One way I take care of my mental health is to get outside into nature. I guess that’s what appealed to me about seeking out the ‘Christmas Star’ that appeared on December 21st. You can read about it here on the NASA website. The star is basically an illusion created by the planets Jupiter and Saturn appearing to be close together from our view here on earth. And since it’s happening near Christmas, it was named the Christmas star, at least it was in the media. Scientists are calling it the Great Conjunction. Of course, the original Christmas Star was the light that guided the wisemen to baby Jesus. But for me, I also think of the star in the animated film, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” 

Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (1966) (YouTube/Warner Bros.)

When I was a child, I fell in love with the Grinch story and the way the Who community came together to sing on Christmas morning after they lost everything. The animated story shows them surrounding a shining light in the middle of their town square where the Christmas tree used to be. As a child I thought it was magical. Now, the adult in me says, ‘That doesn’t really happen. Nobody sings with a smile after they lose everything.’ Especially this year…

2020 has been a hard year for many people. From job loss, to illness, to the passing away of loved ones… many of us are more than happy to say goodbye to 2020. But was it ALL bad? For me, the good news in 2020 was that I was able to form some new friendships, found a couple walking buddies, and joined a group of women who have been following a work out program while face timing each other. 

Getting fit, strong, increasing my flexibility and losing a little extra weight in the process has been very rewarding. My mental health definitely feels better when I take care of my physical health. This is what I reflected on as I stood on the top level of a parking garage to see the Great Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn. Looking into the sky always makes me feel small, and then I wonder, are my problems really as big as I sometimes make them out to be?

Just as the planets keep moving around the sun, so will I keep moving forward into the new year and new adventures. I hope you will find a way to do the same. Feel free to comment on what has helped you take care of your mental health in 2020.