It’s been a rough year for many, a rough several years in fact. The holiday season can bring shudders and tears to folks who have lost family members or friends; who have lost jobs and income; who have seen illness come into their lives; or who have lost hope and aspiration.
There is a man on the verge of homelessness. He has suffered depression for years due to guilt he felt at the death of some family members – not that he was responsible, just that he felt he hadn’t treated them the best way possible. He became a hoarder, he has not worked in years, he feels unemployable and his house is now encumbered with debt and will soon be put up for a tax sale. How does he get his self-esteem back?
There is a family, torn by divorce and struggling to understand it’s new circumstances in order to deal with them. How do they move on with their lives?
There is an employee, laid off in 2009, still valiantly seeking work but secretly feeling his time is over. How does he find the blessings of the holiday season with no money to buy gifts?
There is a mother, worried over her grown son who was involved with drugs early in life and was recently hit by a car. How does she find the strength to help him on his road to independence?
There is a wife, still fighting cancer after undergoing breast cancer surgery years ago. How does she live without despair?
If you have been affected and have become depressed, anxious or stressed – how can you try to lift yourself up this holiday season?
Six Ideas for a Better Shot at Happiness
Please remember, these are only my ideas, I am not a professional health or care giver.
1. Forgive yourself.
Maybe you did mess up (or maybe you really didn’t). It doesn’t matter. Before you can move on, you have to forgive yourself. Re-establish your self-esteem. Don’t blame yourself for someone else’s mistake. Forget about what happened at your old company – they just didn’t need your talent anymore. Being sick is not your fault. Every child must leave the nest and take responsibility for their own actions.
Resource: Web MD Learning to Forgive Yourself We all mess up sometimes. So why is learning to forgive yourself a lot harder than forgiving others? By Jean Lawrence
2. Seek help and hope.
Put yourself in the path of kindness. Let someone know of your difficulties. Seek programs or organized assistance that will be of benefit to your situation. Don’t isolate yourself and moan about your life, find and utilize the help that is out there. Find programs that will provide counseling for depression, or hoarding or medical intervention or what ever it is that you need. Look for financial aide or community outreach programs that can let you provide your family with holiday meals and gifts.
Resource: Holiday Help Salvation Army – they have the Angel Giving Tree program (with JCPenney) to help give Christmas gifts to low-income children and senior citizens and the Red Kettle program which gives FREE dinners at Christmas. Enter your zip code in the directory on the Salvation Army contact web page, call or visit them to see what kind of help you can get. This will also connect you with other programs such as the Adopt-a-Family program in your area.
Resource: Find local charities by searching the internet with your town’s name + charity.
Resource: Hoarding help
Resource: Mental Heath counseling help
3. Start something new.
The wife with cancer I mentioned above started a new business and devotes herself to the Susan G. Komen Foundation. She lives her life, just like the rest of us, maybe better.
Go to school (there are free communiversity classes on a number of subjects in most communities), get re-trained for a new profession (there are numerous programs you could apply to for financial help); learn a new skill or start a new hobby; interact with different people – get out of your rut.
Resource: Free Job retraining programs
Resource: Communiversity classes: Search the interent with ‘communiversity’ to find local programs.
4. Find a new life direction.
Consciously determine what you want to happen in your life. Try to set at least one solid and realistic goal that you feel you can accomplish to start getting to that new direction. Align yourself with people who agree that your new direction is a good one and listen to what they have to say.
5. Help someone.
Find a way to give something of yourself that makes you feel good about yourself. Teach someone else something new. Give away a dollar in front of the thrift store. Serve as an usher at church or help out at the local soup kitchen.
6. Think differently.
Get a new attitude. You can’t expect a different result if you keep doing and thinking the same things you’ve always done and thought. Read books on new subjects. Try to understand someone else’s viewpoint. Participate in a new group that discusses things you haven’t yet discussed.
7. I know, it’s not easy.
It’s not easy, it’s not quick, but only you can really turn your life around. Only you can change the way you look at life. A change in attitude can help you view your world in a more favorable light and perhaps even get you started back on the path to happiness.
Please use the comments to list other resources you know about to help others put themselves in the path of happiness.
This post was written by Marie.