The challenges of a multi-year pandemic can be overwhelming during the holidays.
For me, the pandemic hasn't effected the holiday season near as much as the death of my parents.
Even though that was 10 years ago and I'm a grown adult,
I still get lonely and sad, as I suspect many people do this time of year
when confronted with their own stories of loss.
I also still feel joy and happiness.
I've accepted all of this as part of the journey,
and have found ways to cope
that take the sting out of the loneliness.
Here are my 4 favorite ways to move past the holiday blues:
Take stock of the past year, focusing on the people with whom you shared joyful moments.
Write them an email, card, or text and thank them for being part of your journey at those times.
Honor your loved ones who are no longer with you by lighting a candle, using something of theirs,
or some type of simple ritual. This will remind you how much they are still a part of your life
through their influence and your memories of them.
Think of the people who wanted more of your time recently. Give them a call or make a plan
to do something with them. When we're focusing on what we don't have, we often miss out on appreciating
the people and things we do have.
Cherish your own life by giving yourself time and attention.
Watch your favorite movie. Read a new book. Do something you've always wanted to do.
What we see in seasonal advertisements or shows is often idealized. Our memories of holidays past
can also be idealized as we remember the best of times with nostalgia and forget the worst.
The time that matters most is the time you have right now.
That's not to say your sadness is wrong or should be dismissed. Rather, it's a messenger,
and it's reminding you to get out of your head and actively appreciate what you have right now.
Dr. Nancy Williams is a music educator and leadership & life coach who helps overachievers create more joy and empowerment.