Find a way to celebrate, relax this holiday season

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Kirk Rowe
  • 96th Medical Group
It seems like we're all so busy these days, and it only intensifies during the holiday season, which is already in full swing. We're barely finished digesting our Thanksgiving meal when many of us are already rushing off to the marketplace. How can we slow down a little bit over the holidays? And where is everyone going in such a hurry?

An American physician, Larry Dossey coined the term "time sickness." He stated our society continues to push us to move faster and faster in order to keep up. We need to speed read to keep up and then there is the microwave, liposuction or bariatric surgery instead of dieting, now speed dating, and having a lowly 386, or 486 just won't do. It's got to be Pentium. I think Carrie Fisher stated it nicely when she said "Instant gratification takes too long."

For some, the holidays can be a tough time. The hype of the holidays can make us feel down if we aren't celebrating like we're led to believe everyone else is. Some people by nature are more inclined to remain to themselves and are often comfortable with that choice throughout the year.

During the holidays, it might be a little more difficult because holidays are something to be shared, thereby highlighting their aloneness. If this is your first year away from home and you find yourself alone this Christmas, or this year is unlike no other for whatever reason, try falling back on family traditions or rituals you may have drifted away from over the last few years. If you don't like the traditions you grew up with, start creating your own.

For some people who grew up in the north and were accustomed to having snow at Christmas, it might be a little harder to get into the holiday spirit without a snowman. But if Florida is where we are, the next best thing to snow could be a beautiful white sandy beach. Spending time on one of the Emerald Coast's beautiful beaches might not be the way you have normally celebrated Christmas, but it will likely be one to remember. The sounds and smells of the ocean are always calming and peaceful. Just the other day, I saw someone sunbathing on the beach in Seaside. They were from Minnesota.

If you are feeling a lack of direction over the holidays and feeling a little down, consider reaching out to others. There are plenty of nursing homes in the area that would love to have visitors, especially someone from the military. There are also homeless shelters in the area that always need a helping hand. There is likely someone in your neighborhood who would appreciate a meal cooked for them.

If you feel up to it, invite some Airman to your home for lunch or dinner. Have everyone bring something to pass, or better yet, have them come early so they can help prepare the food. Spending time in the kitchen with others creating a meal or just doing dishes can be very enjoyable.

Many people say they aren't into board games, but on more than one occasion, I've seen people surprised and actually enjoy themselves. My squadron commander offered to open up his home for those who would like to get together instead of spending the day alone. If an opportunity like that presents itself, take it.

Someone once said a happiness that is not shared is somehow cut in half. A sadness that is not shared is somehow doubled. If you are bursting with joy, please get out and share it with others.

If you are feeling a heavy burden with the holidays, please get out and share your burden with others and the load will be lessened. Find some time to slow down this holiday season, turn off your blackberry or phone for a while and relax.