Usually at this time of year we’re talking about how to survive the holidays with your family. This year, however, the conversation is about how to endure not being with family. It’s a whole new kind of holiday stress.
Time to Slow Down
At The Juniper Center we’re hearing from people that they are experiencing fatigue of COVID and general disappointment with how the year has gone, another season lost. With so many BIG things cancelled, from public gatherings to family get-togethers, now is a great time to slow down and relish the SMALL things. No matter what you celebrate, if you celebrate, or not, I’m suggesting you give yourself permission to slow down and find momentary joy.
How to Make a Moment Special
Joy doesn’t always have to be with a capital “J.” Think about how you can appreciate day-to-day things: the pattern the sun makes on the floor as it shines through a window (your cat knows), smelling the aroma of fresh baked cookies (hint: bake some cookies). Take a picture of the moment and send it to friends or family. Sharing the experience with others makes it last even longer.
The other day my son wanted hot chocolate. He is 14 and schooling from home. I’m working remotely. We stopped and made the moment meaningful. Think of what appeals to all your senses in these simple interactions. The smell of hot cocoa. The coolness of a splash of peppermint. The sweet creaminess and decadence of EXTRA whipped cream. I found myself delighting in just watching “my baby” drink his hot chocolate as we savored the moment together.
Allow Yourself to Collect what’s Available
It’s likely easy to make a list of what we can’t do right now. In fact, our brains are wired to look for the negative first. This harkens back to when our “fight, flight, or freeze” response was tied to survival. Our nervous systems evolved to quickly scan and search for threats in the environment, in a way that no longer serves us.
I challenge you to make a list of five things you can do now to bring a smile. Drive past houses with holiday decorations. Make a gingerbread house—from scratch or a kit. Give yourself permission to slow everything down and experience simple moments through all your senses.