As 2016 continues its bobsled race to the finish line, there’s a lot going on. If the internet is any indication, there is a frenzy of shopping, baking, traveling and holiday-related socializing, not to mention end-of year work-related projects and deadlines to meet.
Andy Williams may sing that “It’s the most wonderful time of the year” but that’s not true for everyone.
Among all that glittering gaiety, there are people who are tired, over-extended, stressed, lonely, and even depressed, so it’s a good time to take a step back, take a breath, and give each other the benefit of the doubt.
“Holidays can be a time when the things that trigger depression–grief, disputes, transitions–are in abundance” ~ The Dana Foundation
Though it is a myth that there is an increase in suicides during the holidays, it’s certainly true that some can find the time stressful. Those who have lost loved ones may find the holidays especially difficult and those with few family or friends may increasingly lonely, especially when it seems that everyone else is out having a wonderful time (or pretending to). Grief, social isolation, and even unrealistic expectations about how the holidays should be, can make even the brightest of days seem grey.
“The secret to happiness is low expectations” ~ Barry Schwartz, The Paradox of Choice
So, if you see someone who seems to be having a difficult time, offer a helping hand; if you’re finding things overwhelming try reaching out to others; and above all, try to be kind, both to yourself and to others. The world can be a challenging place to be in sometimes, but kindness can make things just a little brighter.
I’ll leave you with this video from the Cleveland Clinic on Empathy. Though it was created for health care providers, it’s a good reminder for all of us that there can be a lot going on with people below the surface and everyone can use a little kindness.
Peace and joy to all.