Spreading Joy

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As I wrote last time, the holidays can be a stressful time of year and it’s important to practice self care. We get wrapped up in all that we are supposed to be doing – cooking, shopping, wrapping, cleaning, decorating, hosting, cleaning and more cleaning – and forget about what the holiday season is all about. The holiday season is stressful, don’t let anyone tell you it isn’t, but there’s plenty of joy to be found this time of year. Spreading joy, no matter how you do it, should be something that you strive to do. It should not cause more stress, should be freely given, and it should give you joy in the process.

How do you spread joy? 

It’s a lot simpler than you might think. A compliment paid to a stranger will go really far in spreading joy. Below are some examples of ways you can spread joy during the holiday season, without breaking the bank.

Pay it Forward (or backward) – When getting your morning latte, pay for the customer behind you. Often they will do the same causing a ripple effect of giving.

Be Generous with Encouragement – Everyone is facing one challenge or another this time of year. If you notice someone struggling – with career, family, health, school… offer words of encouragement. Often a simple “I know you can handle this” is all it takes to bring someone back from near panic. Telling someone you believe in them can go a long way to convincing them they have what it takes to get through any challenge.

Compliment Freely – Complimenting freely is a great way to spread joy. If your best friend is sporting a new pair of boots, compliment her on them. Did a coworker get a new hair style for the holidays, let her know it looks great. We’re all trying to look and do our best, but often we don’t get any feedback – a compliment as simple as “you look nice today” can make someone’s day or even week. Try it!

Volunteer – The season is busy, and it’s hard to carve out any kind of time for extra activities, but making time to volunteer will make you feel wonderful, make a great example to those who look up to you, and will help those in need. You’re also likely to meet some new and interesting people.

Call a Friend – Stop texting and start calling. Sure, we’re busy and many of us prefer texting for day to day things, but connecting with a friend you haven’t spoken to in years is wonderful way to spread some joy. Get caught up, maybe even make plans to meet in person when the holidays are over. You’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner.

Adopt a Pet – Okay, this isn’t for everyone, and it might be better to wait until after the holidays, but the shelters are full this time of year. With the recent hurricanes and the fires in CA, there are a lot of pets that need new homes. Nothing is more joyful than a furry friend and they’ll be so happy to have a forever home.

Touch – A hug or kiss on the cheek when greeting friends and family is a great way to show you care. Touch is an integral part of our well being, and yet most of us don’t do it anymore. Make a habit of holding a loved one’s hand or giving them a quick hug, even if it feels a little awkward at first.

Forgive – This time of year, when we’re all a little stretched too thin, it’s easy to hold on to resentments or past grudges. Instead of giving in to those negative feelings, let go and forgive. Forgive a friend, family member, and most importantly, forgive yourself.


“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”

-Leo Buscaglia


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