Years ago, when my minister told me the holidays are difficult for a lot of people, I didn’t have a clue what she was talking about. Why on earth would such a joyous time be difficult? That all changed when I was working my way through the sudden loss of husband and both parents. The holidays, I quickly learned, can indeed be difficult. I also learned there are some things you can do to make them a little easier. Here are some of the things that helped me:
1. Nurture yourself every way you can ~ in big ways and little ways, too.
2. What brings a smile to your face? Then do it!
3. Stop and have a cup of tea. Better yet, have that tea with a friend or family member. Warm tea can be comforting, the company of someone else even moreso.
4. Is there a book you’ve been wanting to read? Give yourself permission to curl up with it and forget the world for a while.
5. Bring flowers or a blooming plant into your home to honor your loved ones. Flowers mean life, and there is always life, both here and in the hereafter. Flowers are a beautiful way to honor the life you’ve shared with others.
6. Laugh every chance you can find. Fake it until you make it. Laughter is healing. Hearty laughter gets the endorphins going and lifts the spirit. Read funny books, watch a funny movie. Laughter picks you up and leaves you in a lighter place.
7. Get out and walk! Every day, if you can. If the weather won’t allow you to walk outside, then do it inside, either in your home or in a mall. I have a treadmill in my home, but when I’m not in the mood for the treadmill, then I “do the loop” around my house for twenty minutes. And did you know you can laugh while you’re walking? Try it! Just trying it makes you feel like laughing.
8. If you have favorite recipes, family favorites, or just plain comfort foods you particularly enjoy, this would be an excellent time to enjoy them. Give yourself permission to fix them. It’s just another way to nurture both body and soul.
9. Listen to what your body is asking for. The body never lies. If it’s wanting rest, then rest. If it really doesn’t want to do something, then don’t do it. The body is your best barometer – your best judge – of what is best for you at any given moment. So if you are in doubt about something, listen to your body. It is your sure and certain guide.
10. Do something new and different. Broaden your horizons. Change how you “always did it” to how you’d like to do it now.
11. Find a way to reach out and help others. Ask your heart how you can help, how you can serve. Compassionate living takes our attention off ourself and eases our burdens.
12. Fill your days – and your heart – with gratitude. You might want to begin by making a list of all the many ways you’ve been blessed. If you’re like me, when you stop and think about all that you have to be thankful for, you’ll find that the list never ends.