Happy Holidays Everyone! Before I get to my subject of the month, I wanted to share our little “Charlie Brown” tree. My husband is suffering from tendonitis so lifting anything is difficult right now. So I decided that getting a tree that was manageable for me to carry myself would be the way to go this year. I love this little tree! Less really is more!!
Every year at this time numerous stories give advice on how to deal with the stress of the holidays. For many it can be a difficult time of year. The holidays can trigger so many different emotions especially when you have lost loved ones. There are many who spend the holidays alone which can bring on depression and anxiety. Then there are those that just burn the candle at both ends gift shopping, attending and planning parties, baking, sending cards, decorating their homes, spending too much money, eating and drinking too much and all this happens within about a four week time frame. Some of it can be fun and festive but it can also bring on stress.
All that being said what I realized this year is that we bring the burnout on ourselves. You cannot control having lost loved ones and we need to feel compassion for anyone who spends the holidays alone but over indulging in every way then complaining about it is not what the holidays represent. With the current state of the economy and approximately 15 million Americans out of work this can really be a time of reflection and practicing the genuine meaning of what the holiday is all about.
If you have ever been to a shelter or worked at a food pantry you will give thanks everyday to have the basic necessities of life. There are many parents who cannot afford to give their children gifts this year. Many are doing it even though they are having financial trouble and shouldn’t be. Explaining to your children that you may not have the money to buy presents and instead make gifts for each other or even better to do something special for someone who is less fortunate is a way to teach them that there is more to life than always getting things. It can turn an unfortunate situation into a positive and valuable life experience that your children will look back on with fondness. Most kids I know have more stuff than they can ever use before they even go to high school. Much emphasis is put on material items and money. Not enough is put on human kindness and charity. Giving to someone who has less than you or is in need has twofold benefits. You are helping someone but in return you get so much in the way of satisfaction. Giving is the best natural high you can get. I remember hearing Dr. Wayne Dyer discussing a study on serotonin levels. Serotonin is the “happy “chemical in our brains that is responsible for the positive feelings we experience. It is the same chemical reproduced in anti-depressants to help people feel better. People who are deficient in serotonin can suffer from depression and anxiety. The study discussed serotonin levels in people who have both performed and received acts of kindness. The receivers’ levels were higher than they were before the kindness occurred. The givers levels were higher than before they gave. And even the people just witnessing the kind gesture had increases in their serotonin levels. So how about decking the halls with kindness and generosity this season…It is truly the gift that keeps on giving.
Wishing you all a holiday season filled with love, gratitude and peace,