I am looking forward to spending December holidays, and ringing in the new year, with family and friends. After two years of spending New Year’s separated from them, due to COVID, I am especially grateful to be reconnecting with them in person. During our extended periods apart, I have deepened my appreciation for how important it is to cultivate joy in everyday activities.

Joy is a relational concept and practice of connecting with oneself and with others. Joy can be cultivated together by making new memories that activate all the senses we have available to us, including taste, smell, and touch. When I am alone, some of the ways that I cultivate joy are by drawing strength from within, by practicing self care, or by writing letters to people to let them know I am thinking of them. These acts also cultivate gratitude.

Whether you are on your own this holiday season or spending time with others, I hope that you cultivate joy, and that others cultivate joy to send your way.

Wishing you the best for the season, and a healthy, heart-filled start to 2023.

Artwork by Leela Viswanathan