It’s the most wonderful time of the year, but are you finding yourself recluse, pumping your fists in the air yelling BAH-HUMBUG?! Does the smell of Evergreen candles make you nauseous? Do you have a “special place” for that “Christmas plant?” Do thoughts of candy canes elicit feelings of rage? And will you lose it If. YOU. HEAR. THIS CHRISTMAS. ONE . MORE. TIME? Or perhaps you’re finding yourself:
Sounds like you may be experiencing The Holiday Blues. Some of us have been anticipating this six-week holiday season since last year. Just the thought of Christmas plays, caroling, service to others, togetherness and of course, the gifts received and given has our cheeks rosy with holiday cheer! But then for many of us, this time of the year, evokes and amplifies feeling of sadness, loneliness and depression. Here are 7 tips to help you beat those holiday blues.
1. Acknowledge Why You Have The Blues
You can’t change what you don’t acknowledge-Dr. Phil
Are memories of Christmas past when life seemed so simple, running through your imagination? Feeling lonely? Going through a recent break-up? I can truly understand and empathize with the dichotomy of the emotions the holiday season causes. In order for you to push through what can seem like six weeks of despair, start with naming your pain so that God can come in with healing, restoration and comfort. Perhaps you are mourning a family member. Give yourself space and time to grieve. Cherish the memories you have. Ask God to comfort and give you strength. Or maybe you are going through an unexpected job loss and worry how you’ll afford gifts this season. As I frequently say, a gift given that comprises the financial integrity of your own household is not a gift worth giving. If you “must give”, spend what you can responsibly afford, but under no circumstances do you succumb to the social pressures of spending money you don’t have! What’s most important is to be honest with how you feel so that you can get the help you need.
2. Serve Others
Something happens when you chose to think of yourself less in service to others. I know this sentiment is counter-cultural. The tea is that you are EMPOWERED to pour yourself out because you are filled FROM God’s well of power and strength! Drawing from God’s will never have you experiencing the side effects of burn out and bitterness. So what does service look like? Well it could be:
Sing Christmas carols at a local senior home.
Visit a Children’s hospital.
Offer to shovel snowfall from your neighbor’s home or for a needy elderly couple.
Feed the homeless at a local shelter.
Notice none of these recommendations require any money.
3. Joy to the world
“But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace…-Galations 5:22
What to experience the joy God has for you, CHOOSE to focus on Him. Put on your favorite worship jams and get in God’s presence. Remind yourself of His love and the gift of His birth.
4. Don’t Be Alone
Resist the urge to isolate. When alone in your thoughts, you’ll continue to tell yourself the same lies over and over. If you’re an #introvert like me, parties outside of my own, are triggers for anxiety. If you can relate, host an intimate gathering with your close friends and family. Get around the people you love!
5. Don’t Compare
Has jealousy and envy made its way into your heart? You know that unsettling and gnawing feeling of “why them and not me God?”. Well, Christmas will certainly highlight and reveal all that is hidden from our subconscious mind. Be content with your portion and do not fall into the COMPARISON TRAP. Rejoice with those who rejoice. Resist the urge to covet. Ask God to remind you of all His blessings to you. Repent of ungratefulness and be thankful. You are more than blessed. I’m sure you can think of something right now to be thankful for. I’ll wait.
6. Get in Some TLC
Christmas in the Northeast is usually synonymous with frigid temperatures, dreary days and snowfall, that then turns to dirty slush. YUCK! And unfortunately, when the temperature drops, many are finding themselves S.A.D. No for real, Seasonal Affective Disorder, a form of depression that may cause serve mood changes during winter months. According to The National Institutes of Health, symptoms may include irritability, hopelessness, and extreme fatigue. So be sure to eat foods rich in chlorophyll, calcium and Vitamin D. In addition, be sure to get in your:
7. Create Something To Look Forward To
Create new memories or traditions to draw happiness from.
Have a Ugly Christmas sweater party.
Visit holiday lights in your neighborhood.
Host a dinner party, with adult hot chocolate :wink wink:
Host an Operation Christmas Child boxing party.
Go catch a movie or binge watch Elf, Home Alone & The Santa Clause (these are all my faves).
Bake and decorate holiday cookies.
Create your own Christmas playlist.
If you’re like me and have experienced the loss of family members, the holidays can exasperate how much you miss them. Keep those memories close to you. Smile when you think of that person/people. Keep guard over the matters of your heart and its proclivity to lean towards despair, joylessness, and hopelessness during this season. Let your blues draw your near God and the joy He so freely gives, everyday! Just as important, I want you to remove all the layers of what has become of Christmas. Remember what this miraculous tradition represents: God’s redemptive plan through the birth of a Savior. Rejoice!