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  • Writer's pictureNikki Ostrower (Nutritionist)

How to Rekindle Deep Joy, Fulfillment and Childlike Awe During the Holidays

It’s the holiday season and one of my absolute favorite times of year.

As a mom, wife, and entrepreneur, it’s so easy to get bogged down and feel “heavy” with a never-ending adult to-do list. I also love productivity and sometimes struggle to separate myself from the work that I love.

We already know that mental health is an epidemic, and even as a nutritionist and health professional, I too feel the effects of Seasonal Affective Disorder every year. It’s cold outside, dark by 5pm, and stress from holiday planning can send anyone into a tizzy.

So it’s a must for me to prioritize and schedule in time for deep joy, spiritual fulfillment, and childlike “awe and wonder”. Not just around the holidays, but all throughout the year.

One of the many ways I do this is by scheduling quality time with my daughter Emma doing fun activities. Recently, we went ice skating, and it was such a magical experience.

Not only did I get to see her light up with joy from sliding on ice, I too got to feel just like a kid again. It’s fulfilling both for my adult parental self and my own “inner child.”

Nature is also awe-inspiring and can reignite that part of the brain when we feel disconnected. The first beautiful white snowfall, taking a hike, seeing animals in their natural habitat or visiting a new place. None of these need to cost a lot of money, or a trip across the globe. There are “natural wonders” all around us.

I also love reminding myself, and my daughter, that true deep childlike joy and fulfillment cannot be fully achieved from physical possessions or food alone. While I do believe sharing delicious nourishing food with loved ones is a sacred experience, the food by itself is not what creates a lasting impression. The same goes for me with physical gifts (though I do love to give!).

Childlike joy is different for everyone, but for me, it’s about the experience and the memories created. It could be recreating a long lost memory, like reading a book or watching a movie from childhood, doing a creative project, or building something from scratch. Childlike joy lights up the brain in the same way that novelty lights up the brain of any adult. We need that on such a deep level.

Nothing astounds more than the first time using our senses to experience something new. It’s fresh, powerful, and reminds us we are alive! It can reignite passion and spark creativity. It reminds us that the world and universe are so vast, it’s incomprehensible, and filled with endless possibilities.

Whether you are feeling trapped by a to-do list, or bogged down by stress, or even if you’re feeling bored with your routine, all are signs that it’s time to schedule childlike joy and wonder back into your life.

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