By now most of us are back to our work schedules, our daily responsibilities and chores and the routines of everyday life.
Even though it has been only a week from New Year, the holidays already seem far away. On the one hand we are glad to be back to our normal lives, to eating more responsively, to not be too busy with social events, family, etc. On the other hand, however, we miss those times of celebration and togetherness and may feel blue and lonely.
There is often a let down when we return to our daily lives from holiday times, particularly if we live far away from our loved ones and miss them. This is especially painful for the elderly, who often live alone and see their families only over the holidays. To them, this is a time of separation and loneliness and of little to look forward to.
The following is a positive way of examining our lives and reflect on creating healthy plans. Let’s start with reminding ourselves that we all have three main needs. These are:
The need to have someone or something to love;
The need to feel we make a contribution with our lives, and
The need to have something to look forward to.
The first need has to do with the value and relevance of emotional connections. These are some of the most important elements in healthy and balanced lives, as being disconnected is not healthy for most of us. So, if you have a relative who lives alone, a neighbor, or a friend, remember how important it is to be present in their lives, as this can make a huge difference in their lives. If you have children, take them to visit grandma, or an old aunt or uncle, or an elderly friend. Both will be enriched by this experience. Children learn a lot by being exposed to different generations, and the elderly are re-vitalized by young children who represent what’s new and vital and full of life.
The second need refers to the importance of creating meaning in our lives. We all want or feel that we have made and are still making valuable contributions by being alive, productive, involved and active. So, search for a meaning in your life if you don’t have one, and make room for those activities that support, encourage and reinforce it.
While the first two needs have to do with the past and the present, the third need has to do with the future. We all want to wake up in the morning and feel energized by the new day, the new challenges and the activities that we plan to engage in. Having something to look forward to gives us excitement, liveliness, hope and optimism. So, do you have something good to look forward to? If not, set it right now and begin to work toward achieving it.
We all want to wake up in the morning and feel energized by the new day
Focusing on our three basic needs helps us transition from the holidays to new goals and directions for ourselves, in this way reducing the feelings of sadness and emptiness we may feel, and replacing them with new energy and a strong, positive outlook.
Daniela Roher, PhD