By Rev. Bonnie Crosier, OM, Chaplain at the Community Cancer Center
This is the time of year when stress, anxiety, and emotions often kick into high gear, despite the best intentions. This holiday time of love and giving can get lost in the business of shopping, events, and connection with loved ones. It’s even more important to take care of your mind, body, and spirit. Even in the busiest time of the season, there are ways to keep your spiritual connection.
Take advantage of the special foods
An important part of holiday celebrations for many cultures is traditional foods. Take the time to enjoy the flavors and the ingredients that were created by a blend of hard work and love. How does this food fill your spirit? What memories are sparked by the taste? Food is more than nourishment. Embrace the fellowship around the table and create more valuable memories. Savor the moments.
Take time for yourself
You may have a demanding schedule, but it’s vital that you prioritize time for yourself. Set aside time for a long bath, meditation, a walk, or reading a book. Know what it takes for you to recharge. Taking time for yourself can help you avoid the build-up of frustration or anger. During the holidays, the focus is on people and places, but you can’t enjoy them if you don’t take care of yourself.
Keep it simple
Gatherings don’t have to be extravagant to the point that they overwhelm and cause stress. If you agree to host a gathering, invite everyone to contribute something to the menu. Planning simple gatherings with a few people to enjoy hot cocoa and cookies leaves time to focus on the importance of fellowship. Companionship creates the memories.
The body heals during rest
Sleep is vital in keeping the body healthy. Sleep helps release the stresses of the day. Writing in a journal for a few minutes before bed may help your mind slow down so your body can get the rest it needs.
Know what you hold sacred
Take time to reflect over the past year. What was most meaningful? How did that make you feel? What does your faith tell you about your reflections? Contemplation of important moments from the year can bring you closer to your God. I challenge you to make a list of the many ways you know God loves you.
Stay humble in the moment of blessing
Sometimes, this season of giving can go over the top. One thing that costs nothing and helps so many is the power of prayer. This is a perfect time to remember others in prayer. By sharing a prayer, you share the blessing of community and grace. Prayer is the best gift you can give as it is always the right size, always heard, and never wasted.
Sometimes life is hard, especially when it seems we are given a lot to deal with at one time. Life can also teach us that within every challenge are blessings, and it often takes a challenge to realize blessings. Focus on your beliefs and let go, and let God take on your troubles. Develop an attitude of gratitude and give thanks for the things you do have. Negativity brings unhealthy patterns in thoughts and behaviors. Expressing gratitude opens your heart to more gratefulness.
This year, celebrate life and celebrate you! Take care of your body, mind, and spirit as you enjoy the traditions of the season. When you find a few spare moments, do something that will provide relaxation. Take time to restore your sense of purpose and meaning by affirming that you are one with your God and one with the world.
The Community Cancer Center, located at 407 East Vernon, encourages a holistic approach to the treatment of cancer by caring for body, mind, and spirit. The chaplain is sensitive to the issues that accompany illness and will respect the individual beliefs and preferences of you and your family in dealing with your illness. For more information, visit them online at www.cancercenter.org.