St. James' Episcopal Church - Potomac 301-762-8040

Hello friends,

I hope you had a very merry Christmas and, if possible, have been spending lots of quality time with loved ones. I’m enjoying time with extended family here in Georgia, but it’s not all perfectly smooth sailing. It got me thinking: what strategies should we use when time with family challenges our mental health?

I came across this really wonderful article on coping with family dynamics during the holidays. The author recalls a favorite dessert — “The Dysfunctional Family Sundae” — offered at a nearby restaurant:

The Dysfunctional Family Sundae, a blend of three ice creams, brownies, chocolate cookies, whipped cream and sauces (chocolate, butterscotch, and strawberry), all topped with a cherry. This dessert required sharing among multiple friends. The tag line went something like this: all the ingredients are good on their own, but when placed together are sure to elicit indigestion, just like a dysfunctional family. Thus, cope with the dysfunction by sharing with friends.

Fortunately the author also offers more than a dozen practical strategies for preserving (or gaining back) positive mental health when the family sundae brings about distress, gastrointestinal or otherwise. In fact, many of these strategies are great to use for building strong family bonds even if there are no mental health concerns! I look forward to discussing them together as a group this week.

Our warm-up question for this week:

What “TV family” (e.g., The Brady Bunch) is most memorable for you, and why?

See you soon,