QUESTION : I always hear everyone talk about being grateful this time of year. Sometimes I just don’t feel so grateful though! My life has changed so much these past few years as I have gotten older and the holidays just aren’t the same as they used to be. How I can be more positive this time of year?
ANSWER: First of all, I want to commend you for reaching out. I urge you not to compare yourselves to others. Especially at this time of year with the holidays it can be easy to get wrapped up in everyone else’s stories and worry that our own experiences are not as good. Instead, take some time to really think about what in your life you have to be grateful for. It may look different than it did 20 years ago. You may have to shift your expectations about what the holidays look like now. This may mean amending some of your traditions. But that doesn’t take away the beauty of your memories from years past.
One thing I recommend is to start a gratitude journal. Get a notebook, and at the end of every day write down three things that happened in that day that you can be grateful for. This is not meant for overall things like your family or your health. I want you to think about specific things from that day that you can appreciate that brought some joy into your day. For example, a person who held the door for you at the grocery store. Or maybe hitting all the green lights on your drive! No mater how small you may think it is, putting down on paper three things every day that you are grateful for will start to change the way you experience your day. Maybe the next day you will be more aware in the moment when something good happens and you will think “I am going to remember to write this down.”
If you worry that your feelings may be more then just not feeling grateful, then you may need to reach out for more help. Are you noticing you are no longer enjoying the things you used to enjoy doing? Are you feeling more lethargic and tired? Are you feeling hopeless or sad more often then usual? Sometimes we can improve our mood just by using daily practices like a gratitude journal, or increasing time doing things we enjoy. However, sometimes we need more guidance and assistance to improve our mood. Reach out to a friend, your doctor, or a therapist who can help. The most important thing is to know that you are not alone.
This time of year can filled with so much joy and many social gatherings. But it can also be a time of reflection or even stress. Take some time for yourself and offer yourself kindness first. Thank you for bringing up this important topic that I know may be affecting others as well.
A Christmas Variety Show
Thursday, December 5th 1:30pm – 3:30pm and Friday, December 6th from 7pm – 9pm
The Simi Valley Performing Arts Group Presents: A Christmas Variety Show! Join us for some holiday frolicking & nonsense! All are welcome. Admission is free! No reservation required. Simi Valley Senior Center: 3900 Avenida Simi, Simi Valley, CA
The Parkinson’s Foundations offers the The Care Partners Toolbox
An event for care partners, their families and professionals serving the Parkinson’s community.
Saturday December 7th 9am – 1:30pm
Residence Inn By Marriott Oxnard
2101 W Vineyard Ave, Oxnard, CA
Learn more or register at: Parkinsons.org/Ventura or call 1-800-473-4636
Goebel Center Holiday Party
Monday, December 9th 12noon
Join us as we celebrate the holidays at Goebel Center’s annual holiday party! $10 per person. Purchase tickets at the Goebel Center front desk.
Goebel Adult Community Center
1385 E. Janss Road, Thousand Oaks, CA