When I think of the holidays, (and Christmas as that is what I grew up with), in addition to the tree, the lights and decorations that I love, I think of the foundational values which are part of Christmas and other traditions as well – kindness, generosity, beauty, peace, love and connection, breaking bread together. The hope for a better world that embraces these values fully.
The bringing of light to the darkness can illuminate the dark places inside us as well as out in the world, making it a time of stress, grief, loneliness, regret, unmet hopes and expectations, anxiety and even despair. In later life it can get complicated due to health issues, split families, divorce, a new marriage, and multiple children and grandchildren with their own families.
This time of year intensifies all our blessings and challenges. It can be difficult to navigate! Here are a few reminders to help you navigate your holiday season:
Keep it simple – Give yourself permission to make this holiday your own. For Thanksgiving, our family broke a long-standing tradition of a fancy table, a big meal, etc. My niece created a family picnic in the park for us – no big table to set, no dishes to clean up, no worries about toddlers getting messy and spilling food and drink on the floor, or of babies crying, just sweet casual time together in a forgiving environment. It was a first for our family and it was perfect. For Christmas, to reduce stress, the adults in the family won’t be exchanging presents this year.
Take good care of yourself – Take a break, walk in nature. Embrace the love, laughter and tears, and reach out for help from a friend or a professional if you are suffering or feel stuck.
Practice gratitude – Engage in a daily gratitude practice, focusing on the simple things (the things we appreciate most later in the life can’t be bought) – tea with a friend, a hot shower, a lit candle, the awe and wonder of a beautiful sunrise or sunset, a good meal, the health of a loved one, a good night’s rest, the comfort of a beloved pet. Research shows this practice improves health, reduces stress, and helps us stay open to the blessings in our lives.
Blessings to you and your loved ones and thank you for helping to make it a good year!
Sabrina Roblin, CPCC, a former executive and co-founder of Life Reinspired, is happily enjoying her best chapter of life. She now helps others do the same. Schedule a free Life Reinspired Strategy Session or email firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.