The holidays are here . . . there is hope, my friends, hope to enjoy the memories being created, hope to share in joy and thanksgiving, hope to walk away with a smile instead of trying to shake off negative thoughts and feelings. For many of us, the holidays bring stress, anxiety, perhaps anger. But, in times like those, it is good to remember . . .
The tingling of a stream running through a forest A cozy fire to warm up our increasingly older bones A blanket which feels cozy and secure The passion in the eyes of a lover, even if it was many years ago How the Grinch stole Christmas and Rudolf the Red Nose Reindeer Those are just a few things to reflect on when life seems interminable, frustrating, depressing. There are people who can offer comfort. Or, wait for it . . . you can give comfort to others and to yourself. There is positivity to offer renewal – of our associations with others and our relationship with ourselves. This is especially true for those of us with thought disturbances and/or mental and emotional ones. When you are sitting at a table with more than 5 people, just remember you aren’t the only one – 1 in 5 people have some sort of mental/addiction/biochemical challenge – you are likely not as alone as you may think.
When you yearn to change your thoughts, move a muscle:
Volunteer or share the meal at a Shelter or Food Kitchen Exercise – max out those endorphins Watch some of the old charmers – Bells of Saint Mary, Christmas Carol, Christmas in CT . . . Call someone who understands and remember crisis centers if need be Calmly but clearly express your feelings, share those feelings where it matters Go to the Religious organization of your choosing and practice the traditions you grew up with
Don’t be afraid to leave the holiday gathering – go in another room to compose yourself, go for a walk, smile (just using those muscles changes your mood, even just a little). Feel the love you have for your friends and family, even when they disappoint you, you’re not the only person who can benefit from a hug.
Most of all, remember the meaning of the holidays . . . religious/spiritual, loving, sharing, giving of oneself to others. Remember . . . whatever your circumstances, you are Blessed.