The season for giving has the potential for offering gifts from the dark side that may not be worth receiving. While many are focused on parties, shopping and celebration, there is a segment of the human race fighting to get out from under a dark cloud of despair. If you are one of those people, or know someone in the struggle here are 10 tips to get focused on the positive.
1 - Set a date to make or bake holiday gifts with the purpose of giving to those who may need a loving touch.
2 - Go serve the homeless at a mission or outreach center to possibly create a new tradition (especially if past traditions have been shaken by death or divorce) and be reminded that things really could be worse! You will be amazed at how many children are living in these centers.
3 - Grab a friend or family member and go watch a parade, holiday movie or live event together. Get out and do something! Being active helps the heart.
4 - Make a plan today on how and where you will celebrate the key trigger dates; Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Years etc... Staying in limbo with no plan only feeds feelings of isolation.
5 - Go ice skating, sledding, jogging, or enjoy a bike ride even if it is cold outside. Exercise gets endorphins operating to eliminate pain and elevate the mood.
6 - Find someone that can sing and go caroling! Senior homes and convalescent facilities would be thrilled to see a friendly face who took time to visit them. (They don't care about the quality of your voice).
7 - Deliver cookies or inexpensive gifts to people you know who may be having a difficult time. Perhaps they recently lost their job or a loved one. The smallest gesture can bring hope to those in the depths of despair.
8 - Reconnect with old friends with whom you have a history. Perhaps there is an old co-worker, neighbor or face from the past that went through good and bad times with you. Taking time for a phone call or cup of coffee together can help remind us that we made it through the ill fortunes of the past; surely this current situation shall pass as well.
9 - Reach out to someone you don't know well; a senior who has lost their spouse or a new neighbor in town and invite them over for a glass of holiday cheer. They may be shy and don't have the boldness to insert themselves into the lives of others, making them lonelier than you!
10 - Grab a bag of goodies, mini stuffed animals, hair ties, match box cars or whatever seems right and go visit a children’s hospital. That in itself is a reality check.