When we pull things out of storage to decorate for the holidays, they generate memories. Some of those memories initiate smiles as we think about the how, when and where behind the item. Some put a tear in the corner of our eye for the same reasons. Changes made. Loved ones lost.
We may choose to go all out with our decor or be a total Scrooge. Our style may be a yard full of inflatables or a single table full of candles and pine. We have choices that go with our moods and our life circumstances. They vary.
The holidays and the end of the year are a time for reflection. It’s a time to remember both past holidays, loved ones here, gone, near and far, as well as moments since January 1st. It’s a time of reflection on recent success and missed or missing opportunities. It’s also a time for increasing our awareness of others. Those with whom we will celebrate and those who have faded into the background of life. That also varies.
Many of us will be supercharged with the feel good hormones this season. However, the holidays can also be very difficult. Love and loneliness. It’s a strange combination of feelings for a holiday season. Yet, the days from Thanksgiving into the drab weeks of January can be challenging for the mental health of many, especially the lonely.
Holidays can exacerbate loneliness and have a profound effect on physical health. Psychology and neuroscience professor Julianne Holt-Lundstad says, “We need to take our social relationships as seriously as we take diet, exercise, nutrition and everything else we know impacts our health.”
As we consider our gift lists and our end of year donations, we should probably consider “donating” some of our time and attention to someone who could be experiencing loneliness or disconnection at this time. One call. One visit. Even a lone e-mail or text can create a memorable moment for the recipient.
Receiving the gift of awareness that “You Matter” is significant. Who do you know who would appreciate that gift this month?