Christmas can be a time that is not very merry for a lot of people especially if mental health, alcohol or other drugs have taken over. It can be a time of sadness when families can't connect and where the pressure of buying gifts grows out of control. In sum, Christmas can be a time of increased stress and worry in terms of family relationships and finances. But here's the thing. We have a choice about how we go about our day. We can let those problems bury us in sadness, stress and worry. Or we can seek to rise above it all. We can get busy looking after ourselves by catching those negative thoughts before they take hold. We can get up and notice small things that might brighten up our day. A blue sky, sunshine, tree leaves blowing softly in the breeze or a beautiful flower in the garden. We can light a candle, put up a few Christmas lights and be as gentle on ourselves as we are to others. And when we do these things our world gets brighter and we cope better with whatever else is happening. Some years I haven't bothered much about Christmas. But these days I put up some Christmas lights that brighten up a room and reflect hope for the future. Be kind to yourselves this Christmas and hold on to hope.