The holidays and the mixed emotions they bring
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.