For many, Christmas and the coming of New Years were times of celebration with loved one as friends and family can get together and toast the passing of one year, leading into another calendar.  

However, with all the talk of love, peace and good will to your fellow man, sadly those words seem to ring hollow once the sound of Christmas hymns and Auld Lang Syne fade from people’s eardrums and memories and trudge back to their places of employment or school.

We are inundated either face to face or social media with everyone being happy, being loved by someone special, family and friend with no cares in the world.

Trouble is, not everyone has it so good. Tough economic times, personal or health issues, the holidays can be depressing for those having a difficult time as it is reaffirmed how their life has fallen short, been a failure.

While it is good to share with friends all the positives in one's life, sometimes it creates pressure of trying to maintain a 'happiness' standard which bombards us in images within mainstream and obviously social media like Instagram and Facebook. All of this increases undue pressure on those who are hurting.

Watching friends who have the perfect house, the perfect family, the perfect relationship, the perfect car, the perfect appearance etc...it can get overwhelming.

To those who are able and like to make resolutions, here’s a suggestion: Be compassionate. Make an honest effort to be empathetic.

As the sentiment goes, be kind to everyone because you don’t what battles everyone faces.

Don't dismiss, ignore, avoid or shun people who are blue, frustrated or down on their luck. To categorize them as being "drama-queens/kings"; negative, attention seekers or just “messed up” is shortsighted and callous.

While we all seem to have resolutions of eating healthier, exercising more or somehow making a higher income, resolving to lend a helping hand and reaching out to those who need a boost can be one of the greatest gifts to your community.

Reaching out and offering encouraging words or five minutes of your undivided attention may be all that it takes it give that person a spark to do something for themselves to improve their outlook.

For those who need help... please realize...and as much as you hate someone telling you this and hearing it for the umpteenth time... hold on. It will get better. Savour the moments of peace and joy. There are people who actually care. You may not see them now or you may not think you know anybody who does, but they exist. And perhaps, if at all possible and it does take practise, stay positive. A more favourable outlook goes a long way for anyone.

Whether it is finding spiritual help, get more physical activity, eating healthy or just taking better care of yourself in general, be good to yourself. There are agencies and professionals that can help, both with the short term and long term needs.

Hopefully, the Christmas/New Year’s break was a good time to reflect and realize one's level and ability for compassion and empathy towards their fellow humans.

Change and adjustment in negative  outlooks and suspicious attitudes is hard for those hurting, but also for those who have no reason to be. Resolve to be different in 2019.

If you need help to overcome immediate negative issues:

In Alberta: www.albertahealthservices.ca/ news/Page14821.aspx

In Saskatchewan: https://www.saskatchewan.ca/residents/health/accessing-health-care-services/mental-health-and-addictions-support-services/mental-health-support/mental-health-services

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