Fighting the darkness
People are like stained – glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within. ~ Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
This is always an odd time of year for me, I really don’t like when the clocks change and we leave daylight savings time. The early darkness really beats on my mood. When I was younger and lived in the Northeastern US, the cold, added to the darkness was a double whammy on my mood. I can remember driving down country roads this time of year, in the dark, not necessarily that late at night, and the lack of light, natural or man-made, the darkness and the cold just felt like death to me. As you can imagine, not a cheery state of mind to be in.
However, my absolutely favorite holiday is Thanksgiving, I love to cook, to be outside in the fall, to watch football and Thanksgiving is a day for me to do all of those things. My absolute least favorite day of the year is Christmas. So this time of year I quickly go from the high of Thanksgiving to the lows of Christmas.
This week was the first week the darkness started to set in, it actually happened yesterday. I was writing and realized it had gotten dark, I’d been working a while and really wasn’t paying attention to the clock. After a while I assumed it must be between eight or nine o’clock at night so I decided to call it quits. I shut down the computer and when I stood up and I looked at the clock, it was 5:45PM. It was a depressing kind of moment.
Now, I write a blog on happiness and long-time readers know a bit about my past. One of the reasons I started this blog came from research I did to learn more about how to overcome severe depression I suffered in my 20s and 30s. So over the years I’ve learned a lot about myself and how to control my mood.
So I’ll focus on and thoroughly enjoy Thanksgiving, everything that leads up to it and everything about it. I turn Thanksgiving into Thanksgiving Weekend for myself so that it stretches out to a four day affair. That leaves me about four weeks until Christmas and the Christmas to New Years time that I dislike so much. I know that I’m not alone in the way I feel about the holidays, so one of the ways that I combat my own depressing mood is to be more altruistic than normal. Effectively, since my mood will tank, I do whatever I can to focus on raising the mood of others which also selfishly makes me feel better. So I work really hard for the people I give gifts too, to get them really good gifts they’ll enjoy. I make an effort to reach out to people to say hi, be supportive, some years that includes holiday cards, some years it doesn’t. Throughout the year I try and practice small, random acts of kindness, I step up that effort this time of year. Finally, I also do daily posts on this blog for at least twelve days and even sometimes thirty days around Christmas. One year I even did a dozen posts called, The 12 days of Christmas for people who hate Christmas.
All of this is really to get me out of my own head, away from my own feelings and focused on helping others. It typically works pretty well and started today as I did my shopping for my annual Thanksgiving cooking. This weekend I loaded in everything but the fresh ingredients I’ll be using, have the meal fully planned out. And now that I’m going to be thinking about it for 11 days, I might just be hungry enough to eat everything I’m planning on cooking. Here’s hoping your holidays are happy, if not, you can always reach out. Have a happy day my friends. ~ Rev Kane