The holiday season can be a busy and challenging time, but with some planning ahead it can still be a healthy time. This year does not have to be a repeat of previous years, and in some cases that would be impossible.
Perhaps you’ve lost someone who used to be part of your life. Perhaps you have new people in your life. Whether you’re experiencing loss or change (death, divorce, a new empty nest, remarriage, a blended family, or no family), you can let go of any expectations of a “typical” holiday and decide right now to create one of your own.
My own family situation has changed this year, and I’ll be spending the holidays with a branch of the family I rarely see – some of whom I’ve never even met. This is an incredible opportunity to discover new people, hear fascinating new stories, and be part of a whole new group.
Even if you’re spending the holidays with the same people, you can create a new experience for yourself and others. Here are just a few possible ways to do that:
Get out into nature – Outdoor activities can be physically uplifting, and can also cultivate a deep spiritual experience. Sharing this as a group can be very special. This could be family, or a family of choice – whomever you most want to spend time with.
Give gratitude greetings – We know that it’s healing to make lists of things we’re grateful for, but you can take it one step further. Thank the people who make a difference in your life, and tell them exactly why you’re thankful for them.
Make a day of it – Start new outings like a cousins’ brunch, a sisters’ spa day, or a Thanksgiving tea party. Or volunteer together as a group – as you give back, chances are you’ll gain even more.
Unplug – Take an electronics break for a few days, a few hours or a few minutes – whatever you’re able to do. Encourage others to join you. You can even try a friendly competition to see who can hold out the longest!
Let go – This idea is especially powerful towards the end of the year. Find a way to send off what you no longer need. You can throw rocks or shells into the water to symbolize shedding things from your life. If you’re already having a bonfire or fire pit, you can burn papers or other symbolic items noting something(s) to release at this time.
What type of holiday season do you want to have this year? Make it your own!