On November 9th, 2020 the world received good news as Pfizer and BioNTech reported they have been testing a Covid-19 vaccine that has proven to be 90% effective. The announcement gave us all a reason to feel hopeful about better days ahead as we prepare to hunker down for winter and the hustle of the Holidays. To lift your spirits and keep you hopeful, you’ll need a bit of light and joy. So here are a few seasonal tips and accompanying songs to carry you through the Holidays. Enjoy!
10 Tips & Songs to Lift Your Spirits and Hang-On to Hope During the Holiday Hustle (and a pandemic)
1. Dance and Sing! Proven to make us feel better, singing and dancing can turn just about anyone’s mood from surly to sunny. Pour something warm in your cup and take 12 minutes to enjoy Emily Blunt and Lin-Manuel Miranda as they entertain us through 12 Musicals in 12 Minutes then move and groove to the songs that accompany the rest of the tips below!
2. Perfectly Imperfect. Instead of striving for that “Perfect 10,” try “Perfect 7” on for size! Then, repeat this mantra throughout the season, “perfectly imperfect, perfectly imperfect, perfectly imperfect…”
3. Say Sayonara to Stress. Stress is plentiful this year with the trifecta of the pandemic, distance learning, and the Holidays, so pay attention to how you’re feeling. Stress stays in our bodies until we consciously work to get rid of it. Physical activity, breathing, laughter, affection, crying and creative expression are all ways to purge stress from our limbic system.
4. Don’t Budge on the Budget. The after–Holiday-let-down is easier to take when we stay within the budgets we’ve set. Explore ways to celebrate the season that don’t include more stuff, or think about gifts people can “do,” like books for reading, shoes for running, or dogs for walking. (Yes, dogs!).
5. Random or Planned Acts of Kindness. For some of us, the most challenging part of doing an act of kindness is not telling anyone. Whether you remain anonymous or come clean, you’ll feel good and so will the person for whom you bestowed your kindness. Buy coffee for the person behind you in line, leave a treat on a friend’s doorstep, or shovel the driveway next door.
5. Break It Down. When my daughters were little, they would easily become overwhelmed when I assigned tasks unless I broke them down. Instead of saying “clean your room,” it worked much better when I stated smaller steps like, “put the books on the shelf.” The same holds true for us! One step at a time. One task at a time. One day at a time. Break it down, just like MC Hammer!
6. Nature, Nap, and No. Unable to pick just one of these three, each of the N’s are equally powerful! Our lives are better when we take time to go outside, when we nap, and when we use our voices to say no.
7. Say Yes to Help. Many of us have had to learn to say no and many of us have had to learn to say yes, too! When help is offered, take it. Conversely, offer help to others, as well. As the late, great Paul Wellstone said, “We all do better, when we all do better.”
- Song: HELP by the Beatles
8. We Can Do Hard Things. Yes, we can agree, things are hard right now. If you’re in need of support, meet Glennon Doyle whose mantra is just that, and who has a lot more to say about doing things that are hard in her book, Untamed. If you need more than a mantra of support, please reach out to a health care professional who can provide mental health resources.
10. Looking for Inspiration? This list of four will motivate you, spark your imagination, and encourage you to let it go as you sing to yourself, what a wonderful world.
To ensure you can listen to all the songs, we’ve created this Hope for the Holidays Spotify Playlist just for you!
This year has been, and continues to be, challenging, but better days are in our future. As we look forward to 2021, keep hope on the horizon and sing and dance whenever given the chance.
Music does wonders for the soul.
We can do hard things.
Great Course Recommendations for Teacher Wellness:
Nagoski, E. & Nagoski, A. (2019). Burnout: The secret to unlocking the stress cycle. Ballantine Books.
Stress Management from The Mayo Clinic
Learners Edge Offers 100+ Self-Paced, Online,
Graduate Credit Continuing Education Courses for Teachers