Author Archives: Allison Peet

The Gazette: Prescribing Authority Moves Foward in Iowa

Scott Young, Ph.D.

The Center is proud of our very own Dr. Scott Young, licensed psychologist, for being featured recently in The Gazette regarding one innovative way to address the shortage of psychiatry providers (medication management). Iowa is facing a dire shortage of mental health professional workforce, including a shortage of psychiatry professionals. The Center is pleased to have two on-site medication providers (psychiatrist and psychiatry physician assistant). When Scott obtains his prescribing authority, many more people in our community will be able to access the services they need. Read more here.

The Gazette writes, “Scott Young, a licensed psychologist at Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center, is one mental health professional who plans to obtain prescribing authority. He recently completed his post-doctoral master’s degree in clinical psychopharmacology — from Fairleigh Dickinson University, in Teaneck, N.J. — one of the first steps in the advanced training requirements for psychologists to write the prescriptions.

“The medication piece isn’t my specialty yet, but certainly as a psychologist with a doctoral degree, I have a lot of experience with mental health,” Young said. “I think adding the medication piece makes a great deal of sense.”

Read the full article here.

Volunteers Needed! Women Helping Women Mailing Bee

Friday, February 15, 2019 between 9:00AM – 5:00PM
Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center: 8553 Urbandale Ave., Urbandale, IA

Feel free to serve for any amount of time during the day.
All hands on deck are greatly appreciated!  We are preparing a large, customized mailing to help raise funds for mental health counseling and education for women and girls through the 2019 Women Helping Women luncheon. We are grateful for any about of time you can give!
Learn more about Women Helping Women fundraiser here:
Any questions, please email Allison Peet:

Down the Rabbit Hole: The Wonderland of Spiritual Direction

Photo Credit: Tina Tarnoff 2014

Audience:  Statewide Gathering of Spiritual Directors

Presentation Description:  We can learn a great deal about ourselves from children and from children’s literature.  Using the Lewis Carroll story Alice in Wonderland we will consider some of the qualities that can support us on the spiritual journey.

The presentation will begin with some input on what is a spiritual journey and what it means to be a spiritual director.  Then we will consider three qualities that Alice can teach us – the gift of curiosity, the willingness to be messy, and the sheer grace of courage. Our time together will include input, some quiet reflection, and sharing with one another.

Dates:  Thursday Evening April 4th-Friday April 5th, 2019

Times:  Thursday Evening:  Dinner, Film and Conversation with Lucy Abbott Tucker from 5:30-8:30PM
Friday Workshop with Lucy:  8:30AM – 5:00PM

Location:  First Christian Church, 2500 University Ave, Des Moines, IA 50311

Cost:  Thursday and Friday:  $150,  Friday only:  $100

Presenter:  Lucy Abbott Tucker

Bio: Lucy Abbott Tucker has worked in adult formation and the preparation of people for the ministry of spiritual direction for the past thirty-six years. With an initial background in mathematics and education in 1983 she moved from New York to Chicago and studied at the Institute for Spiritual Leadership and Catholic Theological Union, Chicago.  She obtained a Masters Degree in Theology.  She worked for many years at the Institute for Spiritual Leadership in Chicago including the position of Executive Director and later served as President of the Board of Directors for that organization.  Lucy has been active in the work of Spiritual Directors International, serving on the first Coordinating Council and chairing the initial committee that prepared the Guidelines for Ethical Conduct endorsed by Spiritual Directors International.  She also worked on the recent revisions of that document.  She is a frequent presenter at the annual meetings of Spiritual Directors International.  In addition to her ministry as a spiritual director and supervisor Lucy currently teaches at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago and works in training programs preparing people for the ministry of spiritual direction in the United States, Europe, Australia, and Canada.  Lucy has also published several articles on adult formation and the ministry of spiritual direction.

The Healing Journal – A 5-Week Journaling Class with Billie Wade

Course Description

The Healing Journal© supports you as you recover from life’s challenges, even trauma. Journaling is one of the best ways to explore emotions and feelings, sort through events and relationships, and strengthen self-awareness and problem-solving. Journaling is a useful tool whether or not used in tandem with professional counseling. Each two-hour module includes in-class writing, and small-group (dyads or triads) and large-group discussion. The course is not designed to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disorder, condition, ailment, illness, sickness, or disease. Professional intervention is encouraged.


  • The class is intended for adults 18 years and older. Participants register for the class either through their own interest or referral by their counseling professional. Participants may or may not be skeptical of journaling. The class is appropriate for people who have never journaled as well as people who have moderate journaling experience. Seasoned journalers may want to find ways to expand their current practice. Curiosity and a willingness to look at possibilities are significant prerequisites.
  • Class is capped at 20

Course Objectives

  • Learn journaling techniques and find the one(s) that work best.
  • Gain access to inner wisdom and facilitate the emotional healing journey.
  • Process strong emotions and painful feelings through journaling.
  • Keep journaling confidential, safe, and secure.
  • Establish a regular, sustainable journaling practice.

Dates and Times

  • Mondays March 18, and 25, and April 1, 15, and 22 (No class April 8) (April 29 in the event of inclement weather
  • 10:00 a.m.-Noon


  • $210
  • Tuition assistance available for current Center clients. Please consult your therapist
  • Please bring a journal or notebook and pen to class.


Click image for a printer friendly flyer

Facilitator Bio

Billie Wade, writer

Billie Wade is a lifelong journaler. She believes in the power of words and internal messages. She maintains a daily journaling practice that enhances her personal development and helps her understand and heal from the triggers and effects of depression and anxiety. She designed The Healing Journal© to help participants explore emotional pain and find ways to enhance the healing process through their inner resources.  Read more of Billie’s blogs here.

Generous Spirits

“Generosity is the virtue of giving good things to others freely and abundantly. It is a learned character trait that involves attitude and action entailing both the inclination and actual practice of giving liberally. It is not a haphazard behavior but a basic orientation to life. What generosity gives can vary: money, possessions, time, attention, aid, encouragement, and more but it always intends to enhance the true wellbeing of the receiver. Like all virtues, generosity is in people’s genuine enlightened self-interest to learn and practice.”  – Christian Smith, The Generosity Project

I spent a good bit of my time in 2018–my sophomore year at the Center–developing deeper relationships with various stakeholders. Deep relationships are what make this place go. Clients sharing their stories with therapists, career counselors and spiritual directors. Peers diving into the healing process in various groups. Board members and volunteers giving of themselves through sharing of the precious resources of time, talent and treasure. And so it goes.

Much of my time is spent deepening relationships with our generous donors. These wonderful souls have grown committed to the organization for a variety of reasons. Some recently, others over decades. My relationship with them often begins with a simple question: “How did you get connected with the Center?” Answers are rich and varied. They or a member of their families may have accessed our services. Others deepened their spiritual lives through the Prairie Fire program. Some were invited to a fundraiser by a friend, which led to inspiration as people heard the stories and of the good work that goes on at the Center. Many times it was a relationship with one of our staff and a desire to help people of good character to carry on such committed work.

The answers and commitments vary, but the underlying, foundational spirit of all these relationships is generosity. Folks generous in sharing their stories; folks generous in the time it takes to listen deeply; folks generous in donating hard-earned resources in order to help us help those who might otherwise struggle to afford our quality services.

All of this was on my mind when I recently encountered the author quoted above, Christian Smith. His 2014 book, co-authored with Hilary Davidson, The Paradox of Generosity: Giving We Receive, Grasping We lose, is a sociological study of why, when and to whom people feel compelled to be generous. Their examination involves not only financial giving, but the many diverse ways folks live generously. The research shows consistent links between generosity and being fully alive. One of the most interesting outcomes of generous spirits is that they have positive mental health outcomes.

I hope to spend some time in my newsletter reflections this year investigating the ways generosity helps us to experience life more fully. Let me know if you’d like to share some thoughts or experiences on this topic, which you think might enrich the conversation.

If we didn’t get a chance to hear your story in 2018, I hope 2019 affords us an opportunity to understand your connection to the Center. We’re all in this together, bringing understanding, hope and healing through counseling and education—and generosity.

Thank you for giving liberally in this important mission.

Click image to read more blogs posts from Jim


The Miracle of The Center

I enter the doors of Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center, feeling a sense of peace, a sense of tranquility. The reception room fills me with a sense of reverence. For me, I am in a sacred space. My time here is sacred. Some people quietly use their cell phones. When someone receives a call, she or he steps out of the room. When people visit with each other, their conversation is barely audible above the soothing music coming through the sound system. I am comforted by the arrival of others to the waiting room. I feel connected. We are all here on our journey of hope and healing. Though we may never exchange pleasantries, we are not alone. As other people face their pain, they share in mine and vice versa.

January 15, 2019, marks the beginning of the seventh year with my counselor. He has walked with me through a series of life challenges, patiently allowing me to process my pain at my own pace. My counselor’s office expands my feeling that I am in a sacred space and that my time here is sacred. I guard my time here and schedule other appointments around it. I treat it with respect. Here, I discuss the challenges and triumphs of my life with abandon. I examine my feelings and emotions and explore my relationships and my experience as a black woman in counseling. I’ve sought counseling intermittently since my mid-twenties. To talk freely and openly about racial issues in counseling is to receive a gift never before offered. A lot of life happens between sessions, and I often arrive at my counselor’s office with a list or have an urgent topic to discuss. My counselor makes me feel heard and trusted. He helps me see options and possibilities. He asks great questions and meets me where I am emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. He nudges me toward healing and my best self.

The Center’s holistic approach to mental health care feeds me as a whole person. Classes and programs enrich my life immeasurably. I am a mental health sponge, a devoted seeker of personal growth, healing, transformation, and empowerment. The Center offers an array of classes and programs, speaking to a person’s lifespan of experiences. Some of the services provided are:

  • Women Helping Women for women and girls
  • Program for men and boys
  • COOL for children and adolescents
  • The Redefining Aging Initiative
  • Spiritual direction
  • Pastoral training and development
  • Ethical Boundary Training for Clergy
  • Psychiatric assessment and medication management
  • Neuropsychological assessment
  • Individual counseling
  • Couple counseling
  • Family counseling
  • Grief counseling
  • Career counseling
  • Client assistance fund and sliding fee scale

Classes and programs include:

  • Prairie Fire
  • MBSRTM (Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction)
  • Being Mortal: How then shall we live?
  • Wisdom Stories
  • Trauma Sensitive Practice
  • Dying Well
  • Meditation; Course and Individual Sessions

Every organization has stumbling blocks. Humans comprise organizations, and humans make mistakes. My experience as a client is seamless. The difficulties of running a business are invisible to me. I have great appreciation and admiration for the behind-the-scenes work that goes on at the Center. I am impressed by 100% employee participation on Giving Tuesday which communicates how much employees believe in the Center and its mission. The Center’s forty-nine-year resilient evolution is a testament to willingness to persevere, expand, grow, and transform. I consider it an honor and a privilege to serve an organization of the Center’s caliber.

I encourage you to take a few moments to consider your relationship with the Center, in whatever capacity you fill. Why did you come here? Why have you stayed? How has the relationship evolved? What do you feel when you enter the doors? What do you feel when you leave? When I leave the Center, I feel encouraged, uplifted, inspired, and empowered. I often go home and journal about my counseling session. Please know that you are an integral part of the peaceful atmosphere of the Center.

Counseling and the therapeutic process are hard work. Emotional pain takes a toll on our physical health, draining us of much-needed energy. To have someone hear us and attend to our pain are crucial components of healing. Someone we trust affirms our worth as a human being. Someone trusts us to walk hand in hand with her or him as a confidant and guide.

I am grateful for the Center’s presence in central Iowa. I am grateful for my counselor. I am grateful for all of you sharing this journey with me.

As we enter 2019, I wish everyone a year of hope, healing, peace, joy, and prosperity.

Billie Wade, writer

Billie Wade is a gregarious introvert whose primary interests are writing, lifelong learning, personal development, and how we all are affected by life’s vagaries. Issues facing black people, women, the LGBTQ community, and aging adults are of particular concern to her. She enjoys open-hearted dialogue with diverse people. The opinions expressed here are her own.

To read more of Billie’s blogs:

Wish List for Hope and Healing

Photo Credit: The Best Life Blog

The Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center’s mission is “to bring understanding, hope and healing to people of all ages through counseling and education.” The statement is an invitation, a welcome to everyone who wants the power of personal transformation. It promises a journey of exploration, no matter one’s starting point.

The festivities of the holidays include exchanging gifts with family and friends who ask what we want for presents. Our wish list may include things such as a gym membership or the gift of time to pursue hobbies or interests or a much-needed vacation.

A wish list for hope and healing invites our spirituality. We engage our spiritual self and tap into our wellspring of “knowing” that peace awaits us. It brings into our awareness our reverence for life. It is a deep, rich experience. We use prayer, meditation, or other spiritual practices that speak to us. We call on our inner resources to guide us to what we need.

Healing means there is pain. Healing means a perpetual arrival at a place of peace and acceptance. Healing is an internal process of working through pain at a measured pace, taking the time we need to adjust before moving on to the next step. We may never reach the destination of healed, but we can progress through our pain. We learn about ourselves and gain wisdom. We begin to adjust to a new normal. We realize that we have been holding our breath, and we heave a sigh of relief. Life begins anew.

Hope springs from our yearnings. We recognize the possibilities and the related outcomes we may need to face. Can you come to acceptance, not knowing but trusting that you will be okay, whatever the result of what you are hoping for? Sometimes our hopes are dashed, and we need to turn to our internal and external resources for the healing processes of grieving and acceptance.

A wish list for hope and healing requires introspection. The wishes on our list have been on our heart for a long time. We ask ourselves a lot of questions. What do you wish for? How do your desires align with your values? What does “peace of mind” mean to you? What do you need to make that happen? What will bring joy into your life? Where do you hurt? What do you need to heal physically, emotionally, and spiritually? Why do you want these wishes? How will they change your life? How will they affect others? Other questions and thoughts may come to you.

Make a list of at least ten changes in your life you wish for, for hope and healing, answering the above questions. Spend some time in a quiet place reflecting on each wish, noting the emotion that comes up for each one. Write each wish on a sticky note or piece of scratch paper. Arrange your wishes beginning with the one that brought out the strongest emotion in you. What are your top five? Your top three? What can you do to bring your top three wishes to fruition? Can you do it all at once or do you need to organize your wish into steps? Is there someone who can help you?

I talked to Terri Speirs, marketing director for the Center and asked her about five wishes for hope and healing might the Center have. Here are the Center’s top five wishes for hope and healing:

  1. All people who seek healing, growth, and personal development, regardless of age, race, religion or absence thereof, sexual orientation, disability, finances, insured or not, and other identity markers may find welcoming acceptance at the Center. Everyone who comes to the Center knows that they will receive the help needed to guide their healing journey.
  2. People can learn that when trauma happens to them, it is not their fault, and they can come to a place of healing and moving forward.
  3. The community that supports the Center—volunteers, Board members, spiritual directors, knows how much they are appreciated and how critically important their contribution is to the Center.
  4. Assist therapists and staff with the impact of vicarious trauma.
  5. The Center continues to enjoy healthy, strong, supportive leadership.

Terri pointed out that most of the wishes are already in effect and expressed sincere gratitude for their existence. She hopes they continue to expand and strengthen.

Click to learn more about how to make an appointment.

Here are my wish list for hope and healing, top five:

  1. To be a beacon to others. Hope.
  2. Put old hurts and resentments aside.
  3. Continue to be mobile and self-sufficient. Hope.
  4. Grasp the concept of self-compassion.
  5. Experience the peace that comes with acceptance. Healing.

I made two lists: a public list to share with friends and a deeply personal list to discuss with my counselor. These are wishes that I grapple frequently.

Working through your wish list takes time, commitment, deep searching, and gentleness with yourself. Journaling your process may help you feel less harried and more grounded. Writing moves your thoughts out of your head and puts them in front of you where you can see them. Allow time to rest between intense healing sessions. Give yourself room to experience the peace that comes with transformation. There is no right or wrong way to heal. The way you heal is perfect for you. You will find that you heal differently with each wish on your list. Some wishes have a more profound effect on us than others. Remember, the Center has people who can help you on your journey of healing.

May your wishes for hope and healing be reflections of your heart’s yearnings. May hope and healing bring you peace. May hope and healing guide you to a new life.

I wish you the very best in 2019. With gratitude.

Billie Wade, writer

Billie Wade is a gregarious introvert whose primary interests are writing, lifelong learning, personal development, and how we all are affected by life’s vagaries. Issues facing black people, women, the LGBTQ community, and aging adults are of particular concern to her. She enjoys open-hearted dialogue with diverse people. The opinions expressed here are her own.

To read more of Billie’s blogs:

Time to Retire or Time to Rewire?

A Support Group for Career Women Considering “Retirement”

Women of the Baby Boomer generation are entering new territory. More women of this generation have had careers outside the home than in any previous generation.  As these women reach the traditional age of “retirement,” they have questions, concerns and dilemmas, but few role models. Do we need to “retire”? What is “retirement” and what does it mean for career women? If we are healthy, active and engaged in the world, why should we even consider stepping back and “retiring”? What does “retirement” even mean for women of our generation?  In this support group for career women, we will explore these questions and begin to identify the next steps in our life’s journeys, whether “retirement,” “rewirement,” or something yet to be defined. This class is part of the Center’s Redefining Aging Initiative.

Dates :                  Fridays, January 25 – March 15, 2019

Times:                  10:30 AM – Noon

Cost:                      $250.00 for the eight week series.  Scholarships are available. Please contact the instructor, Christine, at to apply.

Location:              Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center, 8553 Urbandale Avenue, Urbandale, IA 50322




Dr. Christine Dietz

Christine Dietz, Ph.D., L.I.S.W, D.Min candidate is the Training Director, as well as a therapist, teacher and spiritual director at Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center. She has a particular interest in working with older adults and is one of the founders of the Center’s Redefining Aging Initiative.





Dying Well Course: Exploring the Spirituality of Dying

About the course:

Facing the mystery of death can be overcome with emotions of fear, anxiety, depression and anger.  Yet we are truly spiritual beings to the end of our lives.  Through our stories and experiences we can find purpose, meaning and our life’s legacy to transform our spiritual existence to the end to make death a purely sacred process.  The wisdom gained from this class will help construct a renewed sense of our spiritual dimension to gain a sense of freedom from the negative emotional hold of facing death.

This class is designed to create a sense of community and to engage on a deep personal level to talk about dying.  It is active engagement from the participants to reconcile with any lost spiritual components in their lives and to develop their own unique purpose and meaning in life by naming their legacy through stories and events.  The class is also designed to assist the participants to identify their spiritual blocks and find a way through them to ultimately move to forgiveness of self and others.

Each of the class sessions is designed to be completed in 3 hour segments.  In addition, there is work each participant will need to complete outside of the class environment.  The class is designed to be a safe and secure place to share and process spiritual (faith) questioning and life’s most difficult circumstances.

Everyone dies so the class is designed for people of any faith or non-faith.  The common core is that we are all spiritual beings regardless of belief system.

Why do adults take this course?

Participants take this class for a variety of reasons.  Some have a diagnosis, death is more imminent and want to develop spiritual practices.  Others may want to prepare for the inevitable and know that learning to die well is a journey to live well.  Still others are practitioners who work with the dying and seek to develop additional tools to working with the dying.


Dying Well is a dynamic, introspective intensive that provided me the framework for approaching my death with dignity and empowerment.”

Dying Well is a fantastic class!  It gave me tools to face my own death as well as the death of others.  The respectful way in which such a difficult topic was approached made it easier to bravely face such a personal and inevitable end that awaits us all.”

Dying Well has taught me to live well.  This class has opened my eyes to planning my end of life desires.  I am thankful for the sharing and intimacy. “

Course Objectives

  • We will explore the mystery of dying and connect to your spiritual foundation.
  • This class focuses on the process of dying and the challenges we encounter.
  • The dying process will be demystified and we will develop skills for the emotional spiritual aspects of dying.
  • Create a spiritual practice for overcoming blockages to dying well.
  • Class participants will spend time designing their own death experience.
  • Overcome any fear about the mystery of death and the sacredness of dying.
  • Create community with others who are experiencing all that comes with the dying process.
  • Establish practices for working with your support/care circle.
  • This class does NOT explore the legal or financial aspects of death.

Class Structure:

Classes are a mix of education, practice and sharing stories.  There is also work to be completed outside of the class environment.

Winter 2019 Cycle

Class times:  1:00 – 4:00PM

Class cycle begins Wednesday, February 13, and runs weekly till Wednesday, March 13, 2019.

Location: Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center, 8553 Urbandale Ave., Urbandale, IA 50322

Tuition:  $289

Min/Max: 10 / 16

Registration deadline:  February 8, 2019

About the Facilitators

Carla Cain, MBA, MDiv.

Carla is a pastor and trained End-of-Life Doula.  Her current work is consulting with congregations on strategic planning, conflict transformation, church leadership and a focus on working with the dying.  Carla discerned her call to ministry after spending 30 years in the corporate world where she was involved in business development, human resources and cultural transformation work.   Carla has an expertise and passion for personal mastery that leads to living well and dying well.



Diane McClanahan, M.Div., Director of Leadership and Spiritual Life at the Center

Diane McClanahan, B.S.N., M.Div, is the Director of Leadership and Spiritual Life at the Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center. She is an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church as well  as a spiritual director, clergy coach, church consultant and conflict mediator. Her interest is in providing spiritual and educational programs and consultation to assist spiritual leaders and their congregations to meet the needs of their communities.

23 Tips to Get Through the Holidays

Fall is the harbinger of bold colors, mild temperatures, football, and the beginning of the Big Three holidays—Thanksgiving; Hanukkah, Christmas, and Kwanzaa; and, New Year’s Eve. These holidays evoke a range of emotions from giddiness to panic attacks to emotional collapse. The five-week holiday season kicks off in early November as we prepare for these emotionally charged days. How we approach them can impact our experience.

The holidays carry different meanings for each of us whether we welcome and embrace them, have neutral feelings about them, or face them with dread and trepidation. This time of the year may trigger painful recollections. Present-day circumstances can nudge years-old memories. Or, we may wrestle with situations of recent years. Wounds may be fresh and raw. Our life may be starkly different from what we planned for ourselves. Whatever this time means for you, honoring your feelings and life rhythms can ease the stress.

Despite our most fervent efforts to avoid emotional pain during the holidays, we may face harsh realities. The past three holiday seasons were difficult for me. 2015 was my first holiday season without my sister. 2016 was my first holiday season without my mother and my partner. 2017, I faced cancer. New pain on top of old memories can be overwhelming. Caring for ourselves becomes critical.

I assess my values and define what the holidays mean to me and how they fit into my life. I explore the emotions that surface and express them safely. I work toward a place of acceptance and contentment. I will never arrive at these states permanently as they are not destinations but instead are points in my journey. Haunting memories are not as painful as in previous years. As each holiday season unfolds, I know healing has taken place within me over the years. When a memory visits me but I can no longer recall the details, I know I have healed and possibly even forgiven someone.

Getting through the holidays can be a challenge, but these twenty-three strategies may help smooth the edges of anxiety, depression, and tension:

  1. Be kind and gentle with yourself. The tiniest acts of self-love and self-compassion can be the most powerful.
  2. Pamper yourself in whatever way works for you. Get a massage, manicure, or pedicure. Stay in your pajamas all day.
  3. Take time for a quiet celebration and reflection, with or without others.
  4. Spend time in religious or spiritual activities that speak to you. Pray or meditate.
  5. Review the closing year, look for the lessons, and marvel at the wisdom you have gained.
  6. Make gentle and empowering plans for the new year without locking into resolutions. What and who do you want in your life in the new year? Try to approach the new year with joyful anticipation.
  7. Call a trusted friend or family member.
  8. Write out feelings in a journal or diary.
  9. See a counselor, minister, rabbi, priest, or spiritual director. The Center has counselors who work with grief.  To schedule an appointment, click here.
  10. Volunteer.
  11. Walk or exercise.
  12. Engage in activities that inspire awe and wonder in you. Gaze at a clear night sky. Watch a toddler at play.
  13. Practice yoga or stretching exercises. Or, try Tai Chi or Qi Gong.
  14. Listen to soothing or energizing music.
  15. Read uplifting, inspiring, comforting books.
  16. Find reasons to smile and laugh. Watch nurturing or funny movies.
  17. Let off steam, safely. Try Tae Kwon Do, kickboxing or screaming.
  18. Create something. Paint, color, or draw. Or sculpt, weave, or knit. Write an essay, blog post, or short story.
  19. Start new holiday traditions, rituals, and practices that nurture your spirit, with or without other people.
  20. Spend time with caring, supportive friends, especially sharing a meal, if possible.
  21. Honor the rhythms of your body. Eat, sleep, rest, and exercise as your body requires.
  22. Write a letter of gratitude, grief, anger, forgiveness, or apology regardless of whether you plan to send it.
  23. Address a holiday card to yourself, write a note inside the card that inspires and uplifts you, and mail it.

Other ideas may come to mind for you. Spread out a practice over several days or weeks. Or, try a different approach every day, or every few days. The crucial point is to be your own best friend.

As the 2018 holiday season approaches, I want to express my appreciation to Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center for the support and encouragement for writing these articles. The opportunity to serve you is an honor and a privilege.

The holidays hold the promise of beauty, wonder, grace, and hope. May you find peace, comfort, gratitude, and joy in the coming weeks and throughout 2019.

Billie Wade, writer

Billie Wade is a gregarious introvert whose primary interests are writing, lifelong learning, personal development, and how we all are affected by life’s vagaries. Issues facing black people, women, the LGBTQ community, and aging adults are of particular concern to her. She enjoys open-hearted dialogue with diverse people. The opinions expressed here are her own.

To read more of Billie’s blogs: