Not everyone is merry.
All are not glad.
Some folks look forward to holidays
While others are sad.

Heads up – this is raw and real. This is the time of year where, out of the blue, it can feel like things are just not as happy as we would like them to be. Sometimes just reflecting on what has not worked out, or asking why this or that happened can cause sadness.

Maybe it’s a friend or family that’s no longer in our life; some by choice and many times not. Maybe there are other struggles that have not been shared with anyone. And one only needs to look at social media to think we simply don’t measure up to the smiles and good cheer so many people project. Just remember that people put their best face on for the world to see.

However, there are some things that CAN help. Although it sounds kind of cheesy, just consider:

  1. Listen to a positive and motivating podcast or YouTube.   We have so much at our fingertips if we just utilize it. No Wi-Fi… there’s the library with free access with a library card or an ID.
  2. Look for the things that hold beauty around you. The trees, the sky, the stars at night… whatever draws you to look further.
  3. Write it down.  List all the doom and gloom, then immediately afterward write the word “however” and then write the opposite. For example: 

“I feel (sad or down), however, I can go look at the lights in my neighborhood and that usually cheers me up.” Keep on writing until the mood passes. 

  1.  Reach out. You are not alone. There is always someone else around that needs uplifting as well. 

Finally, to highlight some tips listed below taken from a handout from the Ohio Association of County Behavioral Health. Authorities.  

  • Think ahead. Holidays often bring home relatives that are eager to talk about their successes. This can be painful for those who feel left behind.
  •  Get help with holiday tasks.
  • Give yourself permission to enjoy the holidays. 
  • If the support of a therapist is needed. Make an appointment early. 

Here’s a recipe for supporting yourself and your loved ones.  

 1 heaping cup of awareness of how others may be experiencing the holidays;

3 Cups of empathy for those who may be struggling; 

2 generous dashes of respect. 

(See their website www.oachba.org for more information.)

Lastly,  let me tell you a little story that happened at Christmas time, many years ago.  I lived way out in the country and had two little kids. So, I got the brilliant idea of cutting down our own tree from our own woods. So, with a chainsaw in hand, (what a scary thought that is now) we climb the snowy hillside behind our pond on our quest. Now, let me set the scene, it was not long until dark and that was significant later on considering visibility was probably not the best.

Soon on our trek… Yes! We found the “perfect” tree.  So, with a chainsaw in hand, and trying not to slide down the hill in the process, I cut down the tree and we begin to drag it down the hill. 

It was one of those times where there was snow on the ground so you could see our path coming and going down the hill. This was a good thing since the darkness was soon closing in on us. As I pushed and pulled to get that tree into the house, I nearly sprung the door from its spring. Somehow, I never noticed how short and wide that thing was. As I gave it a final push to get it in the door, glass dishes on the racks of a nearby hutch began to topple everywhere. As I am scrambling to keep them from breaking, a branch slapped me in the face and snow-covered my entire face and I couldn’t see anything. 

Only then did I discover that the trunk of the tree was completely crooked from growing on the side of the hill. There was no amount of trimming that base to make it go into a tree stand. So out comes a drywall bucket. It went down in alright but wouldn’t stay. Next was to weigh the bucket down with a bunch of heavy rocks to keep the tree in place. We quickly decorated it and headed to bed. 

The morning brought us a sight of a fallen tree and broken ornaments everywhere. After picking it up three times… yes, three, I finally wrapped a rope around it in the middle and tied it to a doorknob. 

I’d like to say that I thought it was funny then but I don’t think I found the humor in it at the time. I do have to laugh at that situation now. I know that no pulling a tree out of a box will ever compare to that Christmas tree.

Just looking back to that time puts a smile on my face for just a brief moment and always breaks any heaviness of heart I may be feeling. And that’s what I want for you too. Find something… anything… to pause and reflect upon to lift your spirits too.

Unfortunately, I didn’t save a picture of that much crooked, short, fat tree, but here’s one of a baby spruce I will share with you that sprung up in my yard and a few feet from that a holly bush which also began growing, without me planting either one. 

Baby Spruce
Baby Holly
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