How to beat the holiday blues

How to beat the holiday blues

UConn Health experts offer tips on overcoming stress and depressed moods associated with the winter holidays (Adobe Stock).

It’s that time of year again. Thanksgiving is around the corner, then Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and New Year’s.

The holiday pressure seems to be here already. Is your gift shopping done early (there may be supply chain shipping delays)? Is it safe yet to make holiday plans to get together with family or friends? And by the way, what are you doing for New Year’s Eve?

While joy and happy family times are often associated with this time of year, experts at UConn Health’s Department of Psychiatry say the holiday season may also usher in feelings of extra stress, anxiety, feelings of depression, and loneliness. Plus, cold weather and less daylight, along with the lingering COVID-19 pandemic’s isolation, isn’t helping.

“The annual idealized images of holiday celebrations presented in the outside world may not fit, or be realistic, for many people,” says Karen Steinberg, Ph.D., associate professor of psychiatry at UConn Health. “Also, holidays can be challenging because they may also herald sadness or grief about people who are no longer here, or other losses.”

Dr. Neha Jain, assistant professor of psychiatry and medical director of the Mood and Anxiety Disorders Program at UConn Health, agrees. She says that if holidays – whether specifically this year, or in general – are a challenging time, then it’s time to take action now to make a change.

“If holidays stir up difficult memories, try to create new positive memories to replace them,” suggests Jain. “Aim to come up with your own new, fun traditions.”

This holiday season, UConn Health psychiatry experts’ top recommendations include:

  1. Take action well in advance of the holidays to plan, keep stress low, or create new memories.
  2. Make time to examine your life and be grateful for both the small and big blessings.
  3. Remember you are not alone, in your feelings or daily challenges.
  4. Have compassion for both yourself and others.
  5. Identify negative emotions when they arise and work to transform them into positive ones.
  6. Stay connected to family and friends who bring you joy, and avoid things that don’t.
  7. Stay active and ensure you get enough daily exercise to help boost your mood.
  8. Get enough sunlight outdoors, or alternatively inside through your home’s windows.
  9. Make sure to rest and recharge yourself, too, as your body needs time to recuperate.
  10. Always make time to do what you love or what brings you fulfillment, whether that means exercise, a hobby, spending time with supportive people, or finding quiet time to meditate.

“It’s important to know you are not alone if you feel sad, anxious, or overwhelmed during or leading up to the holidays,” stresses Steinberg.

She adds: “Try to make a space for these feelings and have compassion for yourself with your own process. Help transform negative emotions by identifying and incorporating new helpful practices that can help, whether connecting with supportive people in your life, cultivating mindfulness or present-centered awareness, or using creativity or pleasurable hobbies that engage your imagination and broaden your perspective.”

And in addition to the possible holiday blues, beware of the winter blues — and make sure to plan ahead accordingly.

“Winter’s reduced sunlight makes things a lot more difficult and complicated when you add to that stress of the holiday season,” says Dr. Jayesh Kamath, professor of psychiatry and immunology at UConn School of Medicine and research director for the Mood and Anxiety Disorders Program at UConn Health. “There is a direct relationship between how much sunlight enters our eyes, changes in our brain chemistry, and circadian rhythm, or our internal biological clock. This is one of the primary ‘biological’ reasons for the so called ‘seasonal affective disorder,’ or SAD.”

Jain suggests: “To help your body and mind adjust to the shorter duration of sunlight, maximize your time out in the daylight if possible. When indoors, try to work next to a window or use a white light.”

And don’t forget to make time to find reasons for gratitude and celebrate them this holiday season.

“Celebrate the small and big moments of your own life by just taking a moment of appreciation,” says Jain.

(WKBN) – Norman Rockwell painted the ideal image of family over the holidays: multiple generations gathered at the table for dinner, all enjoying the comfort a family provides.

But that’s not the case for every family over the holidays. Some have to deal with estrangement and separation from their family members.

Dr. Sarah Momen is a psychiatrist for Trumbull Regional Medical Center. She said many factors lead to family estrangement.

“A lot of family dynamic problems, parent-child issues. Sometimes with the mentally ill, maybe substance abuse problems,” she said.

“There are always those people who just tend to be alone and don’t have a lot of people in their lives at this point, and I think they’re kind of forgotten about,” said Marcy Patton, executive director of the Columbiana County Mental Health and Recovery Services Board.

Patton said estrangement can cause feelings beyond loneliness — anxiety, depression and sadness, to name a few.

Patton said these feelings make people feel like they aren’t meeting traditional expectations.

“You should be happy; you should be enjoying this time, and then you start to judge yourself because you’re not feeling that way,” she said.

So what can those experiencing loneliness do to help get through the holidays?

“You don’t want to sit on social media all day comparing everyone else’s holidays with their families with yours if you’re struggling with isolation,” said Dr. Momen.

“Make realistic expectations. Don’t put too much on your plate. Plan ahead and kind of decide what you can realistically do,” Patton said.

Patton said it is important to find things that you do enjoy.

“Sometimes we get caught up in all of the pressure and the preparation for things that we miss the enjoyment of the season,” she said.

You can also help people who are estranged.

Patton says it doesn’t hurt to call someone who may be experiencing loneliness this holiday season. It may uplift their spirits.

The proof’s in the numbers: Atlantic City has bounced back in a big way. According to this report, the city’s nine casinos raked in $237.5 million of gambling revenue last month. But what makes the figure even more promising is it’s not just a sizable increase from October 2020 – it’s nearly 48% higher than what was generated in October 2019 before the pandemic.

And while the holiday season should be a time filled with joy and cheer, many of us instead can feel overwhelmed, overextended, and overworked. That’s when Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City enters the picture.

An easy drive from New York City, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C., the 17-acre resort on the legendary Atlantic City boardwalk offers far more than world-class gaming (120 table games, 2,250 modern slot machines, Sportsbook). In fact, Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City has something for everybody – whether you travel with good eating in mind, or want to kick back to live entertainment.

Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City

Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City

Though Atlantic City is obviously known for being a lively destination, Hard Rock encourages guests to chill out even further with a pulsing 24/7 playlist – when else could you eat a bagel to Led Zeppelin’s The Immigrant Song before 9:00 a.m. – and plenty of eye-catching music memorabilia on display, including a Topshop ensemble Beyoncé wore for New York Fashion Week and Elvis Presley’s 1963 Rolls Royce Phantom V.

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Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City

Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City

With over 15 food and beverage outlets ranging from casual to formal, guests are spoiled for choice. Standouts include Il Mulino New York – where heaps of complimentary antipasti await – and the newly-opened, seafood-centric Sandpiper Coastal Bar & Grill. Have a sweet tooth? You’ll flip for Sugar Factory’s infamous $99 King Kong Sundae. For something quick, head to White House Subs. An offshoot of the Atlantic City icon, this location whips up the same legendary White House Specials (Frank Sinatra’s favorite sandwich loaded with Italian cold cuts, provolone cheese, and chopped peppers) and cheesesteaks on Formica Bros. rolls.

Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City

Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City

Since rest and recovery are crucial after indulging and excess, book a session at Rock Spa & Salon. Encompassing a whopping 50,000 square feet with 31 treatment rooms, the renowned spa is in a class of its own. While the traditional facials and massages are no slouch, try a signature Rhythm & Motion treatment like the Synchronicity massage – where your therapist applies pressure in sync with the curated soundtrack for a wholly original experience.

Love live entertainment? You’re in luck, as Earth, Wind & Fire, Penn & Teller, and Marie Osmond are on December’s calendar. And to make staying at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City even more enticing this season, the resort is offering a special $2022 Double Platinum Package. Available through February (with dates bookable through June), it includes a two-night stay in a suite, two tickets to the show of your choice, a VIP Table for two at Lobby Bar, a $222 Dining Credit, a couples massage at Rock Spa & Salon, swag bags, and an ultra-exclusive private memorabilia tour for two.

How to beat the holiday bluesMGN

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) — The holidays are advertised as the happiest time of year, but that’s not the case for everyone. One Southern Colorado health coach says she sees an uptick in clients during this time of year, every year.

“We kind of dig into the why that is, and also how we can supplement your body,” says Nicholson. She describes functional medicine as getting to the root cause of health problems using natural remedies.

During the winter months, Nicholson says she sees several clients struggling with Seasonal Affective Disorder. Many know this as the “holiday blues.”

“If you look at the seasons, you think about spring as rebirth and renewal, while summertime is amazing sunshine, everyone’s alive and happy and joyous,” Nicholson says. “And then you get into fall and it gets to be more of a time for like, rest. Winter goes into hibernation.”

She says, like animals, humans hibernate. Nicholson says winter is the time people tend to stay in, move around less, reach for faster foods (such as processed), and sleep is out-of-order because of the lack of sunshine.

Because of this trend, Nicholson says it’s important to keep from falling into the slump of not taking care of ourselves the same way we would during sunnier seasons, like spring and summer.

Nicholson says most of her clients have a vitamin D deficiency. According to the Mayo Clinic, bodies naturally make vitamin D when skin is exposed to the sun. The nutrient is important to the immune, brain, and the nervous system.

“In reality, if you could just handle this throughout like, you know, make the right choices throughout each season of life, you can feel a lot better in your body and your mind,” Hannah says.

Some symptoms of seasonal affective disorder could be:

  • Feeling more tired than usual
  • Losing interest in things that used to bring you joy
  • Having trouble concentrating

Nicholson believes taking care of yourself during the fall and winter months comes down to three things: movement, proper nutrition, and adequate rest.

Stay connected this holiday season — for your happiness, your health and your retirement

Stay connected with others this holiday season, and make a plan to prevent social isolation in the coming year.

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Loneliness puts a damper on the holiday season, but it’s dangerous all year round.

Retirement tip of the week: Even if you can’t socialize much in person this year, aim to stay connected with friends and family — and make a plan to keep in touch with others even after the holiday decorations are put away.

People, especially those age 50 and older, who are socially isolated or feel lonely are at a higher risk of health issues, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Social isolation is linked with a 50% higher risk of dementia, and could be the cause of smoking and obesity. Loneliness was also linked to heart disease or stroke, and higher rates of depression, anxiety and suicide, the agency said.

The continuing pandemic has not made it easy for people to stave off loneliness. In March 2020, nearly everyone in the country was urged to stay home for months, with very little physical interaction except for necessary errands or trips to the doctor. In the year and a half since, many cities are still encouraging people to keep their distance or placing restrictions on establishments to limit the number of diners, shoppers or visitors.

For some individuals, it was an unexpected reminder of just how much it means to socialize with others, such as weekly family visits or just chatting with the cashier while he rings up groceries.

“I am hopeful that awareness sticks and people appreciate how important all of us are to each other,” Louise Hawkley, senior research scientist for NORC at the University of Chicago, said during a Columbia University Age Boom Academy, an annual seminar for journalists and experts held earlier this year with the theme of loneliness. The pandemic also brought to light other needs, such as sight, sound and smell, she said. “It’s all got to be part of the package.”

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Still, older Americans in particular face many challenges. For one, there’s a lack of institutions that foster connections and “value what they have to offer,” Linda Fried, director of the Robert N. Butler Columbia Aging Center, said during the Age Boom Academy.

Another is the connection between ageism and loneliness, Becca Levy, a professor of epidemiology at the Yale School of Public Health, said during the event.

But there are also ways to combat loneliness. People can volunteer for an organization that means something to them, or join social clubs with others who have similar interests (such as crocheting, golf or robotics).

Simply picking up the phone and calling a relative can be effective as well. Befriending neighbors can also do wonders. Create a plan to forestall loneliness, even if it takes a little extra work or seems unnecessary.

Technology can play a vital role, though it depends on how willing older Americans are to adopt it into their homes or its accessibility in assisted living facilities and nursing homes. The internet can’t replace offline connections, but it can foster deeper relationships or interactions and supplement in-person relationships.

During the pandemic, when families couldn’t visit their loved ones because of lockdowns, many centers were implementing video calls into their routines. Relatives have used Zoom and other video platforms to still get together, if even only virtually, for the holidays in the past year and a half.

“I am also hopeful that we might have a breakthrough here to re-recognize we need each other,” Fried said. “This is at the beating heart of being human.”

Want more actionable tips for your retirement savings journey? Read MarketWatch’s “Retirement Hacks” column

At this time of year most people have enjoyed at least a little time off work, so why are so many of us shuffling through office corridors with hangdog expressions, or moping about our desks looking as if we’d rather die than be here, at our jobs?

The post-holiday blues might not (yet) be a recognised syndrome but it is something that darkens the first few days after a break for many of us.

An adviser for beyondblue, Associate Professor Michael Baigent, says it’s no surprise that people find themselves feeling flat when their holidays are over.

”It’s a normal thing,” he says.

”In the holidays, people put into the day many, many more pleasurable activities than they would in routine days.

”So when you stop doing these things, people notice.

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”Routine days are filled with activities that are necessary, or part of day-to-day business, and while they can give you a sense of achievement, the amount of pleasure you get from these activities is not great.”

Don’t despair. The post-holiday blues won’t last until your next vacation.

They are most often just a period of adjustment while you reacquaint yourself with your day-to-day existence.

But until then there’s no need to feel resigned to a life that doesn’t make you happy.

FIND THINGS TO LOOK FORWARD TO

”I think most people get the blues because they live just for the holiday,” life coach Shannah Kennedy says.

”They make such a big deal of this holiday being the only thing they have got to look forward to.”

The answer, Kennedy says, lies in planning your weeks and months and incorporating other inspiring events and projects that will keep you excited.

”You need something, because you can’t just wait another year for the next holiday,” she says.

”Ideally, every time you come back from a holiday you have an opportunity to dump an old habit and have the energy to build in a new habit – a new way of thinking, a new skill, something you might want to learn or commit to – it doesn’t have to be anything big at all.”

Make a list of the things you enjoy doing and schedule them into your life, Baigent suggests.

”You mightn’t be able to lie on the beach reading a book but try to do some other enjoyable activities,” he says.

CHANGE YOUR THINKING

Try altering your attitude from the moment your holiday is over, Kennedy says: ”Start with a new approach as soon as you land at the airport,” she says. ”Think, I am really excited, I can change things. Ultimately you should come back from holidays with a full tank and be ready to go.

”We can tell ourselves, ‘Oh, we have to wait another year,’ or we can be excited. It’s about learning to focus on the positive.”

Incorporating one enjoyable activity into your week will go a long way towards alleviating any blues, she says. It can be a movie, a dinner date, a party or as simple as a soak in a nice, hot bath. ”But you have to drive that and make it happen.”

Some of us are more prone to feeling down after our holidays than others, Baigent says.

”It does come with a certain style of thinking,” he says. ”If your natural disposition is to think that things are going to go wrong and be hard, you are going to be one of the people who will feel more depressed [after your holiday]. At the same time, there are many people out there who are quite optimistic.”

It’s a matter of working out how to tweak your attitude, Kennedy says: ”It’s self-talk that we can change and then avoid the blues.”

LOOK AFTER YOURSELF

Holidays – especially those at Christmas and New Year – often involve a lot of partying and socialising, which inevitably means eating and drinking more than normal – usually more than is healthy.

A psychology lecturer from Southern Cross University, Dr James Donnelly, says getting back into a healthier routine will help to alleviate feelings of sadness.

”We sit around and eat and drink a lot during the holidays and physically become out of whack,” he says. ”So one of the key issues for maintaining mood is to get out and do something physical.”

Planning time for exercise is vital, even if it’s something as simple and easy to do as going for a walk, Donnelly says.

”Exercise actually induces changes in the brain that produce opiate-like endorphins, so when you exercise vigorously, even just for 15-20 minutes, three times a week, it bumps up your endorphins and gives you that sedated feeling of calm.

”And if you feel like you don’t have the time, consider that there’s good evidence to suggest those people who exercise have fewer days off work and are more productive.”

BEAT POST-HOLIDAY BLUES

Look after yourself Get enough sleep, eat well and drink in moderation. And exercise: “Even a short walk around the block can change our mood when we feel stuck or a bit post-holiday blue,” life coach Shannah Kennedy says.

Avoid the rut Take charge of your life to avoid falling back into the workaday rut, Kennedy says. “Get out of the passenger seat and into the driver’s seat.”

Book another holiday ”Even thinking about and planning things can give as much pleasure as doing them,” beyondblue adviser Michael Baigent says.

Have things to look forward to Planning and scheduling your weeks and months means you can incorporate activities you look forward to, Kennedy says. “Make your week or month inspiring. You put all that effort into dreaming about your holiday, put some effort into dreaming about your reality.”

Make a tribute to your holiday Whether it’s a photo book or photo board, playlist or travel diary, creating a visual or written tribute to your holiday will not only enable you to relive it but provide you with a concrete reminder of the wonderful time you had. The Lonely Planet Australia author Rose Mulready suggests subjecting friends and family to a good old-fashioned slide show.

Get outside You’ve probably been getting lots of fresh air if you’ve just been on holidays, so make sure you continue that by nipping out of the office at lunchtime.

IS IT DEPRESSION?

The post-holiday blues are usually transient, beyondblue adviser Michael Baigent says. ”Post-holiday blues won’t affect your functioning – you will still be sleeping, eating and concentrating,” he says.

”You will still see a future for yourself. If you have negative views about the future, or suicidal thoughts, and they go on for a long period of time, you need to see your GP.”

DON’T FORGET FIDO AND PUSS

Humans are not alone in suffering from post-holiday depression. Cats and dogs struggle to adjust when family members return to work and school, animal expert Maeve Moorcroft told London’s Daily Mirror. ”Pets are very sociable,” she says. ”When children return to school, pets may feel restless and anxious.”

To minimise their distress, Moorcroft advises leaving the radio on when animals are home alone and giving them a piece of clothing with their favourite human’s scent on it.

WILMINGTON, NC, December 15, 2021 /24-7PressRelease/ — In her bestselling book about stress, Invisible Stress, Sylvia LaFair discusses invisible stress, a silent type of stress that, for many of us, may lurk beneath the surface and influence our behavior, outside our awareness. This type of psychological stress becomes even more significant as we approach the Holiday season. Unfortunately, those stressors leading up to the Holidays have been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic. It is crucial for us to learn how to cope with Holiday stress and to manage our stress levels before we reach a stage of Holiday stress burnout.

There are many causes of Holiday stress. Simply preparing for the Holidays heightens our stress levels. We have to make decisions about whether or not we should attend Holiday gatherings or company parties. Is it safe to travel? Everything seems to urgently demand our attention. We don’t have enough time to get everything done. We don’t have enough money. We feel pressured to give gifts, and we feel pressure to “keep up” with others. We may have to deal with family drama or perhaps bad relationships. We feel coerced. We have to take time off work. We become acutely aware of those who have passed on and cannot be with us this year. Some of us even experience Seasonal Affectiveness Disorder.

Any one of these can take a damaging toll on our mental health. Sometimes the pressure can become unbearable, and we simply burn out. What is one to do?

Sylvia LaFair, in her best-selling book on stress, Invisible Stress, shows us how to practice what she calls “Safe Stress”. Invisible Stress shows readers how to:

• Discuss the fourth level, invisible stress, with information not available till now.
• Gain cutting-edge methods to tackle root causes of overwhelm and self-doubt.
• Acquire powerful yet simple ways to make stress work for you.
• Gather tips to build confidence and strengthen resilience during tough times.
• Learn how to adopt healthy daily behaviors to stay in the safe stress zone.
• Explore coping mechanisms to manage today’s accelerated rate of change.
• Master new leadership skills for less stress and a more harmonious life.

Readers and reviewers alike have praised ‘Invisible Stress.’ Andy Heppelle, Chief magic maker, accelerating sustainability, Capgemini said ‘New possibilities unleash when you are aware of the real cause of stress underneath the obvious.” Brenda Thompson, executive director, Gadsden, Schneider, and Woodward, LLP comments, ‘It is an essential part of the role of human resources to guide people to gain the clarity this book gives about how to handle stress.’ Mark Baylis, Founder of Valor Clinic, US Army Special Forces (Retired), said it “. . . should be required reading for the military.” Joanne LaMarca Mathisen, former network producer NBC Today, New York, said, “Invisible stress followed me around for decades. Once I understood it was always with me, and I carried it around like two dumbbells on my shoulders, I learned to make the right changes. I’m calmer now, and even better, more energetic.”

Author Sylvia Lafair is the CEO of Creative Energy Options Inc. (CEOinc), a firm that challenges the status quo of workplace relationships. A pioneer in leadership education and executive coaching her work has been transformational for individuals, teams, and entire organizations.

Over the past 30 years, she has searched for hidden emotional mechanisms at work in a typical office environment. The desire was to discover why people respond the way they do underneath traditional communication skills. This overlooked miscommunication is at the core of office politics, absenteeism, lawsuits, and poor productivity. This knowledge leads to meaningful changes for individuals and companies. The company’s Pattern Breakthrough process, not found in any other coaching or programs, enables them to prepare clients to transcend business frustrations to heightened productivity. The company continues to win awards for Pattern Breakthrough Coaching and Total Leadership Connections.

CEOptions offers several books, written by Sylvia, that address patterns for success, leadership, diversity, communication, collaboration, creativity, and many other topics. There is an online seminar series and advanced programs for stress proficiency, women leaders, and executives. Information on all the tools and solutions offered by CEOptions are on the website www.ceoptions.com.

Lafair is an innovative thought leader who has worked with McGraw-Hill, Avon, Google, Lockheed Martin, Merck, Microsoft, Novartis, and many other globally recognized companies. She has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Time, Huffington Post and Fortune.

Sylvia Lafair, an engaging storyteller, is available for media interviews and can be reached using the information below or by email at [email protected] . All her books are available at retail book outlets worldwide. More information is available at the company’s website at https://ceoptions.com.

About Sylvia Lafair:

Sylvia Lafair has been trailblazing new territories in her quest to find the best ways to work together effectively. Traveling throughout the world and learning from diverse cultures, she led groups to hike the Inca Trail into Machu Picchu, bungee jump in New Zealand, eat indiscernible stew in the Amazon, and sleep on reindeer skins at the Ice Hotel in Sweden. When she sits long enough, she writes, coaches, and leads seminars. Sylvia is the award-winning author of ‘Don’t Bring It To Work,’ ‘GUTSY: How Women Leaders Make Change’ and ‘UNIQUE: How Story Sparks Diversity, Inclusion, and Engagement.’

Sylvia was awarded as one of the top 25 Women in Business by the NEPA Business Journal and The National Association of Women Business Owners for her mentoring to help women move beyond pleasers to become truth-tellers. For the past nine years, she has been a top 30 global leadership guru, and is one of the top 200 global thought leaders for 2021.

Dr. Lafair offers a foundation of personal and professional exploration in every program, every book, every speech she gives. Her award-winning book, ‘Don’t Bring It to Work’ is one of the top 9 books for every boss to read. Sylvia retooled her skills as a noted psychologist to explore and chart how family patterns show up at work. She prepares leaders and teams to find the sweet spot of cooperation and productivity and make work a place of high learning with lessened stress.

Thank you for supporting our journalism. This article is available exclusively for our subscribers, who help fund our work at The Capital Gazette.

The buildup to Christmas is breathless and exhilarating, though once that long-anticipated holiday is here and gone, the letdown can bring on a lingering case of the blues. You have bought, wrapped, cooked, drank, sang and entertained. Then, from that crescendo, comes the crash.

Here some ways to shake off the holiday blues:

1. Give yourself a break from TV news, detaching from grisly virus updates and superspreader events and political wars and all that ugly stuff that makes us angry and sad. Turn instead to the Hallmark Channel, starting today, to catch their “Countdown to Christmas” specials and the winter follow-up programs.

Yes, Hallmark episodes can be cheesy. Yes, they are not the brain-sharpeners we need as we age. Yes, they all end the same way — with joy and smiles. Family conflicts are always resolved.

Here is a typical plot: Youngish woman returns to visit her small, mountainous, gorgeous, folksy hometown. Meets up with an old flame from high school. The star character visiting home is engaged to a smug guy in a suit who lives in a big city, where she now works and lives. The fiance drops by unexpectedly, often to swoop her back to the city.

Instead, he gets dumped because she chooses to stay in her hometown, to be with her family and her old flame, the high school prom date she never stopped loving, the one who got away.

Every show ends with a wedding, or a drop-down-on-the-knees plea — “Will you marry me?” — topped by a big, long kiss. My name is Iris Krasnow, and I am a Hallmark addict. You will be, too.

2. Ditch your cellphone. Most, if not all, of the people you care about the most are either staying with you or are coming and going during holiday week. OK. I know you will not ditch your cellphone entirely, nor will I. How about we all vow to only check it before breakfast, at 3 p.m., then right before we shut off the lights for bed?

Some tech studies estimate that Americans check their smartphones some 96 times a day. That is once every 10 minutes. The fleeting week or so we have with our families is certainly a better use of time than constantly looking at the tiny screen to see what people not as important as the ones in our home are saying in a meaningless text.

Add to this holiday no-TV news policy by ditching Facebook and Instagram, too. Let us live our lives instead of posting our lives. Why waste precious minutes — sometimes hours — scanning social media to observe our “friends” in their bathing suit poses in Martinique, or in rugged gear hiking Yosemite, while our families are shlumpy and laughing in sweats, and within our reach.

Let us savor our lovely living room vacations, finally together in real time, and not in a checkerboard of remote faces on Zoom. And those pretty posts of exotic vacations can also be a source of depression for those who wanted a tropical holiday retreat and could not afford one this year.

3. Say “no” to holiday parties that make you feel like, “I should go.” Go only where you want to go. It is perfectly acceptable to tell the truth and even bow out of the office bash your boss is throwing, explaining: “I am not comfortable to be in a big crowd right now,” and/or, “I want to spend that night with my family.” With the delta and omicron variants on the rise, it is more than acceptable to only say “yes” to the party you are throwing yourself, in a home that is warm and safe.

4. Know you are blessed. However tough these past two years have been, we are still here, basking in the lights and nearness of loved ones during what never fails to be “the most wonderful time of the year,” as Andy Williams sings.

The trick is to stay balanced, not too high, not too low. Disconnecting from technology that distracts us from precious moments with loved ones helps serve as that mood-equalizer, a soothing and consistent drumbeat for the season. This is the rhythm of love and normality that keeps us centered and steady.

As I write this, I await the arrival of four sons, two significant others, too much food, Trivial Pursuit. I am already wistful that our time together will be too short, so sweet and gone. At odd times during this family reunion, I will be socked with the blues, missing my long-gone parents, wishing that my kids and their mom were still young and heading off to the mall to see Santa.

The year that is passing has left us all depleted in large and small ways. Higher prices. We are still wearing masks. How many boosters will we need? States that traditionally have snow in December are now 60 degrees. Yet, let us cast those worries away, at least until the ball drops in Times Square, ushering us into 2022.

The Cobalt Rhythm Kings and Cafe Nine celebrate 25 years of blues.

The Cobalt Rhythm Kings / Contributed photo

Brother Joscephus & the Love Revolution takes its show to FTC StageOne on Friday. It’ll be an explosion of New Orleans party music, soul in the style of Ray Charles and Al Green, a good helping of jam-bandy roots rock with a splash of powerful upbeat gospel, without the religious overtones.

More than just live music, BroJo is a theatrical performance. They break out parasols, parade through the audience and have been known to throw out hundreds of Mardi Gras beads. When the parade starts grooving, few can stand still. Come for the party and leave a bead-covered convert.

Saturday, Christine Ohlman is at the Kathrine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center, with “Love Is In The Air: A Thanksgiving Celebration (and tradition) with special guests The Sin Sisters” and it’s also the Queen’s birthday weekend.

The Beehive Queen brings the love and the hip-shakin’ grit to the Kate stage to celebrate romance in all its swamp-ified glory. She’ll welcome the reunited Sin Sisters with special songs to seal the deal. Celebrate the holiday as Ohlman, Cliff Goodwin, Michael Colbath, Lorne Entress rock the Connecticut Shoreline.

Wednesday at Infinity Music Hall Norfolk, Gary Hoey starts the Christmas season with his Ho! Ho! Hoey Rockin Holiday Toursday. Whether he’s playing scorching originals or classic rock covers, his solos are reminiscent of Clapton or Stevie Ray in their fiery youth.

The Cobalt Rhythm Kings and Cafe Nine celebrate 25 years of New Haven-cured Cobalt Chicago blues on Sunday at 4 p.m. The band was born on a cold December night in 1996, 25 years ago, at Cafe Nine in New Haven, when the original four members were thrown together on stage as part of the old Cafe Nine Blues Jam.

Fronted for the past 22-plus years by native Chicagoans Wendell C. Jones on bass guitar and vocals and Mark Zaretsky, the only remaining original member, on harmonica and vocals, the Kings have been an enduring presence on the New Haven scene. They opened for the late Etta James and Son Seals on the New Haven Green, played for thousands of people high atop the Temple Street Garage before the city imploded the New Haven Coliseum, and opened shows for many blues stars. Not a lot of bands have that kind of staying power. It’s time to celebrate.

Dan Stevens’ acoustic blues tour on Friday lands at the Witchdoctor Brewing Company. Also on Friday, Wandering Roots Duo with Chris D’Amato and Shawn Taylor are at Note Kitchen & Bar, while Shufflebone is at Notch8. Crystal Bees has 19th Nervous Breakdown, a Rolling Stones Tribute.

Saturday, Kathy Thompson Band plays Bill’s Seafood and Ed Peabody and the Big Blue Thang play the Narragansett Cafe.

Daryl’s House has The The Band Band presenting a Last Waltz Celebration with TTBB Horns and Special Guests. These shows recapture the vibe that was unique to The Band. The Last Waltz, the legendary 1976 farewell concert by The Band, featured more than a dozen guest artists and showcased The Band’s classic hits. The group’s spectacular Last Waltz Celebration revisits that 1976 Thanksgiving evening that has become embedded in the history of music.

Saturday Daryl’s House has Brunch with Adam Falcon.

Say Darling and The Carleans perform Friday at The Knickerbocker Music Center. Say Darling is a lethal combination of all-star musicians from around New England. Whether it’s country, jazz, soul or blues, pop rock or juke swing, the band has done what every artist strives for.

  1. Former CT doctor pleads not guilty to murder in shooting death of truck driver along Vermont highway
  2. Snow, sleet, freezing rain headed for parts of CT, weather service says
  3. WFSB’s Galal first woman wearing a hijab to anchor news in Connecticut
  4. In city known for engine manufacturing, Middletown High aerospace class takes flight
  5. After 25 years, convicted CT killer’s parole hinges on trial transcript
  6. Yale stuns UConn on Jack Montague’s 3-pointer, 45-44
  7. CT to distribute 3 million COVID tests as positivity rate hits 10.7 percent

The Carleans are have a passion for storytelling and navigating the human experience, with a versatile sound that comes from the three piece rooted in Americana/folk music, but extends through country, pop, blues and Cajun.

Saturday Sugar Ray and the Bluetones take the stage at The Knickerbocker. Starting in 1977, Sugar Ray Norcia was working southern Rhode Island; while up in Boston, Ronnie Earl and bassist Mudcat Ward were searching for musical colleagues. Neil Gouvin made a suggestion that altered blues history, get his vocalist and harp player Sugar Ray into th picture.

Although the band enjoyed the four-piece sound, they wanted a larger band and the addition of a piano player. The blues musicians offered Anthony Geraci the position and he signed on. The band christened itself Sugar Ray & the Bluetones. They have had multiple personnel changes over the last 40 years but remain true to their blues roots- returning to The Knick and touring throughout the New England area.

Let’s Dance Wednesday at the Knickerbocker has Cherry Pie playing blues, swing, zydeco, rockabilly, and Latin.

Friday, The Falcon Main Stage has Brian Mitchell & Friends. Grammy-winner, funky keys-master and accordionist Mitchell joins with veteran session players for a set list of Nola-funk, rocksteady & roots, and Pete’s Saloon has the Gil Parris Band.

Saturday, The Falcon Main Stage has Scott Sharrard. GRAMMY nominee Sharrard is the newest member of the legendary band Little Feat. He had been the touring guitarist and music director for the Gregg Allman Band since 2008.

On Thursday, Bill Kirchen’s Honky Tonk Christmas is at The Turning Point Cafe, and Deadgrass & Friends explore the music of Jerry Garcia on the Falcon Main Stage.

And when you’re gift shopping, a good choice is to make it a Blues Christmas, with festival tickets or blues merchandise.

Hash Brown’s Annual Holiday Homecoming Jam is set for Sunday at the Pine Loft.

Domenic Forcella / Contributed photo

As we approach Christmas, the blues schedule slows down a bit — but there are plenty of shows out there to keep you busy and entertained.

Sunday, the Connecticut Blues Society presents Hash Brown’s Annual Holiday Homecoming Jam. The CTBS All-Stars will be backing featured guest Texas Blues great, Brian “Hash Brown” Calway.

Hash is originally from Connecticut, but has called Dallas home for many years, making a name for himself on both the Texas and national blues scenes. Showtime is from 1-5 p.m. at the Pine Loft. Musicians, bring your instruments. Amps, drums, keyboard and a PA are provided.

Hash Brown is at Theodores’ BBQ on Saturday.

Big Al Anderson continues his visit to the state Saturday with a stop at FTC StageOne. Anderson and the Floor Models have two Infinity Hall stops around FTC. Friday, he is in Hartford and Sunday in Norfolk.

CT Grateful Dead All-Stars are performing Thursday at the FTC The Warehouse. No other group like the Grateful Dead united so many strains of American music, from rock to blues to country to jazz to psychedelia, so comprehensively, so singularly, and for so long. Luckily, connecting with the Dead’s music has never been easier. A collection of local musicians with Matt McNulty up front, come together to celebrate the music of the Grateful Dead.

Sunday Park City Music Hall will have GA-20 with The Suitcase Junket. You can expect some heavy blues from this trio of Pat Faherty, Matthew Stubbs and Tim Carman. Born out of a mutual love of heavy traditional 50s-60s era blues, R&B and rock and roll.

Retro blues-wailers GA-20 was formed by Faherty and Stubbs (Charlie Musselwhite Band) after bonding over legendary artists. Now a trio featuring two lead guitars, vocals and drums the music is raw, passionate and honest.

On Saturday it is the Grand Opening of The Barn in Groton. The show will feature five bands: Kurt & Helen Band at noon, F & B Blues Band at 2 p.m.; The Night Shakers at 4 p.m.; Wooly Mammoth at 6 p.m.; and 5 Card Draw at 8 p.m. There will be provisions and food trucks on site.

Friday, O’Neill’s in Norwalk has The B-Side, and The Tipping Chair hosts Jamie’s Junk Show.

Friday, Eric Ducoff Band Plays The Stomping Ground.

Saturday, the Jonny Chapman Trio is at Notch 8. Also Dr. G and the Believers are at The Lyme Tavern on Saturday and Johnny & Carolyn Acoustic Duo play The Parrott Delaney Tavern.

Also Saturday, Elle Sera is at the StationHouse Wine Bar & Grill and Phoenix Tree plays Sugar Hollow Taproom.

The Club London has the Ratzo Blues Trio, while Ace & Friends are at Old Greenwich Social.

The Dan Stevens’ acoustic blues tour has a Sunday visit to High Nine Brewing.

Around the region, Ed Peabody and the Big Blue Thang have a Friday visit to Theodores’ BBQ and then Saturday they move over to Cady’s Tavern.

  1. Former CT doctor pleads not guilty to murder in shooting death of truck driver along Vermont highway
  2. Snow, sleet, freezing rain headed for parts of CT, weather service says
  3. WFSB’s Galal first woman wearing a hijab to anchor news in Connecticut
  4. In city known for engine manufacturing, Middletown High aerospace class takes flight
  5. After 25 years, convicted CT killer’s parole hinges on trial transcript
  6. Yale stuns UConn on Jack Montague’s 3-pointer, 45-44
  7. CT to distribute 3 million COVID tests as positivity rate hits 10.7 percent

Saturday, The New Incredible Amplifires play pre-game(6pm) at Springfield Thunderbirds; and the Stanhope House has a Christmas Bash with Billy Hector, joined by the Midnight Horns. Also on Saturday, the Brunch at Daryl’s House has Muddy Ruckus.

Friday, Daryl’s House brings in Donna The Buffalo. This is not just a band, but a lifestyle for its members and audiences. Since 1989, the roots rockers have played thousands of shows and countless festivals. They also toured with Ben & Jerry’s co-founder Ben Cohen to help raise awareness about increased corporate spending in politics. In 2016, GrassRoots Culture Camp was introduced in Trumansburg, New York as four days of music, art, dance and movement workshops, including nightly dinners and dances.

Friday, proper respect is given to the melodic masters in the iconic venue The Capitol Theater where they impacted the world forever. The Capitol Sessions: Songs from a Rock Palace That Impacted the World is headlined by two of the defining artists of the era: singer, songwriter, and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Jackson Browne and Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna guitarist and frontman Jorma Kaukonen. Amy Helm will also be there.

Wednesday, Holiday Party with /Sugar Ray, Sax Gordon and Johnny Blue Horn at the Pub on Park.

Into the gift giving season, remember the clubs and musicians who made it through the pandemic. Tickets also make a great holiday present. Tickets to the North Atlantic Blues Festival, July 16-17, make a nice gift. It’s held on the Public Landing in Rockland, Maine. There’s also the White Mountain Boogie N Blues in 2022.

Mike Law’s choice is another great Christmas record, Roomful of Christmas. Law says, “Not many blues singers can pull these songs off like Sugar Ray Norcia.”

If you have a reader on the gift list a new book “The Legendary Toad’s Place” has arrived.

Put Music Maker’s 2021 Holiday Gift Guide includes two caps with a happening new logo. Get one for yourself, and outfit all the cap wearers in your family with Music Maker gear.

Consider shopping your friendly neighborhood CAT HEAD Mississippi. Use the web store 24/7 at www.cathead.biz.

Stop by the new, updated website for the latest Alligator CDs, LPs, DVDs, blu-rays, books, T-shirts and more. The Alligator Records Christmas Collection is an original holiday blues album featuring 14 past and present members of the Alligator family, each giving their own bluesy take on the holiday season. Performances by Koko Taylor, Elvin Bishop, Saffire — The Uppity Blues Women, Charlie Musselwhite, and more were recorded exclusively for this album.

The Cobalt Rhythm Kings and Cafe Nine celebrate 25 years of blues.

The Cobalt Rhythm Kings / Contributed photo

Brother Joscephus & the Love Revolution takes its show to FTC StageOne on Friday. It’ll be an explosion of New Orleans party music, soul in the style of Ray Charles and Al Green, a good helping of jam-bandy roots rock with a splash of powerful upbeat gospel, without the religious overtones.

More than just live music, BroJo is a theatrical performance. They break out parasols, parade through the audience and have been known to throw out hundreds of Mardi Gras beads. When the parade starts grooving, few can stand still. Come for the party and leave a bead-covered convert.

Saturday, Christine Ohlman is at the Kathrine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center, with “Love Is In The Air: A Thanksgiving Celebration (and tradition) with special guests The Sin Sisters” and it’s also the Queen’s birthday weekend.

The Beehive Queen brings the love and the hip-shakin’ grit to the Kate stage to celebrate romance in all its swamp-ified glory. She’ll welcome the reunited Sin Sisters with special songs to seal the deal. Celebrate the holiday as Ohlman, Cliff Goodwin, Michael Colbath, Lorne Entress rock the Connecticut Shoreline.

Wednesday at Infinity Music Hall Norfolk, Gary Hoey starts the Christmas season with his Ho! Ho! Hoey Rockin Holiday Toursday. Whether he’s playing scorching originals or classic rock covers, his solos are reminiscent of Clapton or Stevie Ray in their fiery youth.

The Cobalt Rhythm Kings and Cafe Nine celebrate 25 years of New Haven-cured Cobalt Chicago blues on Sunday at 4 p.m. The band was born on a cold December night in 1996, 25 years ago, at Cafe Nine in New Haven, when the original four members were thrown together on stage as part of the old Cafe Nine Blues Jam.

Fronted for the past 22-plus years by native Chicagoans Wendell C. Jones on bass guitar and vocals and Mark Zaretsky, the only remaining original member, on harmonica and vocals, the Kings have been an enduring presence on the New Haven scene. They opened for the late Etta James and Son Seals on the New Haven Green, played for thousands of people high atop the Temple Street Garage before the city imploded the New Haven Coliseum, and opened shows for many blues stars. Not a lot of bands have that kind of staying power. It’s time to celebrate.

Dan Stevens’ acoustic blues tour on Friday lands at the Witchdoctor Brewing Company. Also on Friday, Wandering Roots Duo with Chris D’Amato and Shawn Taylor are at Note Kitchen & Bar, while Shufflebone is at Notch8. Crystal Bees has 19th Nervous Breakdown, a Rolling Stones Tribute.

Saturday, Kathy Thompson Band plays Bill’s Seafood and Ed Peabody and the Big Blue Thang play the Narragansett Cafe.

Daryl’s House has The The Band Band presenting a Last Waltz Celebration with TTBB Horns and Special Guests. These shows recapture the vibe that was unique to The Band. The Last Waltz, the legendary 1976 farewell concert by The Band, featured more than a dozen guest artists and showcased The Band’s classic hits. The group’s spectacular Last Waltz Celebration revisits that 1976 Thanksgiving evening that has become embedded in the history of music.

Saturday Daryl’s House has Brunch with Adam Falcon.

Say Darling and The Carleans perform Friday at The Knickerbocker Music Center. Say Darling is a lethal combination of all-star musicians from around New England. Whether it’s country, jazz, soul or blues, pop rock or juke swing, the band has done what every artist strives for.

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The Carleans are have a passion for storytelling and navigating the human experience, with a versatile sound that comes from the three piece rooted in Americana/folk music, but extends through country, pop, blues and Cajun.

Saturday Sugar Ray and the Bluetones take the stage at The Knickerbocker. Starting in 1977, Sugar Ray Norcia was working southern Rhode Island; while up in Boston, Ronnie Earl and bassist Mudcat Ward were searching for musical colleagues. Neil Gouvin made a suggestion that altered blues history, get his vocalist and harp player Sugar Ray into th picture.

Although the band enjoyed the four-piece sound, they wanted a larger band and the addition of a piano player. The blues musicians offered Anthony Geraci the position and he signed on. The band christened itself Sugar Ray & the Bluetones. They have had multiple personnel changes over the last 40 years but remain true to their blues roots- returning to The Knick and touring throughout the New England area.

Let’s Dance Wednesday at the Knickerbocker has Cherry Pie playing blues, swing, zydeco, rockabilly, and Latin.

Friday, The Falcon Main Stage has Brian Mitchell & Friends. Grammy-winner, funky keys-master and accordionist Mitchell joins with veteran session players for a set list of Nola-funk, rocksteady & roots, and Pete’s Saloon has the Gil Parris Band.

Saturday, The Falcon Main Stage has Scott Sharrard. GRAMMY nominee Sharrard is the newest member of the legendary band Little Feat. He had been the touring guitarist and music director for the Gregg Allman Band since 2008.

On Thursday, Bill Kirchen’s Honky Tonk Christmas is at The Turning Point Cafe, and Deadgrass & Friends explore the music of Jerry Garcia on the Falcon Main Stage.

And when you’re gift shopping, a good choice is to make it a Blues Christmas, with festival tickets or blues merchandise.

How to beat the holiday blues

Alex Nedeljkovic made 35 saves to lead the Detroit Red Wings to a 4-2 home win over the St. Louis Blues on Wednesday.

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Lucas Raymond, Dylan Larkin, Adam Erne and Robby Fabbri scored for the Red Wings (9-9-3), who snapped a four-game losing streak.

Alex Nedeljkovic makes 35 saves as Wings beat Blues, 4-2 Back to video

Pavel Buchnevich and David Perron scored for St. Louis (10-7-2).

The Blues got on the board first with 9:49 remaining in the first period on a goal by Buchnevich.

With the Blues on a power play, Jordan Kyrou fed a pass from behind the net to Buchnevich, who fired home a shot from the slot that beat Nedeljkovic to the glove side to make it 1-0 St. Louis.

The lead didn’t last long, as Detroit tied the game 3:37 later on a goal by Raymond with 6:12 remaining in the first period.

Tyler Bertuzzi fed a pass near center ice into the St. Louis zone to Raymond, who streaked in all alone on St. Louis goalie Ville Husso and beat him between the legs to tie the game at 1-1.

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The score remained that way until there was 12:15 remaining in the second period, when Larkin gave the Red Wings a 2-1 lead.

Larkin took a poor clearing attempt on the backhand by Blues defenseman Marco Scandella and fired the puck past Husso from point-blank range.

Detroit took a lead into the third period despite registering only three shots on goal in the second period.

Early in the third period, St. Louis tied the game at 2-2 on a goal by Perron.

With 18:49 left in the game, Perron beat Nedeljkovic on a bad angle to the side of the goal.

Detroit responded, taking a 3-2 lead with 15:22 remaining on a goal by Erne, who snapped a shot from above the face-off circles through a screen and into the net.

The score remained that way until Fabbri scored an empty-net goal to give Detroit a 4-2 lead with 1:15 left.

–Field Level Media

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Alex Nedeljkovic made 35 saves to lead the Detroit Red Wings to a 4-2 home win over the St. Louis Blues on Wednesday.

Lucas Raymond, Dylan Larkin, Adam Erne and Robby Fabbri scored for the Red Wings (9-9-3), who snapped a four-game losing streak.

Alex Nedeljkovic makes 35 saves as Wings beat Blues, 4-2 Back to video

Pavel Buchnevich and David Perron scored for St. Louis (10-7-2).

The Blues got on the board first with 9:49 remaining in the first period on a goal by Buchnevich.

With the Blues on a power play, Jordan Kyrou fed a pass from behind the net to Buchnevich, who fired home a shot from the slot that beat Nedeljkovic to the glove side to make it 1-0 St. Louis.

Advertisement

Article content

The lead didn’t last long, as Detroit tied the game 3:37 later on a goal by Raymond with 6:12 remaining in the first period.

Tyler Bertuzzi fed a pass near center ice into the St. Louis zone to Raymond, who streaked in all alone on St. Louis goalie Ville Husso and beat him between the legs to tie the game at 1-1.

The score remained that way until there was 12:15 remaining in the second period, when Larkin gave the Red Wings a 2-1 lead.

Larkin took a poor clearing attempt on the backhand by Blues defenseman Marco Scandella and fired the puck past Husso from point-blank range.

Detroit took a lead into the third period despite registering only three shots on goal in the second period.

Early in the third period, St. Louis tied the game at 2-2 on a goal by Perron.

With 18:49 left in the game, Perron beat Nedeljkovic on a bad angle to the side of the goal.

Detroit responded, taking a 3-2 lead with 15:22 remaining on a goal by Erne, who snapped a shot from above the face-off circles through a screen and into the net.

The score remained that way until Fabbri scored an empty-net goal to give Detroit a 4-2 lead with 1:15 left.

The Weight Band is performing at The Warehouse at FTC on Friday.

The Weight Band / Contributed photo

As we enter the giving season, it’s a a great time to support the blues, and the clubs that weathered the pandemic and are back hosting shows. Another way is to visit your favorite blues artist and purchase some merchandise. Many of the regional festivals also have tickets ready for gifts.

The Weight Band, composed of members of legendary roots rock act The Band and members of the Levon Helm Band are performing at The Warehouse at FTC on Friday. The Weight Band released their first original album, “World Gone Mad” in 2018 and are headed to the area.

The Weight Band is led by Jim Weider, a 15-year former member of The Band and the Levon Helm Band. Weider, on guitar, mandolin & vocals, a member of The Band. From 1985 to 2000, replaced Robbie Robertson as the lead guitarist, writing songs and performing on three studio albums. He toured internationally with original Band members Levon Helm, Garth Hudson, and Rick Danko and was featured with them on numerous albums, films, videos, and in television appearances.

The Weight Band originated in 2013 inside the famed Woodstock barn of Levon Helm. Weider was inspired by Helm to carry on the musical legacy of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame group. Years of touring have seen The Weight Band revive “The Woodstock Sound,” keeping the spirit of Americana/Roots Rock alive for audiences of all ages. They continue to keep the sound vibrant by releasing new music, evidenced by the album World Gone Mad. Their live set features Weight Band songs from the new album as well as fan favorites from The Band’s treasured catalog.

The Weight Band includes Brian Mitchell (The Levon Helm Band), Michael Bram (Jason Mraz), Connecticut’s Matt Zeiner (Dickey Betts Band), and Albert Rogers (The Jim Weider Band). With a US and international tour schedule, The Band’s timeless legacy while pushing the music forward for new audiences.

Sunday at 4 p.m., Christine Ohlman rocks Cafe Nine for “The Sunday Buzz Matinee from Cygnus Radio,” its the 9th Annual Beehive Holiday Blowout. Get ready to rock around a very glittery Beehive Christmas tree as they serve up a super-festive holiday show. Grab an extra helping of post-pandemic festive spirit and get down with the Queen. The Sunday Buzz Matinee is always a cool time, so let’s unleash the December holiday hip-shake.

On Thursday, Infinity Hall Hartford brings in Big Al Anderson, a Connecticut and National treasure. There also will be a Beehive Queen sighting as Christine Ohlman joins the festivities.

There will be plenty of chances as he follows this show again Dec. 17 in Hartford, then on Dec. 19 in Norfolk.

How to beat the holiday blues

This holiday season, the Grande Prairie Public Library (GPPL) is hosting a number of uplifting and fun events to round out the year.

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For those in a giving mood, there will be a couple of ways people can donate through the library to people who need it most.

The library has a number of programs to help beat the winter blues Back to video

GPPL’s Giving Tree, is currently accepting donations to support The Little Free Pantry and the Bandaged Paws Rescue Association.

The Little Free Pantry is a new program put on by the library this year that supplements the less fortunate with a snack, or essential items, to help them get through the day.

“It is not meant to replace the food hampers, the soup kitchen, or the food bank in any way shape or form,” said Deb Cryderman director of the Grande Prairie Public Library, “It’s just a snack for people to get through the day.”

If people don’t want to give money, The Little Free Pantry also accepts donations in the form of hats, toques, mittens, socks, diapers, lotions and feminine hygiene products.

The other Giving Tree initiative this year is supporting the Bandaged Paws Rescue Association. Donors are asked to bring donations of durable dog toys, chicken-free dog food, litter, kitten kibble, bleach, dish soap and laundry detergent.

For those who are into competitive baking challenges, GPPL is also hosting their second annual Holiday Bake-It challenge. Competitors are asked to film themselves baking their favourite holiday-themed recipe, which will need to be submitted to the library in MP4 format before Dec. 17.

There are three age categories, and winners of each age category will take home a KitchenAid mixer. The videos will also be featured on the library’s YouTube channel.

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Contest rules for the Holiday Bake-It Challenge can be found at: https://www.gppl.ca/Events-Contests/Holiday-Bake-It-Challenge

The library is also running a number of family-friendly activities over the holiday season.

The library will also be hosting Stories by the Fire Dec. 16, 20 and 21 for children of all ages, and the library will be giving away free children’s books and Christmas craft kits while supplies last.

“It’s a half-hour of story time in the evening, in the dark,” said Cryderman, “Calm your kids down, then take them home and pop them into bed.”

If you want to get crafty, the library will also have Take-and-Make Gnome Kits, which will be available Dec. 8. with step-by-step instructions while supplies last.

GPPL also has Story in a Bag, which is meant to bring the convenience of the library’s programs home. Story in a Bag is for ages two and up, and you must reserve a bag in advance on the library’s website.

“It’ll be everything that you would get if you came to the library to attend a program,” said Cryderman.

Finally, GPPL’s Library of Things has a wide array of items perfect for anyone who wants to try something new this holiday season, or simply needs to use an item a few of times without having to buy it.

GPPL’s Library of Things contains a variety of items such as kettlebells, happy lights, snowshoes, a telescope, a microscope, a sewing machine, a digital film scanner, giant Jenga, a disco ball, a fog machine, and much more.

According to Cryderman, the library is often taking donations and sometimes they’re interested in taking items for donation that people don’t normally think of as something that can be donated.

“A lot of things people think, this belongs in the garbage or they don’t think of the library,” said Cryderman.

Folks are encouraged to check out GPPL’s website for more information. Cryderman also says the library is accepting donations this holiday season to help the library’s operational budget. She says that all donations of $10 or more will get a tax receipt.

How to beat the holiday blues

While Colorado is known for its 300 days of sunshine, winter months can make those sunny days shorter and less frequent. For some, this seasonal shift can impact our mood, energy and outlook. Here are some tips to help you beat the winter blues.

#1 Watch for signs of seasonal affective disorder

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a pattern of depression that most commonly affects people during winter months. SAD often happens as a result of the fall time change, shortened daylight hours and impacts to our routines or sleep schedules.

Symptoms of SAD include:

  • Low energy
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Irritability
  • Changes in sleep
  • Changes in weight
  • Changes in appetite
  • Depressed mood
  • Withdrawing socially
  • Thoughts of suicide

#2 Lean into your relationships

Social support is important, whether you’re experiencing SAD or just feeling down.

While you may not feel like you have the energy or motivation to socialize, catching up with friends, roommates or family members can help improve your mood and energy levels. Try to make plans or schedule events that you can look forward to.

More importantly, try to avoid the urge to cancel plans at the last minute. Reaching out to trusted friends or family to let them know how you’re doing or asking for an occasional check-in with each other can help.

#3 Move your body

Oftentimes, when we think of movement, we automatically associate it with a sweat-inducing workout at the gym. However, movement can take a number of forms, and there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. Focusing on activities that make us feel good can help relieve stress, boost our mood and give us more energy.

Try to set consistent and realistic goals for yourself each week during winter months. For instance, you may commit to going on a 10-minute walk during the day, attending one fitness class per week or planning a short hike with friends on the weekends. If you need extra motivation, invite a friend or roommate to join you. Having a workout buddy can help make it easier to stick with your goals and make physical activity more enjoyable.

If you’re not sure where to start, check out this physical activity interest worksheet to figure out what activities might be most enjoyable for you.

#4 Get outside

While it may be cooler outside, winter is a great time to enjoy the outdoors. Even if you’re not a skier, there are plenty of activities to keep you busy outside during the winter months. Here are a few to try:

How to beat the holiday blues

Snowshoeing

If you enjoy hiking in the summer, snowshoeing is a great option to enjoy your favorite trails all year round.

How to beat the holiday blues

Sledding

When’s the last time you went sledding? Take this opportunity to enjoy a childhood favorite by visiting sledding hills nearby.

How to beat the holiday blues

Regional attractions

Outdoor attractions like the zoo and botanic gardens are open throughout the winter. Plan a visit to enjoy a stroll around your favorite spot and catch some holiday light displays.

How to beat the holiday blues

Build a snowman

While it may look like child’s play, building a snowman can be a great workout in the winter. Invite friends or family members to help you build your own creation after a wet snowfall.

How to beat the holiday blues

Stargazing

Missed the daylight? Bundle up with cocoa and blankets for a night of stargazing around Boulder.

#5 Set your own pace

Between finals and the holiday rush, winter months may feel like a time to speed up and do more. However, for many of us, our bodies might actually need the opposite. Listen to your body and go at your own pace this season. If socializing gives you energy, build that into your schedule or routine. If alone time is more your speed, focus on activities that can help you relax, reflect and feel rejuvenated.

#6 Focus on self-care

It can be challenging to think of self-care ideas in the moment. Help yourself prepare for stress by creating a list of go-to self-care activities. Here are a few ideas you can try:

How to beat the holiday blues

WINNIPEG, Manitoba (AP) — Linemates Nikolaj Ehlers, Mark Scheifele and Paul Stastny accounted for all the goals and the Winnipeg Jets beat the St. Louis Blues 4-2 on Sunday to give interim head coach Dave Lowry his first victory.

Stastny scored twice and added an assist, Ehlers had a goal and three assists, and Scheifele had a goal and assist to help the Jets end a three-game winless streak and improve to 14-11-5.

Connor Hellebuyck made 26 saves for Winnipeg, the only Canadian team playing Sunday because of COVID-19 postponements for Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver.

It was the second game behind the bench for Lowry. He took over for the rest of the season after Paul Maurice resigned Friday.

Vladimir Tarasenko and Niko Mikkola scored for St. Louis, and Jordan Binnington stopped 30 shots. The Blues had a seven-game points streak end.

The game was the last for a while for Winnipeg and St. Louis, after the NHL announced Sunday that teams can’t cross the border to play starting Monday through the beginning of the holiday break because of rising COVID-19 cases. Games will be postponed and rescheduled.

Winnipeg’s Tuesday game in Nashville had already been postponed, but now a Dallas contest the next day follows suit. St. Louis now won’t be playing in Ottawa on Tuesday or Toronto on Thursday.

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Pavel Buchnevich and Ivan Barbashev each scored twice and the St. Louis Blues beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 6-3 Saturday night.

Justin Faulk and Jordan Kyrou also scored, and Vladimir Tarasenko added three assists as St. Louis won for the third time in 10 games. Ville Husso made 24 saves for his third win in four starts.

“We had conversations with players and with Chief (Berube),” St. Louis winger Vladimir Tarasenko said of Blues coach Craig Berube’s first intermission pep talk. “ We can’t start like this, especially at home. Last few games, like, we lose one, win one. We should be more consistent. And that’s what we were talking about.”

“Well, we needed something,” Berube said of his speech “In the first period, we got clearly outskated in the period. Coming out, this game at home, we can’t start like that.”

Adam Boqvist scored twice and Boone Jenner also had a goal for the Blue Jackets, who had their three-game winning streak halted.

“If we’re going to win against St. Louis, we’ve got to play better overall for 60 minutes,” Boqvist said. “I think this was one of the worst games of the year for us.”

Joonas Korpisalo stopped 27 of 33 shots and lost for the fourth time in seven starts this season.

After Jenner scored his 10th goal of the season on a power play with 7:22 remaining in the first period, St. Louis then scored three goals in the second period.

Buchnevich tied the game 1-1 when he pushed a cross-crease feed from Vladimir Tarasenko past Korpisalo 58 seconds into the second. Less than a minute later, Barbashev tapped in the rebound of a shot by Oskar Sundqvist to put St. Louis up 2-1.

Kyrou netted his team-leading ninth goal of the season with 6:48 remaining in the second period to increase the St. Louis lead to 3-1.

“We’ve been having a tough time the last couple games,” Barbashev said. “I think it was time to turn around things and play simple, hard, and that’s what we did in the second, and it looks like the game turned around.”

Boqvist scored his third goal of the season in the third period with three seconds remaining on an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Justin Faulk to narrow its deficit to 3-2.

Faulk answered by scoring his fourth goal of the season 5:42 in the third, putting St. Louis up 4-2.

“They’re a good hockey team,” Blue Jackets coach Brad Larsen said of St. Louis. “They’re a big, heavy team, and they got rolling there, and we didn’t have an answer for them. Then we made some bad mistakes, and it cost us. Got 4-2, 5-2 and that was it.”

Buchnevich scored his eighth of the season, and Barbashev his seventh in the third period to add insurance.

Columbus and St. Louis faced each other for the first time since the Blue Jackets beat the Blues 3-2 in overtime on Nov. 15, 2019, in Columbus. During the pandemic-shortened season, Columbus competed in the Central Division and St. Louis was placed in the West Division.

St. Louis placed LW James Neal on injured reserve with an upper body injury and recalled C Dakota Joshua from Springfield of the AHL. … St. Louis dressed 11 forwards and seven defensemen as RW David Perron, LW Klim Kostin were scratched with upper body injuries.

Blue Jackets: At Nashville on Tuesday night.

Blues: Host Tampa Bay on Tuesday night.

More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

How to beat the holiday blues

Winnipeg Jets’ Mark Scheifele (55) celebrates his goal against St. Louis Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington (50) during the second period of NHL hockey game action in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Sunday, Dec. 19, 2021. (Fred Greenslade/The Canadian Press via AP)

WINNIPEG, Manitoba (AP) — Linemates Nikolaj Ehlers, Mark Scheifele and Paul Stastny accounted for all the goals and the Winnipeg Jets beat the St. Louis Blues 4-2 on Sunday to give interim head coach Dave Lowry his first victory.

Stastny scored twice and added an assist, Ehlers had a goal and three assists, and Scheifele had a goal and assist to help the Jets end a three-game winless streak and improve to 14-11-5.

Connor Hellebuyck made 26 saves for Winnipeg. It was the second game behind the bench for Lowry. He took over for the rest of the season after Paul Maurice resigned Friday.

Vladimir Tarasenko and Niko Mikkola scored for St. Louis, and Jordan Binnington stopped 30 shots.

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How to beat the holiday blues

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WINNIPEG, Manitoba (AP) — Linemates Nikolaj Ehlers, Mark Scheifele and Paul Stastny accounted for all the goals and the Winnipeg Jets beat the St. Louis Blues 4-2 on Sunday to give interim head coach Dave Lowry his first victory.

Stastny scored twice and added an assist, Ehlers had a goal and three assists, and Scheifele had a goal and assist to help the Jets end a three-game winless streak and improve to 14-11-5.

“It was a big game,” Stastny said. “It was a big win for us. It was something we needed big time, confidence-wise for the morale and everything. It’s nice that Dave got his first win as well.”

Connor Hellebuyck made 26 saves for Winnipeg, the only Canadian team playing Sunday because of COVID-19 postponements for Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver.

It was the second game behind the bench for Lowry. He took over for the rest of the season after Paul Maurice resigned Friday.

Vladimir Tarasenko and Niko Mikkola scored for St. Louis, and Jordan Binnington stopped 30 shots. The Blues had a seven-game points streak end.

“It wasn’t our best defensive effort,” Blues forward Ryan O’Reilly said. “We kind of got caught on our heels a little bit too much tonight. Give them credit, they came super aggressive.”

The game was the last for a while for Winnipeg and St. Louis, after the NHL announced Sunday that teams can’t cross the border to play starting Monday through the beginning of the holiday break because of rising COVID-19 cases. Games will be postponed and rescheduled.

Winnipeg’s Tuesday game in Nashville had already been postponed, but now a Dallas contest the next day follows suit. St. Louis now won’t be playing in Ottawa on Tuesday or Toronto on Thursday.

“You could see it coming kind of,” Scheifele said. “We weren’t really sure, so obviously we know now and waiting to see what all transpires. We’ll keep rolling with the punches.”

How to beat the holiday bluesarticle

ST. LOUIS, MO – DECEMBER 17: Dallas Stars defenseman Jani Hakanpaa (2) battles with St. Louis Blues center Ivan Barbashev (49) behind the net of Dallas Stars goaltender Braden Holtby (70) during a game between the Dallas Stars and the St. Louis Blues

ST. LOUIS (AP) – Vladimir Tarasenko scored twice, Charlie Lindgren made 26 saves and the St. Louis Blues capped a home-and-home sweep against the Dallas Stars with a 4-1 win Friday night.

How to beat the holiday blues

Lindgren improved to 5-0 since taking over in net for the injury-ravaged Blues and became the first goalie in franchise history to win his first five games.

"It’s been quite the ride so far," Lindgren said. "I think one thing I want to make sure there’s no complacency here, just obviously very thankful about another win tonight. Another excellent effort by the guys, and wake up tomorrow morning wanting more."

Logan Brown scored, Ivan Barbashev added an empty-netter and Pavel Buchnevich recorded two assists as St. Louis won for the fifth time in six games. The Blues have points in their last seven games (5-0-2) overall and in nine straight home games (8-0-1) since Nov. 18.

"Sometimes it’s to work and play a little bit more simple and . when it’s time to create you can create, but mostly eliminating turnovers and just work, give us a lot of success as a team," Tarasenko said.

Jason Robertson scored and Braden Holtby made 30 saves for the Stars, who lost their fifth straight game. Dallas has scored three times in its last four games.

"Our ‘D’ are really tight on people right now and again, they’re physical, and they’re breaking plays up and there’s not as many pucks coming in our end, that’s one thing," Blues coach Craig Berube said. "And then secondly, I think that we’re just harder around our net. I think our forwards are doing a good job getting out on ‘D’ and not allowing shots to get through to the net."

The Stars went 0 for 3 on the power play and nearly gave up a short-handed tally as Buchnevich was awarded a penalty shot during Dallas’ third period man advantage. Buchnevich hit the post on a backhand attempt.

"Our power play had three opportunities to get us that goal to get us in the game and they got outworked," Stars coach Rick Bowness said. "Our power play got out worked, simple as that."

Brown broke the scoreless tie at the 3:35 mark of the second period, banking in the rebound of Colton Parayko’s slapshot between Holtby’s pads to give the Blues a 1-0 lead.

Tarasenko made it 2-0 with 10 seconds left in the second, finding a bouncing puck in the high slot and converting on a quick wrist shot.

Tarasenko continues to click with his linemates Buchnevich and Barbashev, fellow Russians.

"Just communicating where we’re going," Tarasenko said. "It’s nice when it comes with your native language."

Robertson’s goal, a rebound off John Klingberg’s shot with 7:49 left in the third, got the Stars back within one.

"Every night it should be fun to go out there and work your tail off and compete," Stars captain Jamie Benn said. "I’d say we’re too good of a team to be doing this again and have a losing streak like this."

Tarasenko answered with a power-play goal two minutes later to regain the Blues’ two-goal lead. Tarasenko has five points (three goals, two assists) in his last two games.

"That was a big goal for sure," Berube said. "The power play was just huge at that time there. They had momentum, they scored, and they just had us hemmed in our zone for a little bit and it changed things."

Klingberg played in his 500th career game, while Barbashev suited up in his 300th.

Blues G Jordan Binnington was removed from COVID-19 protocols Wednesday. He served as Lindgren’s backup.

Stars LW Roope Hintz and RW Alexander Radulov returned to the lineup after missing time due to an illness.

NOTES: The Stars recalled F Riley Tufte and D Thomas Harley from the Texas Stars of the American Hockey League. . Blues C Robert Thomas (lower-body injury), C Jordan Kyrou (upper body), G Ville Husso (lower body) and D Jake Walman (upper body) skated Friday morning for the first time in a team setting.

How to beat the holiday blues

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) — The holidays can be a time of joy and excitement, but for some, they can be filled with sadness.

“For that subset of us folks who experience challenges related to mood that comes with that seasonal pattern, certainly in the wintertime or the late fall, we do see more folks reaching out for help,” said Susan Holt, deputy director of Fresno County Department of Behavioral Health.

According to Holt, seasonal affective disorder (SAD), also known as the winter blues or seasonal depression, is more common than people think.

She points to various reasons for it. The days are shorter, and it gets dark faster. Holidays can also be stressful due to organizing and planning gatherings. There could be a loss of a loved one or feelings of isolation from friends and family.

“It’s really important to not compare yourself and your own situation to that of others,” Holt said.

Seasonal depression looks different for people. Symptoms include having low energy, difficulty sleeping, a loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed or feeling hopeless.

“When we add in alcohol or other drugs that can compromise our judgment, that is not the best strategy for us to cope,” she explained.

Holt said there are ways to get through it.

She recommends spending time outside when the sun is out. “A little bit of daylight can go a long way.”

If you’re feeling lonely, spend time with others.

“Reaching out to a trusted friend or family member, or even volunteering in the community,” she said.

Hold said these are a few coping tools, but the department can come up with a coping plan for anyone struggling, and she encourages those people to reach out as the holiday season continues.

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How to beat the holiday blues

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The pursuit of happiness is the one thing that binds all of us. Happiness, however, can mean different things to different people. To some, it’s a solitary walk in sylvan surroundings. To others, it could be the process of creating wealth. And to some, it could be the process of giving wealth away. Whatever it is, happiness is a state of mind that we all want to maintain.

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