share that. And thank you both Dr. Tyce and Dr. Nyasha. I hope that this conversation was as grounding and informative as it was for me and Shana. And if you want to learn more about Dr. Nyasha, you can follow her on Instagram at Nyasha. M.C. That’s N y a s h a m c, and be sure to pick up her new book. Giraffe asks for help for the little ones in your life this holiday season, and you can also head over to the Clinical Mental Health Department at Molloy College to take one on Dr. Tyce’s courses or visit Psychology Today to learn more about his practice for additional mental health resources. You can also visit Black therapists Rock DOT com. [00:40:46][46.0]

Dr. Nyasha Chikowore: [00:40:56] We want to remind our listeners to support your local Black businesses and donate to your local organizations and religious institutions. The business that we will highlight this week is Semi-colon, Bookstore and gallery. Owned and operated by Danielle Mullin. Semicolon is a Chicago based, Black woman owned bookstore. Mullen says that her business is not only providing books, but a space for Black comfort. She launched the bookstore back in 2019 while she was battling cancer and receiving radiation, and now she is dedicated to fighting low literacy rates in Chicago and has sold nearly 50000 books online and in store to browse the curated collections and maybe order a book for someone on your holiday gift list. Head to Semi-colon Shai Gqom. That’s SEMI CO, L O N C H I dot com. theGrio has published a list of 50 plus Black businesses to support during the coronavirus pandemic. If you’d like your business to be featured. Email us at Info at the grio dot com that’s G R I O dot com. [00:41:55][59.4]

Gerren Keith Gaynor: [00:41:56] Thank you for listening to Dear Culture. If you like what you heard, please give us a five star review and subscribe to the show. Wherever you listen to your podcast and share it with everyone you know, [00:42:05][8.6]

Dr. Nyasha Chikowore: [00:42:05] and please email all questions, suggestions and compliments. We love those two podcasts at theGrio dot com. The Dear Culture podcast is brought to you by theGrio and co-produced by Taji Senior Sydney Henriques-Payne and Abdul-Quddas. [00:42:05][0.0]

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