Coping Through the Holiday Funk- Danita Ogandaga, MSW


This article is about World Class Funk: Holidays, Loss, & Intensified Feelings.

A client once told me, “Danita, if I could, I wish that I could become a bear to hibernate from Thanksgiving to New Years”. I have heard this statement so many times in my work as a grief recovery coach. The holiday season is naturally a time for persons to be of good cheer but not everyone is reeling from the turkey preparation, fall colored leaves, lines at Starbucks getting your red cups, or frequent trips down neighboring subdivisions to view holiday lights.

My therapist once told me shortly after the loss of both parents that the feelings that we carry and often have are not pasted on watch so they do not obey time and they certainly don’t obey the calendar we follow ritually. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD), according to an article published by CNN affects approximately 20% of Americans and are due in part to the cold weather, lack of sunlight, to name a few followed by financial pressure for some. As much as we’d like to drag the Grinch or the person sitting in tears, the stark reality is that grief is real and it takes time. Martha Beck, who writes for O Magazine and is an amazing transformation coach in her own authority, it is important to remember that if we are going to be there for someone during their season of grief that we not try to rush them along. Healing takes time.

Just as water travels through the river, there are people that are walking the streets, working beside you at work, or pushing their cart in the grocery store with you that may find themselves in the first 48 hours of their loss whether that loss is a loved one, foreclosure or loss of house due to fire or other circumstance, prolonged illness, abandonment, rejection, or any other situation. This past week, I encountered what felt like a surge of personal emotions that all seemed to come at once:

  • My sister was rushed into emergency surgery
  • My aunt lost her husband and love of her life
  • I wrapped up a month-long course on Miscarriages and had a moment to remember my own

Although these moments dealt with a person, there are also griefs that are associated with non-persons. Whatever the grief may be, I want to encourage you that you must go through the process and in doing so, ultimately find the strength to place the memory of the things or person that you have lost in a place where you can continue to function.

Here are a few ways that you can begin to make through the days ahead:

  1. Make time to remember- Maybe it was a picture you posted on Facebook  or your favorite memory of the place you loved to attend, make the time to share those experiences with your friends and family.  It may be a simple trip to your favorite ice cream store of a long-distance trip to the island. No matter where it is, make the time to make time to remember. The engagement and the act of giving voice to the memory will provide a connection deeper than you could imagine.
  2. Open up for glimmers of joy- The feeling of guilt can cause you to believe that you are not entitled to laugh in the midst of crying as you mourn or grieve but I want to assure you that this is the best thing for you to do. Your memories can hold the joys as well as the pains associated with losing your loved one and when you remember deep down, you know that your loved one would want you to find glimmers of joy even in a painful time.
  3. Set clear expectations- It may not always be easy to set clear expectations especially when you are crying your eyes out, but it is ok to know that when you have lost someone or something, no one expects you to jump up and down and cheer. Let’s face it, you have just lost something or someone dear to you so of course you are going to cry. Death is a separation until we are reunited again. When couples and family members embrace each other after a short departure or reunion, they cry, right? So, if there is no immediate reunion in site for those things or persons that we have lost, of course there will be tears. Talking to people who are perfect strangers in a support group or grief recovery group can always assist your process.

No matter what you decide to do, maintain your peace that you are doing what is best for you. This is what we want grief to look like and in fact, it is something quite different.


I encourage you to stay tuned for our February 2016 GriefTalk Recovery Group event that will be held online. For more information, read here.

In the days ahead, stay encouraged. For more products to assist your grief journey, please visit our store. 

Emotional Healing, Uncategorized

Rocking a S on Your Chest by Danita Ogandaga

Tired of rocking an S on your Chest? We all eventually come to the end of ourselves. It’s time to surrender your defenses and increase your strengths! Find out how……..don’t forget to leave your comments!


Putting Labels & People in Their Place


On a daily basis, we are given the names which ultimately define us within a block of time. Mommy from 12 midnight to 5, social worker from 6am-7pm, wife for all of the time in between. These names or labels, as I call them, can cause us to be on a never-ending tail spin of understanding that we are and having a conflicted identity. When the roles overlap, we find ourselves feeling inadequate of not giving an attentive balance to one group over the other and feelings of insecurity abound. Times such as these compromise our pursuit of peace and the extension of it in our lives.

The bible specifically instructs us on how to handle situations with peace. Despite what we have heard on Sunday morning, many of us are not able to carry that strength of overcoming throughout the week and are weary and in need of a refill because we are laddered with care and shame. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that shame is the cousin of pain and pain is the result of something missing with the desire to fill the need in another area. If you have not been told that you are a good mommy, it can rock you to your core so that every time you prepare to do mommy duties, the tape plays and it sounds like this, “You’re so not good enough, you could not even cook your family a home cooked meal. Why do you rely on a housekeeper to keep your family clean? You are so not a good mother.

In our attempts to reach out to “fix” this situation at home, it often causes us to overcompensate in other areas of life such as work for example and we strive to be the very best that we can be within this environment until we excel and achieve and eventually abandon or accept the lie of not being “good enough” in our home domestication duties. In addition to the overcompensation, we also develop attitudes and behaviors of passive aggression because of our unwillingness to confront a situation that had become to overbearing for us. In small outbursts, you make your distain for a situation known because you are unwilling to address and confront truth because of the days that we were taught to suppress and take the issue to God in prayer. I am not saying that this is wrong and I am a believer that all things should go to God in prayer; however, as women (and sometimes men, if you are reading this post), can get into a situation where we are unwilling to approach and confront truth due to the false humility that the spirit of religion has taught us and that is to take the aggression of the issue that we are facing into our self and find a way to suppress and forgive it in silence. This may be the case sometimes, but as many of you know, sometimes you must rock the boat and confront, confront, confront. Jesus did bear our burdens so we don’t have to suppress and wear them, and in addition to all of this, He also ensured that we were forever redeemed from drama and the trauma associated with it. Because of this, we can be assured, with confidence, that we are enough, and God loves us no matter what we may be facing. 

Oh how the devil is a liar……..

You are more than just a mommy, a wife, an employee, you are God’s favorite and He wants for you to stop allowing society to place all of these burdensome labels on you. He wants you to walk in peace and joy each day knowing that you are making a difference in whatever sector you are in. Even on your worst day, the power of God is available to be your strength. One of my favorite scriptures in 2 Corinthians 12:9 says that “His strength is perfected in our weakness” so you see, we are more than enough.

How do you put labels in their proper place? Study these tips and add them to your daily routine!

  1. Know that you are good enough (1 Corinthians 3:16 Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?)
  2. Defy the lie (1 John 5:1 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him.)
  3. Everyone has days of growth so when you miss it, keep moving(Romans 3:10As it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one)
  4. Ask God to reveal your worth (2 Timothy 2:7 Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.)
  5. Seek therapy to heal from past trauma if you are having difficulty letting go (Deut 29:29 “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.)
  6. Confess the word of God over your life daily. No matter what time of day it is and how often you have to switch hats, confess the following over your life until faith in what you say becomes more real than the role you are playing, “ God, I know that you made me and I broke the mold. No matter what hats or labels I wear on a daily basis, keep me aware as to what my ultimate label is. I am a blessed child of God that is destined for success in every area of my life. Even on my worst day, you still make the difference in my life and you have always been, you are, and forever will be my strength. In Jesus name, Amen.

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