The busy holiday times of November and December provide all sorts of lovely distractions with lights, special food, visitors and presents. For just a little while people are happier and friendlier, families pay attention to each other and the world is dressed up to celebrate.
All too soon the trees are thrown to the curb, the decorations packed away and when it is all over we feel deflated. We're back to the same old life and for some that might be a dull, discouraging and lonely place. Even the news continues to be full of disasters and unemployment. We heave a big sigh and wonder if it is true that nothing ever changes. Reality seems hopeless.
None of this is new, if you've lived long enough, so why do we feel a gloomy disappointment every January? Why can't we capture the magic and energy of the holidays and infuse every day with something special? Let's look at what it would take to raise our spirits anytime of the year.
There are two key ingredients, which will make a difference: adding light and giving love. Both will energize you. Work on getting and giving a daily dose of these and you'll find reality has a silver lining.
Let's start with light. There are so many possibilities to add light to your day. Make it personal for your circumstances but here are some ideas to get you started.
· Literally add some light with a new lamp, a candle, or a pretty night light. Light a candle in the middle of the day.
DoDon't wait until spring. Buy some colorful and inexpensive artificial flowers.
ThiThink sparkle. Do you have jewelry you're not wearing or shiny china and silverware you're not using? Can you find a sun catcher or prism to hang in the window?
AdAnd color with pillows, paint or scarves. Add color to your meal with fruits and vegetables. Add color by playing in a hobby you have been ignoring.
Note I said playing not accomplishing something. Your goal is to enjoy yourself.
Get moving and achieve a natural glow. Take a brisk walk however long, inside or outside. Put on some music and dance. Standing or sitting, just wiggle something! Become the conductor of your favorite symphony. Watch a musical.
The lead character of the Broadway musical Mame, knew we needed to bring some glitter into our everyday lives. Auntie Mame belts out "We Need a Little Christmas" long before the season began and just as everyone is feeling a little sadder and a little older. You know it is working if something makes you smile or you find your body relaxing with contentment.
The second ingredient is giving love by nurturing relationships. We can really sabotage this aspect by waiting for others to contact us or worrying about bothering people but it's time to put aside your hurt feelings and make it a priority each and every day to reach out and connect with people. Smile and wave at others or ask them how they are. It takes seconds. Write a note, make a phone call or send a silly card for no reason except you're thinking of them.
Each and everyday experiment with these ideas and no excuses, even the smallest amount makes a difference. All year around give yourself the gift of brightening your surroundings, and give others the gift of connecting. Light and love, that's all it takes.
By Jane Parker