This holiday season is unlike any in the recent past. Whatever your New Year 2020 goals were, this year has likely looked differently than what you planned or anticipated. With mental health concerns, high societal stress, and the post-election strains, intentionally talking hope is helpful.
But how can you intentionally put the hope back in the holidays?
I'd like to share an acronym—one that will help you break down, clarify, and remember how you can adopt hope.
Service can help serve the server. The cliché of getting back more than is given is so true. Find ways to help a neighbor, serve a stranger, or support an organization you care about and suddenly your worries feel lighter. From coat drives to good old-fashioned caroling with your household, the season becomes brighter when the focus goes from self to selfless. Don't make it too complicated. Simple is best this time of year.
What you focus on increases. What you think, you become. With limited minutes in a day, consider what thoughts you are fostering. If you are lacking optimism, refocusing on positive thoughts increases positive thinking.
Start a gratitude Christmas chain or simply sit around the Christmas tree at night and have a family chat about what you are grateful for. If you live alone, consider a nightly text with a friend who may also be alone this season.
Humans are wired for connection. With COVID restrictions this year, intentional effort may be needed in our relationships. Consider reconnecting with someone with whom you have lost touch. Write a HOPE letter. Let them know what you "hope" for them. What you appreciate and admire. Old-fashioned stamps and paper last long after a text.
Stuff or people? What if instead of buying more things that need batteries or wrapping, expand your list to include experiences instead of just things. Putting together puzzles, going on vacation, or taking a class together enable you to cultivate memories. So instead of more wrapping, slow down to connect.
Maybe these ideas aren't the exact ones you'd like to implement, but hopefully they will inspire you with things you can do to put more H.O.P.E. in your holidays. Start a new tradition or revisit an old one with an emphasis on hope. If ever there was a year hope is needed, it is this year as we start over, go to Plan B, and make some real connections.