Vermont Family Programs aims to provide education, resources, and support through collaboration with federal, state, and local programs to ensure Service Members, families, Veterans, and the community are knowledgeable and resilient while promoting retention and mission readiness.

Now that the holidays are over, what do we do about the “blahs” that inevitably set in? After all the activities, family and social gatherings, the lights, decorations and Christmas Carols, we feel like we are at loose ends. Going from many activities and events to none is something we can change. Try scheduling small events like a dinner party, a movie night with friends or attending a concert or show. Also, now that we have snow, put on those snowshoes or go skiing and get those endorphins flying!

Resolve to try something new- a new hobby, take a vacation to a place you have never been or take a class in a subject you love. This is also a great time to volunteer-after the holidays. You may find that you get much, much more back than what you gave when volunteering. We all need to feel connected and volunteering is a great way for us to connect and counter the letdown of gatherings with family and friends that are abundant during the holidays.

There is a great deal of wisdom in learning to slow down, to consciously take the time for controlled breathing and meditation. This does not come naturally for most of us, but with practice, you will see the benefits of reducing your stress level and boosting your immune system. I often hear people say that they can’t concentrate, their minds always wander when they try to meditate or do breathing exercises. This is normal and why it is known as practicing meditation or controlled breathing. It is helpful to have a word or phrase to keep coming back to when you find your mind wanders. Over time, you may find your mind or concentration wandering far less.

If you feel you would like more assistance, do not hesitate to contact our mental health counselor- Charlene Caiano: charlene.a.caiano.ctr@ mail.mil, 802.338.3445 or 802.318.2417. Her services are free and confidential.

Be well, be gentle with yourself and face each day with gratitude.

Very Respectfully,
Dave Leonard

Lieutenant Colonel, USA (Ret)

State Family Program Director

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