Hope for the Holidays

After weathering the storm of the last two years of the 

novel coronavirus , for some of us life became upside down. 

It’s easy to lose hope when you don’t know what’s going to happen when a pandemic hits and your job gets threatened (like most all of us) or your relationship falls apart or you lose someone close to you or you feel isolated because everyone is in lock down. 

Here’s the truth. The only thing we know for certain is change. That is what we can count on. It’s what we do with how to navigate through life’s ups and downs that make the difference in our attitude, our mood and how we function in life. 

Then you have the holidays when department stores are magnetizing people in like never before, happiness all around when you are “supposed” to feel cheery. The truth is – you may not genuinely feel this way and that’s ok. Meeting yourself where you’re at is authentic and true. And – it doesn’t push something under the rug to put a façade on pretending that you don’t feel a certain way. 

The question is being true to your feelings can actually help melt them away. Giving yourself permission to lean in and fully feel what you are feeling –vs- not feeling can help dissipate them so you can feel some hope and joy again. 

What is hope anyway? The dictionary states that hope is “ a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen”. 

Here are some ways to rediscover hope during the holidays if you feel it might be lost for the moment: 

  1. Write down areas in your life where miracles happened or success was achieved in your past. 

  2. Practice mindfulness and write attainable goals out and then action steps in bite size chunks. 

  3. Celebrate. Have a physical acknowledgment of areas in your life where you have excelled or rose to the occasion. 

  4. Believe. Have faith in your heart that you can achieve your desires. 

  5. Meditate. Sitting in stillness everyday for even 5 minutes can calm the nervous system and bring you peace. 

  6. Pray. The power of prayer is powerful. Even if you don’t believe there is a God or higher power, you can still pray to your higher self – the grander version of yourself that strives for greatness. 

  7. Train your mind to find the positive in life. Talk the ego out of over analyzing everything and thinking about the negative. 

  8. Watch happy shows or movies. This will be a mirroring back of humor and people connecting and laughing with each other. 

  9. Put your feet on the ground or sit with your back against a tree. Do some deliberate belly breathing. 

it’s natural to feel like hope is lost, especially during these times. It’s helpful to place meaningful things around you in your environment to make you feel happy and uplifted. The renewal of this season can only happen when we acknowledge how we are truly feeling, allowing ourselves to feel our authentic feelings and then resting and leaning in to them. 

It’s also easy to feel burnout and exhaustion from working so hard all year long. Self-care is essential to getting your mojo back. Here are some of my favorite things to do where I love myself: 

  • Epson salt bath with essential oils (lavender is my favorite)

  • Sugar scrub to get all the dead skin off

  • Use body lotion and massage your legs and arms

  • Coconut oil or %100 shea butter to put on your feet before bed (good to put socks on to help them absorb into the feet)

  • Exfoliate your lips with a toothbrush with light strokes then place vigorous amounts of lip balm on your lips

  • Take a nature hike in the woods and breath in the fresh air – hug a tree and thank it for it’s existence

  • Go to the beach and walk on the sand barefoot

  • Drink herbal tea instead of coffee to help you relax

  • Listen to your favorite music loud and dance 

  • Get up early and watch the sunrise

  • Watch the sunset

  • Gaze at the stars, sky, clouds and moon

  • Watch a funny movie or show

  • Get yourself a decadent treat

  • Go get a massage or facial 

  • Get into a sauna and sweat

  • Exercise and sweat 

  • Play a game 

Since the holidays are upon us, it’s a great time to be hopeful. Remind yourself that if you are going through something stressful that this too shall pass. It’s only temporary. Try and not wallow. Stay true to yourself and feel your feelings but let them go at some point in the not so distant future. 

Lisa Schneiderman is a UO member who helps people raise awareness for causes and positive messages that uplift humanity to a higher state of being. 

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