Do you ever feel like the holidays are gaslighting you? Does it ever feel like people are being loved and nurtured and valued and belonging to things, feeling like they are a part of something, but you don’t feel that way? Have you ever felt like you’re hopping from cloud to cloud and you can’t quit or else everything would fall apart? Do you feel cloudy? Do you feel like you’re about to lose your mind?
Oh, sister, I’ve been there. Yes, I have. I felt absolutely insane as recently as yesterday morning. That’s real life! We’ve all felt like this.
How do we stay sane during this season?
There was a little piece of advice I heard yesterday, and it kept ringing in my head:
Start today fresh.
Yeah. That was the advice I heard about how to stay sane in life, period: Start every day fresh.
The holiday season is busy for all of us. When we’re not intentional about refreshing our minds, the days all start to string together and drag us down.
You wouldn’t feel fresh if you went into today with the same clothes you wore yesterday. Our mindsets need a refresh for today, just like our bodies feel alive after a shower.
Practice Delight Every Day
To really find meaning in our lives during this time, it’s important to practice delight which in turn refreshes us!
Delight carries a ripple effect with it. I’ve learned that practicing delight is important. It affects everything — from the captions I’m writing for social media to the everyday moments of my life. By practicing the habit of delighting in life, we’re able to not only experience true joy but also spread that joy to others!
I have had plenty of opportunities to practice delight lately. We’re a little behind on our holiday decorating, so when my daughter and I finally made it to the tree lot last week to pick out a tree, they didn’t have the size I was looking for. We settled on a tree that looked acceptable in the evening light and drove home with it strapped to the roof of our tiny car.
Once we decided to set up our tree, everything started going wrong. Y’all, it’s confession time: I have never set up a real tree before, and I thought there was nothing to it. Goodness was I wrong!
First, a trip to Lowe’s was required to get a live tree stand. Once I was finally ready to try to get our tree in the stand, I realized that it would be really helpful to have another adult to assist me, but of course, there isn’t one. This was going to be just like any other challenge I’ve faced in the past five years as a single mom — I had to figure out how to do this on my own. The stand kept falling apart. The tree trunk wasn’t staying secure. I was almost frustrated to tears. This wasn’t the fun evening that I had planned.
Ah, I fell out of delight.
That’s when everything started getting comical. You know how that happens? You get so mad at everything, but then suddenly, everything gets funny.
LAUGH, LAUGH, LAUGH!
Getting mad takes us out of the place of delight, but laughter is one of the best ways to get your delight back! The reason that our tree wasn’t fitting into the stand was because the trunk needed to be cleaned and trimmed. Well, duh! A Youtube video would have been really helpful BEFORE we started this whole project.
I used a kitchen knife to saw off the limbs that were keeping the trunk from fitting into the stand. That’s when I started laughing. You should have seen it — I was holding that wiry, frumpy pine tree between my legs as I sawed away at the branches around the trunk. Pine needles were falling, fresh liquid tar was sticking to my fingers, and I was one determined, lumberjack mama as I sawed off those trunk branches.
Then I cut off too many branches, so we laughed even harder when the tree was up because the bottom of it looked so naked! This was not going to be a Pinterest or Instagram worthy tree. Nope. But it was ours. Now, I had enough of those extra branches to decorate the rest of my house for the holidays. I put a luscious bed of branches above my cabinets and created a pine-laden mantel space with our entertainment center. I breathed deeply to inhale the divine smell of freshly cut pine. It was absolutely delightful.
STAY IN THE MOMENT
Eventually, our tree was up, and I went to the kitchen to make popcorn and pour chocolate milk in mason jars for our Christmas movie. That’s when a friend of mine called. She asked me what we were doing and I regaled her with the massacre that had just taken place. She started laughing and told me that tonight was going to be a night that we’d always remember.
“Just make that little girl laugh, and this is going to be the most magical holiday that she’s ever had,” my friend advised.
She was right. All that mattered that evening was that I stayed in the moment and made memories with my daughter that would last a lifetime!
Ask yourself, “What do I need?”
Staying fresh also involves staying in touch with your own needs and making sure your needs are met. When’s the last time you reflected on what you need? What can you do for yourself today?
What does your body need? When’s the last time you worked out? Do you need a walk? Do you need a massage? What are you feeding your body? Are you drinking enough water?
Could you be less busy? Could you say “no” to something that you feel obligated to do? You’re allowed to change your mind. You’re allowed to say no. You are allowed to put yourself first.
Let it go!
Let’s let go of whatever weighed us down yesterday. We can’t afford to stay engaged with our problems. After all, the problem was there yesterday, and it might still be there tomorrow. The problem might hurt tomorrow, just like it did yesterday. A lot of times, there’s a whole new way that we could look at a problem, but it won’t go away just because we’re staring at it and thinking about how much better our life would be without it.
Let’s forgive. Life is too short to stay mad for too long! It’s time to forgive yourself and others and let yourself fly out of the cage of resentment and be free.
Let’s look for moments of delight today. Let’s celebrate our little wins. Let’s remember to LAUGH. Let’s create something beautiful — whether it’s writing a note for a friend, making a pan of cookies, doing a little painting project, taking a spontaneous drive to see the Christmas lights, or lighting a candle.
Let’s remember what’s really important in life. Let’s nurture ourselves and our relationships. Let’s get back into the flow of who we’re becoming in this whole process.
Today is your chance to start fresh!