Hello API Job Corps Centers:
This time of year is a holiday-filled time for many faiths. As a result, we may find ourselves feeling stressed rather than joyful. Though the holiday season can be demanding at times, whatever our faith background, it is important to remember the true reason for any holiday is to gather together with those we care about and to stay optimistic. There are things we can do to stay positive.
Take one holiday at a time. We have just finished Halloween, and December’s holiday decorations are already up. What happened to Thanksgiving? Don’t be pressured to think too far ahead. The Power of Now, by Eckhart Tolle, is a book about living in the present moment so you suffer less and have more inner peace. It's really about reconnecting to your physical senses rather than being lost in thinking. Tolle says the past and future are only mental recreations because your life always happens “now.” When we think about the holidays of the past or those of the future, this can create anxiety. Tolle would remind us that we only have “now.”
Don’t create a frenzy when there does not need to be one. If you are like me, you create more work for yourself than need be when planning for special gatherings. Unrealistic expectations that everything has to be “perfect” can set you up for failure. Praise yourself for being here and healthy as we near the conclusion of 2021. You and your wellbeing are enough.
Give your time to others instead of buying gifts. Get involved with a local charity, homeless shelter, or an animal shelter to remind yourself that you have so much to share. Provide a gift of food, toys, or blankets in the name of someone you would have shopped for, and let them know they contributed through you. Get the students involved in giving to those that are less fortunate so they can feel good about themselves. Remember why you celebrate the holidays and let that be the driving force—not commercialism.
Exercise your body. Create an exercise schedule for the next couple of months and stick to it. Exercise helps increasing serotonin (which helps your brain regulate mood, sleep and appetite). Exercise increases your level of endorphins, which are natural mood lifters, and helps sleep patterns become normal. It gives you a focused activity that can help you feel a sense of accomplishment.
Choose to stay positive. Change is a choice. We don’t have too many things we can truly control, but our attitude is one of them. We make the choice in how we respond to things around us. When we make a conscious choice to think differently, we create new neural pathways that help make positivity our “go to” thinking. If we have patterns of negative thinking, negativity is effortless. Positivity takes some work, but the effort is worth it. Each time you think positively, you develop positive pathways that replace the negative ones.
Continue to stay safe and let us help our students; many of them come from situations where holidays may bring times of depression or sadness. Helping them is sure to uplift us. As we enter November and near Thanksgiving, I am grateful for all of you, every day. Thank you!