This weekend I attended my nephew’s music recital and, as always, I found those kids to be absolutely amazing in the pursuit of their music and I walked away with thoughts that I decided I’d pass on to you. Starting with: Keep Your Head Up.

One student got on stage and sang “Keep Your Head Up” by Andy Grammar. It was so unexpected, but also so much fun to watch him belt out this song. He didn’t always belt it out perfectly and I think he forgot some of the lyrics toward the end, but he didn’t seem bothered by that at all. He was having fun and we were having fun and when he was done he gave a big bow, then leaped off the stage. And it made me think about how sometimes we need the reminder:

Keep Your Head Up.

Especially at this time of year. We’re rushing around to make sure our Christmas shopping is complete, that we have all the treats our loved ones look forward to at Christmas, that we’re prepared for a full Christmas meal or for our part of it.

We’re trying to get things done before the holidays at work and home and school.

We’re attempting to fit all the fun, festive activities into one month.

And it can leave us overwhelmed and exhausted.

But it’s not just the hustle and bustle that can cause us to walk around with our head down right now.

For some, this isn’t a happy or festive time of year.

We’re lonely. We don’t have people around us.

We’re sad. We’ve said goodbye to loved ones throughout the year and have an empty seat in our homes. Maybe we’re saying goodbye to a loved one and aren’t sure they’ll be around for Christmas or the New Year.

Or maybe we’re waiting. We’re waiting for a job or a pet or a child or someone to spend our lives with. There are so many things we could be waiting for, these are just a few that I’ve seen people talk about recently. And I won’t prioritize the importance of any of them, because we all have something we want out of life and if our heart yearns for something, then it’s important and valid and it can make a festive season harder.

I don’t know what you’re facing this holiday season (or whenever you happen to read this), but what I do know is that in the midst of it I truly believe we should keep our heads up.

I don’t know exactly what that looks like for you in whatever phase of life you’re in.

Maybe it means going to a holiday party to spend some time with people.

Or maybe it means putting boundaries in place and sticking to them when you go to the holiday party or dinner you’ve been dreading.

It could be a night in with a cup of hot chocolate and a really, really good cry.

Or calling a friend and telling them you need someone to talk to.

Maybe it’s finding a therapist to help with whatever you’re going through.

I know it doesn’t mean you have to force yourself to be happy or pretend to be when you’re not. You don’t need to be filled with the Christmas spirit. You don’t need to go to all the holiday parties and do all the holiday festivities if you don’t have the capacity for that.

When I say keep your head up, I simply mean this: keep your eyes pointed to the future.

Even if it seems dark and bleak. Even if it seems devoid of hope. Because there is more life to come.

Sometimes it’s hard to believe that, but it’s true. There’s more life ahead. It won’t always fix what’s happening now. What’s happening now might always stay with you. And what’s ahead might not look exactly like you expect it to. But there’s still so much ahead for you.

You just have to keep your head up.