The holiday season is all about reflection, love, thankfulness, oh yeah, and a little word called “Joy” :). The time when we visit those closest to us and share in the merriment of the season. The spirit of the season abounds and we are all automatically supposed to feel good about ourselves, our lives, and our situations. If only it were that easy! Many of us have lost loved ones, lost jobs, lost stability, or are just plain lost. No amount of holiday cheer is going to remove the loss in our lives.
I’m not trying to sound like the Scrooge here. I have always loved the holidays, but I have had difficult seasons over the years. Last year was especially hard. It was the first year that I spent Christmas Day alone. My ex and I had separated just a few months before and he had the kids. I sat in my house watching sappy holiday movies crying. Many thoughts ran through my head. Had I made the right decision? Will it ever get easier? How will this impact my kids? This was before my intuition had developed within me and I felt so lost and alone. I didn’t know how to make myself feel better. Then something happened. I remembered a few Christmases before that where I had been thrown across the room after having said the wrong thing at my in-laws house. I said to myself “Thank you God. At least it isn’t THAT Christmas.” Then I remembered the fat lip I got on my honeymoon, the backhanded slaps I received several times over the past years. “Thank you God. At least I am out of that situation.” A glimmer of happiness came over me. I went to the pantry, pulled out hot chocolate and cookies and celebrated with myself. I was NOT going to wallow anymore. At least I had found the strength to leave my bad marriage and make a better life for me and my kids. On that day, the “Joy List” was born. I often tell my clients who are on the verge of giving up or feeling low to write a list of things that bring them joy. It can be the smallest thing like sitting in the sunshine or drinking a cup of tea. It doesn’t have to be elaborate. Whatever it is that brings you joy. Write it down. Then daily look at the list and do one thing. It doesn’t matter how the rest of your day goes. You will be able to reflect on your day and say “Thank you God, at least I was able to do ______.” We get back what we put out. Our lives may be in desperate need of change. You may be at the end of your rope. You may want to give up, but if you find your joy, you will feel your peace. The “Joy List” is the first step to do that. It will take time, but you will find it.