Dear Culture

Are We Safe for the Holidays?: Dr. Tyce Nadrich and Dr. Nyasha Chikowore

Episode 95

Read the full transcript here

You good, fam? The holiday season is upon us and this week on the Dear Culture Podcast our hosts, theGrio Social Media Director Shana Pinnock and theGrio Managing Editor of Politics and Washington Correspondent Gerren Keith Gaynor talk staying emotionally, physically and financially safe, and licensed professionals offer us some tips on how to have a happy and healthy holiday.

Group of diverse people are gathering for christmas holiday

Dr. Tyce Nadrich, an assistant professor of clinical mental health counseling at Molloy College and says oftentimes we bring the stresses, woes and worries of the entire year into the holiday season with us and that can make it more difficult to reconnect with our families and loved ones. 

“When I think of Black folks specifically in the holidays, there’s all that stuff that preceded the holidays. There’s all of 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,” said Nadrich. “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.”

According to Dr. Nyasha Chikowore, who specializes in individual, family and group therapy, another holiday stressor includes the challenge of setting boundaries with family members. Although boundaries can be a sensitive topic, Dr. Chikowore says beginning the conversation before the trip home could help set the tone for the rest of the season. 

“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,’” said Chikowore.

“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. People do enjoy conflict at times, and it’s better to give people choice.”

In addition to the potential stress of gathering for the holidays, both of our guests agreed that this season in particular can be tough for those who may be celebrating without a loved one. Dr. Chikowore says letting others in and opening up about heartache you may be experiencing is one way to lighten the load. 

“I like the side conversation because we know when you talk in front of so many people, people get bits and pieces or they have their own perspective on what’s going on that may not be true to what you’re saying,” said Chikowore. “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.” 

Tune into Dear Culture to hear the entire insightful conversation including our guests’ tips on how to avoid overspending and more resources for folks who may not have access to licensed medical professionals. 

Stay safe and happy holidays, fam!