• Back to the Basics – by Dr. Randy Gold, Psy.D.

    It’s funny how life seems to work. One day, we’re on top of the world. The next day, it appears the sky is falling. Here we are, approaching the holiday season, and our economy, it seems, is in a place that none of us have ever seen before. Jobs being lost, businesses slowing down, companies closing. Constant talk of the recession, fear and worry all around us. It’s a time like this when our survival instincts hopefully kick in, where our perspectives change. It’s a time when we are forced to go back to the basics. How do we balance our earning and spending? How do we have fun without buying the latest and greatest? How do we balance our stress and our need to find some enjoyment and peace during the holidays? How do we cope with our situation? Sometimes struggles and pain lead to answers and understanding, perhaps this is some of what this journey will offer.

    My days are often spent trying to make sense of this rollercoaster ride, trying to find a new way to look at things. Perhaps a new perspective, a positive spin, a hopeful view. My days are also spent solving problems, or at least trying to. Stepping back, trying to get down to the root of our situation, understanding where we are, and then asking ourselves, “What can we do in this situation?” We can stay stuck in the worry, or the anger and frustration, and it may seem we are magnetically drawn back to these feelings. Or, we can accept that this is where we are in this moment, and wonder about what else we can take from being perched on this particular ledge. For instance, as our worries grow:

    We can be upset that we can’t take that vacation.
    Or, we can enjoy our time at home, sitting around
    playing games with the kids, feeling lucky that
    we have a home and a place to relax.

    We can be upset that we can’t spend a lot of
    money on all the gifts and things that
    everybody wants, or we can soak in all the
    fun we can have as families when we play games,
    throw a ball, cook together, and just hang out.

    We can be upset that we can’t buy the newest
    or brightest, or we can smile as we realize
    that we are having the opportunity
    to relearn a great lesson: That perhaps
    running in the fastlane of life isn’t
    the safest, happiest, or healthiest place to be.

    Sometimes, out of struggle, come some very important lessons. It seems none of us know how things will play out in the days and months ahead. It would probably be a safe bet to say that we are going to hear and think about all the struggles, fears, and painful realities quite a bit. If that’s what it’s going to be, then I also hope we can learn from where we are, and perhaps try some new things out. Perhaps getting back to the basics, slowing down a bit, and spending more time with our family and friends, perhaps these are some of the lessons we need to relearn.

    May all of your holidays be full of health and happiness, and perhaps a few lessons, as well. I’m going to play with the kids, read a book, do some things around the house, worry some, play a lot, and try to enjoy just being in the moment……..See you in the new year………….

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