Issue #115: 5 Tips for Taking Care of Your Mental Health This Holiday Season
Take it from a therapist.
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🎥 ‘Priscilla,’ in theaters: The few times Elvis (played by Jacob Elordi) is captured without his gregarious entourage of boyhood friends, it’s almost always in bedrooms with Priscilla (Cailee Spaeny). He summons her again and again—in Germany, Graceland, and Vegas—revealing to her his most tender moments so that she feels lucky to be “chosen.” At times, I felt like I was watching Sofia Coppola’s 2006 film, ‘Marie Antoinette’ with an Americana backdrop. Like the dauphine, Priscilla met Elvis at fourteen, requiring that she adapt to the demands of being a different type of Queen while still a child. Coppola applies her signature tenderness for girlhood to Priscilla’s story, rendering a movie much quieter than Baz Luhrmann’s recent frenetic biopic, one that’s suited to the pace of a woman coming into her own amid sensational circumstances. By the way, I’m calling it now: Jacob Elordi is the new Timothée.
📚 The Vulnerables by Sigrid Nunez: There are a few pandemic novels worth reading—Gary Shteyngart’s Our Country Friends, Ann Patchett’s Tom Lake, and now Nunez’s latest, out today. While the two former were about human connection, this one takes place in a Manhattan apartment between a macaw parrot and a writer, who becomes the bird’s de facto caretaker when its owners are stranded on the west coast in early 2020. A slim and ruminative read.
🥕 Moroccan Carrot Ribbons and Black Lentils: I’ve mentioned before in my “Sunday Editions” that my friend and I alternate bringing each other lunch on clinic days, a circumstance that’s definitely tipped in my favor. This week, she made this veg-packed dish that’s dressed with warming spices. The secret though is in the chopped prunes, which offer a surprising touch of sweetness that pairs perfectly with the earthy lentils. Served with Alison Roman’s labne dip and radishes, it was the ideal lunch.
Liked, but didn’t love… I really wanted to love the Netflix adaptation of Anthony Doerr’s bestselling book, All the Light We Cannot See. The book is one of my favorites, and I felt encouraged by the thoughtful casting of blind actresses to play the heroine Marie-Laure, but the series lacks the sparkle and subtlety that made the novel so special. Something about the tone was just… off? Instead, consider opting for… ‘Quiz Lady’ on Hulu or ‘Fingernails’ on Apple TV+.
I’m sure there’s a family out there who wears matching Fair Isle sweaters, sings carols around the piano, adorns their Golden Retriever in a Santa hat, and laughs goodheartedly when Fido steals a bite of the new boyfriend’s poorly constructed gingerbread house. In reality, holidays rarely look the way they do in the movies, or Instagram for that matter. More often, they hold a lot of charged energy and expectations that can take a toll on our mental health—which is wherecomes in.
A licensed social worker and mental health educator, Minaa is the author of Owning Our Struggles and the Substack. She is first-generation Panamanian and Columbian, and grew up in a multigenerational household that emphasized the importance of community and togetherness. This is reflected in the work she does with her clients, which is grounded in communal healing. In my conversation with Minaa, we chatted all about the importance of fostering self-efficacy and she shared five tips for cultivating self-care during the holiday season. I don’t say this lightly: It’s a must-listen/must-read for anyone struggling with self-worth, vicarious trauma from the news, or the ability to express your own needs, especially this time of year.
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