Tag Archives: holiday

Picnic Day

By Nancy S Buck, PhD, RN

Did you know that August 4 is Picnic Day in Australia? I didn’t either. I’m also wondering if it is authentic and something people actually celebrate, or is it something that my calendar writers simply put on that date. Were they trying to fill the space with little known informative and facts? I’m lucky to have lots of friends in Australia so I can seek the answer.


In the meantime I’m going to take advantage of this BRILLIANT idea! Authentic or not, real or not, I’m going to make it real for me. It’s too late for me to celebrate Picnic Day on August 4 this year. So I’m going to look at my calendar and aim for the first  Saturday in September to be the day I celebrate Picnic Day. I’m going to invite my family and friends to celebrate with me! I can hardly wait. Just thinking about it and planning it has me feeling mentally healthier and happier.

Why don’t you join in the celebration too? You don’t have to choose the same date I am. Look at your own calendar now, and name the date! For those of you who live in parts of the world where summer has an end, be sure to take advantage of the glorious summer days to create you very own honoring and celebration of Picnic Day. However, you might decide that any season, any location, any menu is the best day to celebrate as long as you include your best friends to be part of the celebration! If this is your first year celebrating Picnic Day you also get to start your own tradition for this holiday.

Improve your Mental Health & Happiness by adding this new holiday to your year!

P.S. Folks from Australia who are reading this post, would you let us know if this really is a holiday for you? Thanks.


Why can’t we just get along?

By Dr. Nancy Buck

There may not be anything more painful than being a member of a family that squabbles, bickers, and argues. Is this what your family is like? Is this what the family you grew up in was like? If it is then you know how tense, anxious and sad you felt or feel now. Anticipating family reunions whether that is for holiday gatherings or just a daily occurrence, is not need fulfilling at all!

Your sense of isolation may be intense, even though you are present. You know you belong, but you wish you didn’t. Are these the people to help you feel proud and good about yourself and your family?

You may feel powerless to change these unhappy relationships between family members. And you feel angry and frustrated because you can’t.

Being in this family is not fun, not filled with joy, wonder or awe except maybe in the negative. Perhaps you are able to feel free, by choosing to spend less and less time with these people. But if you are a child, there is not escape. There is not sense of safety and security either.

You are not doomed, without any hope for mental health and happiness. You can change your mental health habits leading to improved happiness even in this kind of a family. It is hard and it is impossible.

Here’s how you can change yourself, the only person in the situation that you can control. Start practicing the connecting habits that improve relationships:

  • Listen
  • Respect
  • Accept
  • Encourage
  • Support
  • Trust
  • Negotiate Differences

You may choose to practice these habits with family members, or with other people in your life outside of your family. Finding and practicing connecting habits will help you improve your ability to meet your need for love and belonging. Making strong, caring relationships with at least one other person is essential for mental health and happiness. These skills will help you move in that direction.

Stop practicing the disconnecting habits:

  • Criticize
  • Blame
  • Complain
  • Nag
  • Threaten
  • Punish
  • Bribe or reward

This is not going to be easy. It is difficult when you and other members of your family are practicing all of the disconnecting habits. You have all gotten into a rut, a habit of disconnecting.

But you can change. It might help if you remove yourself from the loud shouting matches until they have passed then try and connect again. Choose one of the connecting habits and practice. Make a list of all of the things you can say and do that are consistent with supporting, for example. Then practice. The more you practice, the more you will be able to stop the disconnecting behavior and choose a connecting behavior. You are developing a new skill, a new habit.

You will not immediately feel happier or better about spending time with your tension filled family. But you may start feeling happier and better about how you interact with your family members. In so doing you may be better able to meet your basic needs, be mentally healthier and happier.

It’s worth a try.