The hol­i­days and the mixed emo­tions they bring

Tri-County Vanguard - - OP-ED - Kristy Her­ron

The hol­i­days cre­ate mixed emo­tions in all of us. I am aware there are many who ex­pe­ri­ence pro­found de­pres­sion or de­spair, while oth­ers go to great lengths to savour the sea­son.

We all know peo­ple who go all out with trees, gift giv­ing/shop­ping and cook­ing. The folks who truly see the po­ten­tials and look for­ward to this sea­son all year long. Yet, for those who find this time a phe­nom­e­nal chal­lenge there are a few tips that can help make it less stress­ful.

Firstly, let’s think about ac­tiv­i­ties, ex­pe­ri­ences and the peo­ple who would make the hol­i­day most ful­fill­ing. Em­pha­size qual­ity over quan­tity and do what makes you happy.

Next, re­mem­ber there is no such thing as an iconic “pic­ture per­fect” Christ­mas. Hol­i­day mir­a­cles and magic hap­pen when we get out of our own way. Let go and al­low the hol­i­day to un­fold as it will. Savour sim­ple yet sig­nif­i­cant hol­i­day mo­ments and plea­sures. En­joy a cup of cof­fee with an old friend or wan­der through a brightly-lit street. Lis­ten to the laugh­ter of chil­dren play­ing or watch as they tell Santa their wishes and dreams. If it is your de­sire, at­tend a church ser­vice, a con­cert and lis­ten to the mu­sic.

Cul­ti­vate a spirit of gen­uine grat­i­tude and giv­ing. If you have a job in this econ­omy, you’re ex­tremely for­tu­nate. If you have a home, you’re dou­bly blessed. If you’re in good health, you’re richer than you can imag­ine.

Pay your bless­ings for­ward. In­fuse hope, love and gen­eros­ity into an all-too-of­ten dreary world. Give what you can and be grate­ful for all you have been given. Re­mem­ber the most trea­sured gifts are those that are not costly, such as a warm hand­shake, a gen­uine hug or a pleas­ant smile. As dis­tressed as you are there is al­ways some­one else who could use a touch of cheer and kind­ness. It may be that you have to force your­self to go out among other peo­ple, but if you make the ef­fort, there are re­wards.

Be­gin to rein­vent your­self for the New Year. Let’s face it, 2018 was not a ban­ner year for a lot of us. Clos­ing out 2018 to wel­come in 2019 will prob­a­bly prove to be a bit of a re­lief for many. What are your goals and as­pi­ra­tions? Shift your think­ing to see this hol­i­day sea­son as the kick-off pe­riod to launch a new, fresh ver­sion of your­self.

Your life is a blank can­vas. Set these goals in mo­tion. Give your­self the best hol­i­day gift imag­in­able – a hap­pier, health­ier you.

How­ever, if you con­tinue to strug­gle or you see a friend in the same frame of mind, seek out the sup­port of a pro­fes­sional who is able to help you or your friend cope. There is al­ways a pas­tor, a priest, a physi­cian or a coun­sel­lor who un­der­stands. We talk openly about al­most ev­ery­thing, yet we con­tinue to whis­per about mental health is­sues.

Re­mem­ber you are not as alone as you be­lieve your­self to be at this time.

With all this in your arse­nal then you can be­gin to fo­cus on the con­cept that the hol­i­day sea­son will be the cat­a­lyst to take you from one sig­nif­i­cant pe­riod of your life to the next.

It is an in­vi­ta­tion to re-ex­am­ine spir­i­tual or philo­soph­i­cal truths and ideals in or­der to en­ter the New Year with a re­newed sense of hope and op­ti­mism.

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