As we go into Chanukah, Christmas, and the New Year, expectations and tensions will be high. It has been a long year with increased challenges for so many of us. I have friends who were sick this year and are still recovering. Unfortunately, I also lost a friend this year who died unexpectedly. And, far too many of my friends are out of work or losing income as a result of the pandemic and the economy.
To distract myself from all of those worries – and as a way to reach out to my circle of support – I have been focusing my attention on sending holiday cards. I am one of those people who likes to send a holiday card to every person whose mailing address I have and that I have ever met. So, I have been spending late nights and weekends distracting myself from the news by scouring my phone for the perfect photo for the card, writing personal notes on each and every one I send, and mailing them all out before the holidays begin.
Each of us is experiencing different forms of stress – and perhaps even creating more in how we are handling it. Stress relief is so important to well-being at all times, but I, like many of you, could really use some during this season.
The Nurture Science Program at Columbia University researches how emotional connection helps us calm each other, which helps us with stress, mood, and physical health at every age.
Just as the song Grateful reminds me of connecting to my family and community, I find that many songs offer life lessons about connecting with each other. So this month, as the days get short and cold, and we might be tempted to retreat into our phones, I want to share eight songs with you that not only make my family and me feel the warm sparkle of emotional connection, but also remind me how to practice it with those I love.