Pleasant thoughts of food, family and holiday decorations can be a source of joy for many people.  They can also be a source of stress.  Holidays are a time when we look back and remember.  Memories of past holidays can bring up a mix of feelings.

These memories may bring up a longing for the way things were, feeling that things are just not as good this year as they have been in past years.  We may miss those who have died and are no longer with you during the holiday season.  We may miss our children who are now living on the other coast, or we may find ourselves missing a brother or a sister or a friend that we seldom see or talk with, or even a spouse that we divorced many years before.

The holidays can be an opportunity to reconnect with people that we miss, that we haven’t seen in a while, as well as make new connections.  It can be an opportunity to reconnect with those we have been estranged from and in conflict with.  It is a time to put old hurts in the past.  To let bygones be bygones.

Take the opportunities that the holidays present to be with others.  To talk with others about how things were and are.  About the people in your life that you miss and are no longer with.  Call, write, use social media to reconnect.  To make amends.  Take time for yourself to heal.  Churches often have Blue Christmas services during the holiday season for those who are grieving a loss.  A parent.  A spouse.  A child.  One’s health.  One’s job.  But if you continue to feel overwhelmed by sadness or grief, consider talking with a professional, such as a psychologist, to help you find ways of coping with and managing your stress.  The holidays offer many opportunities to celebrate life, to heal old wounds, and to act on your values and beliefs.  Take advantage of these opportunities.

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