By Mark Eastburg, PhD
Everywhere you look during the holidays – the malls, your neighbors’ yard, television, your mailbox – a word jumps out: Joy.
This is the season of joy, we’re told. But do you experience a solid rush of Joy from Black Friday through Christmas day? Most of us don’t. In fact, ask around and you’ll hear things like “I’m just so busy during the holidays.” Or, “the last few weeks have been really stressful trying to get all my shopping done.” For many, the glitzy ads and sales are only painful reminders of tough economic circumstances.
It’s ironic that the “season of joy” has become associated with stress and busyness for some. The rituals are really there to help us celebrate: the large family dinners, the gift giving, the colorful decorations, the dressing up. But in an effort to “get everything done,” the joy can get lost.
But we can find it again. We just need to take a step back and consider the sources of joy in our lives – both past and present.
In the middle of all the group celebrations today, I’d encourage you to think about and rediscover what have been your own sources of joy in life. And move toward those sources of joy.
These sources are unique as you. But here are some ideas to get you started: Do you remember being outside in the cold, fresh air as a child? Go outside, close your eyes, and imagine you are a 9-year-old again. Or remember being outside as at particularly happy time in your life.
Can you think of an old friend, someone that brought you great joy, but haven’t spoken to in awhile? Give him, or her, a call, out of the blue. Go beyond Facebook – reconnect live. Tell them one thing that you remember about them that brings you joy today.
Listen to your favorite music, by yourself, away from everyone for a few minutes. Recall why you enjoy this music so much. When was the first time you heard it?
For those who celebrate Christmas because its significance as the time of the coming of Christ, take time away from the group to reflect on what this means for you.
Joy does not automatically come with our holiday rituals. Like the travelers in the original Christmas story, we have to go find its source. Find your source this holiday season.
Mark Eastburg, PhD, is president and chief executive officer at Pine Rest since 2006, and is a clinical psychologist who maintains a small practice. He has worked at Pine Rest for 20 years and has held a senior administrator position since 1997.