We will look back on this holiday season as one that tested us. But we are marvelous human beings who can transcend challenges. This year has shown that to us – dedicated front-line workers, many acts of kindness to counteract the people who can’t think in terms of the greater good, a massive global effort to make vaccines.
This season, be compassionate to yourself and others. According to neuroscientist Daniel Levin, generosity, compassion and gratitude actually change our brains, including those parts that govern our own immune systems.
My entire province is going into lockdown on Boxing Day for several weeks to curb the rising number of Covid cases that are pushing our hospital system to its limits. Today I sent my hubby over to our senior aunt’s with a box full of Christmas food – it’s a safe way to share a bit of the holiday with her and let her know she’s cared for even if we all can’t be together.
Tonight we’ll eat the same food ourselves, watch Disney’s A Christmas Carol, and snuggle in as a big winter storm heads our way tonight. For the next few weeks, we’ll spend our time at home as peacefully and wisely as we can, and we’ll make a point of appreciating what we do have.
I grew up in northern Ontario where storms were always extreme. It didn’t just rain, it came down in torrents so heavy that my dad would often have to pull our car over to the side of the road to wait for the storm to clear. Fogs were similarly dense. Snow was always heavy and could block the roads for days, and keep us trapped inside our farmhouse with our wood stove and wood-burning furnace, but my parents always made sure we were well-stocked with food and essentials. Survival meant making the best of things, and I grew up loving storms for that feeling of hunkering down inside, safe and snug.
For this holiday season, I wish all of you a sense of snuggling in to wait out the pandemic storm.
Be kind to yourself and others, and do simple things of comfort and peace.
Light candles – the real kind, because fire has represented comfort and safety ever since our early days living in caves and we feel its cultural influence even today.
Do something different – eat a different meal, read a new book – to combat cabin fever, and enjoy the traditions that give you a sense of stability.
Give yourself an emotional break – watch shows that make you smile, play games, take walks, let the news run along without you from time to time.
I wish everyone all the serenity and joy you are able to find this year. Remember that this is a season of hope, and of light in the darkness. Keep looking toward the light.