On the fourth Thursday of November, Americans of all religious faiths, personal beliefs and purpose, pause to give thanks. Other countries also celebrate Thanksgiving with different dates and customs. Beliefs and traditions about how the holiday are celebrated may differ, yet the ultimate meaning centers around the same principle:
Thanksgiving looks very different this year. Whether celebrating in person or virtually, people may find it difficult to feel grateful with all they have endured. We face monumental challenges with the pandemic, political, social and financial strife. No doubt we are experiencing unprecedented times.
January - the time of year where many commit to resolutions for big changes in the new year.
Unfortunately, individuals who succeed at resolutions are far and few between. Studies show that people fail the common resolutions of losing weight, quitting smoking, getting out of debt, drinking less, etc., within the first two weeks.
“May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness."
"I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you're wonderful, and don't forget to make some art -- write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.
"I hope you will have a wonderful year, that you'll dream dangerously and outrageously, that you'll make something that didn't exist before you made it, that you will be loved and that you will be liked, and that you will have people to love and to like in return. And, most importantly (because I think there should be more kindness and more wisdom in the world right now), that you will, when you need to be, be wise, and that you will always be kind.” - Neil Gaiman
What are your new year intentions?
‘Tis the season for bright lights, holiday cards, parties, excessive shopping and overindulgence. Delightful Christmas specials flood the networks while traditional Hallmark Christmas movies paint the picture of the perfect family.
As the holiday’s approach, many are eager to gather with family and friends to share in the seasonal giving, eat all the yummy holiday treats, and drink holiday cheer. While this may be an enjoyable experience for many, for others this can be challenging. Many family members naturally grow apart and have little in common. Some have family conflict that goes back years and can be easily triggered. It is not uncommon to face conflict when we get together with families.
Holiday's may represent an entirely different set of emotions with the pain and agony from the loss of a loved one, separation or divorce. For others, the season brings up intense feelings of sadness, loneliness, pain, depression, stress or anxiety for various reasons. The difficulty of helping someone suffering with chronic illness, substance abuse, aging parents, problematic family members may change the pulse of the holiday causing the magic of the season to fade.
Thanksgiving - a day to reflect and share with family and friends the blessings that saturate our lives.
While beliefs and traditions about how the holiday is celebrated may differ, one Thanksgiving truth that has held true over centuries is gratitude. On the fourth Thursday of November, Americans of all religious faiths, personal beliefs and purpose, pause to give thanks.
Yet what if every day we begin with a mindset of gratitude? Just think what a positive effect this might have on our relationships and our world.
Happy New Year 2019!
I love the excitement of heading into a brand new year. The new year signifies renewal. Release. Letting go. Freedom. New beginnings....
How exciting! As we embark upon new year 2019, my personal ritual is to set aside a time for both introspective review and setting purposeful intention for the year ahead. I begin by lighting three white candles and playing tranquil music to attract positive energy. I then acknowledge all the year's blessings and accomplishments, honor and bless the people that helped or hindered my path, let go and forgive that which no longer serves me, and appreciate all that I am grateful. I then set blessings and overall intentions for the new year to come.
I’ve never been one to set New Year’s resolutions. I prefer to set small attainable goals as needed throughout the year, rather than one large goal at the beginning of the year.
However, New Year’s resolutions are quite popular. There are many theories as to how far they go back. Merriam-Webster quotes numerous pledges dating as far back as the 1600’s. It also cites speculation from an unknown author that New Year’s resolutions dates back well over 200 years giving people in the early 19th century—much like those today—an excuse for misbehavior up to New Year's Eve.
Today, many people still set New Year’s resolutions and try to achieve them. Most resolutions are based around self-improvement including losing weight, quitting smoking and/or drinking, and improving finances. Though over 40% or more Americans make New Year’s Resolutions, according to the University of Scranton research just 8% of people achieve their New Year's goals. Many of these resolutions do not even last a few weeks.
The question remains, why do so many people fail at goal-setting, and what are the secrets behind those who succeed?
For many, the day after Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the holiday season.
Christians celebrate Christmas on December 25 as the celebration of the day when Jesus Christ of Nazareth was born. Jews celebrate Hanukkah or the "Festival of the Lights," an 8-day observation between November 30 and December 26. The holiday of Kwanza is a week long celebration of the African heritage starting December 26. Buddhists celebrate Bodhi Day, the enlightenment of the Buddha on December 8. Krismas is a secular holiday that celebrates most of the elements of Christmas, with the exception of the story of Jesus' birth. This came about in 2004.
Most cultures recognize the Winter Solstice worldwide with an interpretation of the event varying from culture to culture. Depending on the shift of the earth's axis, it is either December 21 or 22 of each year. The commonality is a recognition of rebirth, involving holidays, festivals, gatherings, rituals or other celebrations around that time.
For many, the season is a time of joy and celebration. A time of giving and sharing time with family and friends. Honoring traditions by reveling in the beauty of the holiday lights, decorating trees, watching holiday movies, and sharing in good food, laughter and the making of memories.
In contrast, others find it overly stressful and are turned off by the excessive shopping and overindulgence. Many have lost their Christmas spirit. The season brings up intense feelings of sadness, loneliness, physical and/or emotional pain, depression, anxiety.
If this season represents a sense of loss due to divorce, separation or passing of a loved one; if you or a family member is suffering from illness, emotional or physical, substance abuse or dealing with a problematic family member, the holidays can present a whole different set of obstacles.
Pressure to visit multiple homes, unrealistic expectations, financial pressures, and excessive commitments can also cause stress and anxiety turning the once holiday sparkle into the holiday blues.
If you need a holiday boost, there are some self care tips you can do to lift your spirit and take care of YOU this holiday season. Putting you first is often difficult to do but is a must for survival and ensures your tank is filled so that you have more to give others. Read on for tips and tricks. Practice one per day to get through them easily and effortlessly!
"For Christians the holiday season celebrates the birth of a savior. Jews recognize Hanukah or the "Festival of the Lights." For those of African descent the holiday observes the holiday of Kwanza celebrating their heritage.
Delightful Christmas musicals and cartoon specials flood the television networks. Hallmark Christmas movies paint the picture-perfect relationship fantasies and happily ever afters.
Yet for many, it involves more social engagements, overindulgence, excessive shopping. A poll by the American Psychological Association shows that 8 out of 10 people anticipate increased stress over the holidays.
The holidays can be a time of year filled with joyous gatherings and memories with family and friends.
Yet for some it is a time where people pack on a few pounds and keep the extra weight on permanently. It is also a time where people that struggle with food sensitivities find it stressful to gather for holiday meals.
Thanksgiving doesn't have to be a time where your wellness plans or maintenance efforts are sabotaged. With a few tips, you can still enjoy your Thanksgiving favorites - guilt free.
Holidays typically center around heavy calorie laden dishes, excess alcohol and tempting desserts which can put everyone into a post meal food coma. Meals tend to be sugar laden, gluten-loaded and dairy disasters.
But there are simple modifications that you can make to traditional recipes so that you can enjoy the holidays with energy and zest while still maintaining a healthy lifestyle.