Being Grateful, Day 8

Today is Day 8 of the 25 Days of Christmas, as I continue to come up with activities and challenges we can do as we celebrate Christmas together, apart.

The activity for Day 8 is to start a gratitude list. Perhaps you want to write your list on a slip of paper and put it in a jar or box each day, or perhaps you’d like to use a journal or notebook. It’s important to come up with at least three things you’re grateful for each day and share those three things with someone else. You may even want to write your three things on your Facebook page to encourage others to start a list. Especially during holiday time in the middle of a pandemic, I think it’s important to stay tuned in to gratitude which has been proven to help you keep a positive attitude and a more healthy outlook.

Hopefully, you will find staying in touch with gratitude to be a good thing for your mental health and will decide to continue making your list after the holidays. This activity is a really good one to do with your children or grandchildren, as it will help raise their awareness of what they can be grateful for since their holidays may look very different this year.

Thank you to those of you who are participating and sending me your new favorite Christmas songs, poems, and sharing your random acts of kindness from the first week of activities. I hope you’re having fun with these challenges.

The affirmation for Day 8 of the 25 Days of Christmas is “I choose to be grateful in all circumstances.”

Discover Christmas Poems, Day 7

Today is Day 7 of the 25 Days of Christmas!

For the 7th Day of the 25 Days of Christmas Activity, I’d like you to find a new Christmas poem that you like. “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” is a popular one, but there are so many others. Some are sad, some are funny and cute, and some are classics.

Another option for finding a new Christmas poem is to write one of your own. Perhaps you’d like to read your own poem on video or to read one that you find in a book or online. I encourage you to post the poem you like in the comments on my Facebook page under the video of Day Seven.

Sharing favorite poems is another way to celebrate Christmas together, apart, which is the theme of this video and blog series I’m doing. Keeping friends and family together by doing activities and challenges such as the ones I’m suggesting is a fun way to promote a little camaraderie with friends and family since so many of us won’t be together this year.

Thank you to those who are sending me your favorite new Christmas songs, telling me about your acts of kindness, and other things that you’ve done during Days 1-6 of the 25 Days of Christmas.

Have fun discovering or creating your poem for Day 7. The affirmation for today is “I am curious and creative.”

Rest, Be Mindful, Day 6

Today is Day 6 of the 25 Days of Christmas.

I hope you’re having some fun with the first 5 Days of Christmas challenges and activities. I’ve enjoyed the activities with friends and hearing how they approached each one. I’ve learned new Christmas Songs for 2020, I’ve asked a friend to walk my Christmas Walk with me, I’ve sent some snail mail cards to kids, and enjoyed the other activities. The first 5 Days were fun.

However, Day 6 of the 25 Days of Christmas, especially because it is a Sunday, seems like a good day to pause and reflect. Light a candle or play some soft music and reflect on all the people across the United States who have died from COVID. As of right now, the number of deaths is at 282,298 and climbing. Pause and take in that number.

Not only is our world weary with Covid, but it is weary with our own grief as well. Be sure to acknowledge your own exhaustion, grief, and heaviness. Name it, own it, and then let it go for today. Holding on to all the sadness and covid fatigue is too much. 

Acknowledge the loss, and then pick up a piece of life. Write a brief note of encouragement to any of these people and ask them to share your words with their staff and co-workers:

  • the head of housekeeping at a hospital
  • any doctor’s clinic
  • manager of a grocery, drugstore, bank, business, etc.
  • respiratory therapy department
  • social workers, chaplains, psychologists, etc.
  • cafeteria workers at hospital
    • ….and so many others

Those are just a few suggestions. Let them or others know that you’re cheering for them, thinking of them, supporting them, and that you appreciate all they do.

They need our love, encouragement, and support, and we need to give it.

The affirmation for Day 6 of the 25 Days of Christmas is “I show appreciation to those who give their time and energy to care for others.”

Explore Your Surroundings, Day 5

Today is Day 5 of the 25 Days of Christmas.

I am making an effort to post my video and blog earlier in the day at the request of a friend, who wants to take part in these challenges and activities with her grandson whom she can’t hug right now. I love that she is including him, and I encourage you to include your family and friends as well. It just solidifies my idea that we need things to do while we are together, apart. 

Lemon Tree in Backyard

For Day 5, I ask that you explore your surroundings in a new way. If you are out walking, take some time to find an unusual tree or rock you haven’t really noticed carefully before. If you’re indoors, look around you and find a special object, something that has meaning, or perhaps look out your window and notice something you haven’t really noticed before.

What about it got your attention? What significance does this have for you? I took a walk around the back yard and checked out a small lemon tree, recently planted, and carefully held one of the lemons in my hand. How amazing is it that a tiny little tree can produce such a beautiful and tasty lemon! How often do I actually notice it as it slowly grows. We all need to take the time to notice things around us and how they grow and change, or if it’s something sitting on a shelf, how it holds meaning for us. 

Have fun with the Day 5 activity. Maybe you’re even listening to your favorite new song from 2020 while you do today’s activity. 

The affirmation for Day 5 is “I am aware and mindful of my surroundings.”

Acts of Kindness, Day 4

Today is Day 4 of the 25 Days of Christmas. 

For today’s activity, challenge, or idea, I’d like you to perform a Random Act of Kindness. Doing something for someone else is a great way not only to make someone else’s day better but also to improve your own mood. In a time where many of us are living under shutdowns, being kind is a way to make isolation a bit more tolerable. 

If you’re going out and about, perhaps you let someone have a parking place you wanted or let them turn in front of you in line. If you’re home, perhaps you bake a cake for your neighbor or send a snail mail card to your friend’s child. 

Sharing a little kindness can go a long way.

Have fun with your act of kindness, and don’t forget to be kind to yourself in the process!

The affirmation for Day 4 of the 25 Days of Christmas is “I will be kind to myself and to others.”

Sharing Music, Day 3

For the 25 Days of Christmas, I am creating challenges, ideas, and activities to share with clients, friends, and others who will be sharing Christmas together, apart. I hope in this way we can all feel more connected to each other. Each day of the 25 days I will post a video on my social media and will also publish a blog here.

Day 3 of the 25 Days of Christmas activity is sharing music together. I have been on Google and found some of the most wonderful new Christmas music for 2020.

I challenge you to find some new songs that resonate with you for 2020 and post them in the comments on my Facebook page so we can all share the music together, apart. This is just one more way I am challenging friends, clients, and others to join in the holiday celebrations with each other. We are creating fun ways to stay connected since we can’t safely be in the same rooms with each other. 

You don’t need to have a music app. Just search for “new Christmas songs 2020” and you will find plenty of magazine and radio station websites that have playlists and reviews of new songs and new albums for this season.

Have fun discovering new music for this year. And while you’re finding the new music, practice repeating your affirmation for Day 3 which is “I have empathy for myself and for others.” 

Share the Christmas fun with music!

Reaching Out

Today is Day 2 of the 25 Days of Christmas

Day 2 is here! Yesterday I asked you to create a list of those who are important to you that you usually see at Christmas or those you want to remember.  

Look at your list and pick the one person on your list who is the most challenging to call, the one who might reject you, the one that you are a little scared to call. Call that person and tell them that you will miss them and you hope they have a wonderful holiday time.

Then pick a second person. This one will be someone you are comfortable calling, someone who is a safe person. Ask that person how you can be their Rudolph, how you can help make their holiday season a little brighter. Ask them how you can help light their way. 

If your safe person is someone who has died, write them a letter to tell them you miss them and that you hold them close to your heart. Read that letter to a trusted friend and feel your sadness, and then do something that honors their memory for you at Christmas. 

I challenge you to make the difficult call and to make the easy call. Reaching out to others is so very important, and sometimes you just need a boost to do it. 

So make your calls and come back tomorrow for Day 3, because Day 3’s activity will be a fun one. 

Your affirmation for Day 2 is “I give love and light to myself and to the world.”

25 Days of Christmas Together, Apart

San Francisco, Christmas 2019

Today is Day 1 of the 25 Days of Christmas!

Maybe you love Christmas as I do, and you’re wondering how you can spend it with others and have a little fun.

I have a solution for you!

Check out the 25 Days of Christmas blog and video each day for the next 25 days so we can have fun together, apart. Each day during the 25 Days I will post a video on Facebook here, https://www.facebook.com/OvercomerCoachCA,  and a blog here on my site that will describe a challenge, an idea, or an activity that we can all do together, apart. It’s a way to feel connected to others. 

Feel free to post a comment on my Facebook page as you participate in the activity each day. 

Today’s activity is to make a list of people who are important to you, those you usually spend time with during the 25 Days before Christmas, or those you have lost that you remember each year, or those you really wish you had reached out to in the few years. Be sure to put yourself at the top of the list. 

In tomorrow’s activity, we will use that list of people, so hold on to it. Join me tomorrow as I post the next activity. 

Support for the One Million

100,000+ US citizens have now died from COVID-19. 100,000 of your neighbors, business owners, grandmothers, school children, doctors, policemen, grocery workers, housekeepers, EMTs, and others who have suffered tremendously from COVID-19 and lost the battle.

Consider that each person who died had a close relationship with at least ten and probably more people in their lives. When I multiply 100,000 times those 10 friends, family members, and co-workers, that means that over one million people in this country are grieving the death of someone who died from COVID-19. They grieve for someone who most likely died either alone in a hospital or with a nurse holding a phone to their ear so they could hear good-byes from those who cared about them.

I have sat with both clients and friends as they face grief and have experienced it myself many times over. The changes that occur in people’s lives after someone dies are monumental and overwhelming.

Those changes happening during this pandemic are even more daunting, as contact with friends and family members is limited due to a possibility of exposure to COVID-19. The grieving isn’t limited to those who have lost loved ones. 

Grief is experienced by those currently sick with the virus, those scared of the virus, those who risk their lives to go to work, those who have no job, those who worry about feeding their families, those who are at risk of losing their homes, those separated from family members, those who lost classroom experience with friends and teachers, those who lost businesses, and many other losses.

Remember that grief or bereavement affects us all in many ways. Feel your feelings, speak them out loud to someone who understands and does not judge you. Seek out further help if you need it.

Stay well and stay safe, and just love your neighbors. Love those one million.

When a Hug Isn’t Possible

When someone dies, people usually rush in to help. I remember when my father died, a neighbor who was on her way to church saw the ambulance at my parents’ house and stopped, knowing something was wrong. She arrived soon after I did, with the ambulance still in the driveway and the paramedics inside. 

I am still grateful to her as I look back to that day seven years ago. When the ambulance pulled out, she told me to run home and take a shower and told my mother to take a shower and get dressed, and she would stay. When I returned 45 minutes later, our friend had removed the walker and other medical equipment from the house and taken it to our garage. She offered to make phone calls to family and friends. She helped us think when we could not. 

Now, however, with COVID-19, we could not have let her in, as my mother and I are both very high risk. Nor could we have let in the friends who showed up later with sandwiches and cakes and hugs. Friends offered us such comfort at the time and took over basic responsibilities so we did not have to.

So how can you help when you can’t just show up and give a hug? Based on my work with caregiver support and grief groups in the past, I came up with a few ideas to share, and I offer them here:

  • If you know something to do, act. Asking the person what you can do is usually not helpful, as they either do not know right then what they need or they do not want to ask.
  • Send a card. A real snail-mail card.
  • Check-in with a phone call. Don’t ask them to return your call. Just say I love you and am thinking about you.
  • Don’t judge them for how they deal with their feelings. 
  • Do a video chat with them and just hold space with them. It’s not the same as physically being there, but offering to just sit with them, to listen if they want to talk, to be a virtual presence can offer support.
  • Offer to go to their window and hold your hand up to theirs through the glass for a few minutes and give a gentle smile
  • Leave a meal on the front porch then call to let them know you care and/or set up a meal train so neighbors sign up to take meals for a week. Even better, order meals to be delivered from local restaurants in order to help the restaurants survive
  • If you’re able to go out, ask for their grocery list or just anticipate what they might need and leave their groceries at the door 
  • Make a donation in memory of their loved one

With so many people grieving the loss of loved ones during the pandemic,  are all hurting. Please be kind and considerate, be loving, and do what you can to respect and care for all those who are mourning or in despair. We need each other to get through this pandemic.