The holidays are not only a time when we are expected to be happy, but as parents, it’s up to us to create “happiness” for our children. When your world is not marred by grief, creating happy memories for our children is one of the joys of parenthood. Grief, divorce, or losing a job doesn’t adhere to a calendar. It doesn’t take time off for Christmas. It just makes it hard.

And yet, I’m willing to bet you did. You put your smile on to make the world seem right for those you love. While your inner world was tearing itself apart, you did your best to create a normal appearance so you wouldn’t disrupt everyone else’s happiness.

Christmas is over.

Now, the Christmas decorations just punctuate the emptiness of winter. Social media makes it look like everyone is heading to the gym and googling new diets, while you are just trying to keep breathing.

If the unknown, and hollowness of a new year looming before you feels overwhelming here’s a few simple ideas to lead you into the new year with hope.

Don’t Set Goals to Change Your Life–Just Your Day

One day at a time. This goal should be to add something good to your day. Not something you should do something you want to do. Then bring it down one more notch, just change one thing. What one thing can you change today that would make your life just a little easier?

Think simple. Think small. Here’s some examples to get your ideas flowing.

  • Get up just 15 minutes earlier. That small amount of time won’t impact your energy level, but it will give you just a few minutes to spend completely on whatever you would bring you a bit of happiness.
  • A tiny bit of quiet time for prayer or reflection.
  • A few minutes to read.
  • You could start a journal.
  • Take a morning walk.
  • Make a point to call someone you care about daily.

The idea is to add something. So often our biggest regrets are not about the things we did, but the things we didn’t do. Real life change comes with the small things we do on a daily basis.

You may have succeeded in stepping back into the normal routine of life’s demands. Nevertheless, that doesn’t mean your inner world is whole again. You can harness this time to pull inward. Begin to add small doses of joy into your soul--you will be surprised how fast they add up to a restored life.

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