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Give Yourself Grace

I’m facing this December in probably my best frame of mind in years. Not just because I hit major milestones like publishing my book A Crazy Quilt Life, developing a social media presence, and doing some public readings. I’ve also been able to remain present in my children’s and grandchildren’s lives. I think one reason for this is because I’m learning to give myself grace and live in the moment. This has allowed me to see the year’s end, winter, differently.

Why give yourself grace or live in the moment?

Not giving myself grace in the past has led to frustration about not accomplishing goals. This would tarnish much of the positive things I accomplished over the year. But this year not only can I look at the list above, but I can also recognize that I’m only semiretired, so my time for writing and gardening is sometimes limited. In the end, I can recognize I reached many of my goals for the year without bemoaning those goals not attained. I give myself the grace I so readily give to others.

Living in the moment takes practice. It is still something I work at. But it allows me to enjoy my family without concern for anything else—to just delight in my grandchild’s smile as they ask me to read a book or play with them. The birds are outside my window bring me joy as I stop to watch them. I still plan things, but I try not to worry about the what ifs beyond my control. I’m truly learning to live my old mantra. Don’t borrow tomorrow’s sorrow.

A different way to think about December

Then there’s the whole December thing I’ve had most of my life. Seasonal affective disorder plagues many of us. Muting the world’s color with a heavy dose of gray. I saw December as an end only. End of a year when too many things weren’t done. This year I see December, winter, as a period of rejuvenation. A period where we rest some, at least, I rest from my gardening, and take time to reflect on the good in my life. This helps keep our mind and body connected. Some goals will move to the new year. Other goals might move even further down the list. In the end, nothing is as important as my health and my family. I’m fortunate to have both.

Finally, remember those who may suffer from depression or anxiety during this time. Reach out to them and make sure they’re really okay. Include them in your holiday celebrations. Encourage them not to isolate. My particular coping mechanisms may not work for everyone. I talk about mental health because I want to normalize these discussions. And I don’t presume to be anyone’s therapist. If need be, seek the help of a licensed professional. As we move into this season where we all try to do too much; remember, we are only human. Enjoy the moments life brings you and give yourself grace.

If you or someone you know is in crisis, please call the Suicide Prevention Hotline 988.

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