Winter can be a difficult time for many people. The weather turns cold and it seems at times the sun has taken an extended vacation. It is easy to be like the bears and want to hibernate, but isolating ourselves is the worse thing we can do. How can we find joy when the weather seems so depressing and it feels like we just want to sit in bed until spring arrives?
We experience joy all around us, if we are open and mindful of nature’s sounds and sights. Sometimes we are so busy we forget to look at the clouds or hear the birds singing. Even in winter, the trees have something to say. They may appear barren, but have you ever noticed their beautiful shape and how their bareness has a beauty of its own?
The people we see daily can also give us joy. For example, we can experience joy when someone smiles at us. It seems like such a simple gesture, yet they are glad to see us and are making an effort to let us know that. What about the laugh of a child or a baby? Or the love of a kitten or puppy? If we stop to think about it, joy can be heard and seen without effort.
Why is it important to be joyful?
Joy can help us find our inner strength and peace. It helps us be caring and thoughtful. People enjoy others who are positive: its human nature. However, the main reason to be joyful is that is helps us feel good about ourselves and others. It is much easier to be positive when we are joyful. It is easier to handle the challenges of each day when we an effort to see the joy around us.
When times are difficult, we need
to know that there is Joy!
Things will get better.
Let us be mindful of
all the joy that’s
in front of us today
Let our eyes,
and ears be open
to all the opportunities
We can give
and receive joy
Yes, joy is here, today!
Holidays can be especially hard for people who have families that are having difficulties and may bring back old memories of past abuse or times we were disappointed. Holidays can bring the best or the worst out in us. I have found some suggestions that I have heard from experts and friends which seem to work well. We see movies of loving families having sentimental moments as they eat dinner and touching reunions, but the truth is many times Christmas can be stressful and we might feel glad when it’s over. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Here are some suggestions that have helped me in the past.
1. Expectations – We might have an expectation that because it’s Christmas the family will magically turn into the Huxtables who were on the Bill Cosby Show. We dream of a joyful visit, wonderful food, and much laughter. In some families that may be reality, however, in many families that probably isn’t the case. How our family is the rest of the year will probably be the way they will be on Christmas. The person who drinks too much and becomes obnoxious will most likely drink again. The person who is critical won’t change and the two or three people who never get along may have the same challenge. Knowing this- we can approach the day with a plan on how we are going to react and enjoy the loving moments and encourage them.
2. Attitude – We might not be able to change the situation but we do have control of our attitude. If we go to Christmas with the attitude of just trying to get through it and dreading being with the family we will probably have an awful time. If we focus on the positive aspects and attempt to bring out the caring nature of the family it could actually be fun. In our family when we start dinner we each say what we are thankful for and what we appreciate about the person the next to us. At first they were shy about expressing these feelings but now it’s a welcome tradition.
3. Don’t over-drink alcohol – Some of the biggest disasters during Christmas are due to people being drunk and doing and saying things they would never do if they were sober. Have a glass of wine if you like, but don’t have two, three, or four. What might happen after you are drunk may affect your life forever.
4. Have fun! Think of something your family has in common. For instance they might like to play games or sports. This can make an enjoyable day and something children will remember when they become older. This can also be a tradition.
5. Tell your family how much you love them – Many times we assume our family knows we love them- challenges and all- and so we never tell them. That might just be what the person who is critical needs to hear. We don’t know how long we will have each person in our family. Illness and accidents can take them from us in an instant. Now is the time to show your love!
Most of all, experience the joy you desire and have fun!
. I facilitate spiritual retreats in dance, art and sharing. Learn more about me at www.CindyTuttleTheAuthor.com