These are some practical steps that you can take this holiday season to help with the stress that often accompanies this time:
1. Organize, write down a “To-Do” list, and plan when possible.
2. Have limits (budget) on your spending before you spend.
3. Get creative and make homemade gifts. People will appreciate the thoughtfulness.
4. Limit time with unhealthy, toxic, or negative family members.
5. Say, “No.” You can’t be at every event, party, and family function for the holidays.
6. Rest when you can. Take time to rest because the holidays can be quite taxing physically and mentally.
7. Do fun things and enjoy time with enjoyable people.
8. Balance your eating during the holidays with fresh fruit and vegetables and drink green tea for immunity. Be sure to get some form of exercise.
9. Carve out frequent time to spend with the Lord. Sit in His presence and let your soul be still before Him. Don’t go and run from place to place, but be still.
10. Take long, warm bubble baths sit back, and let the warm water relax your tired muscles.
11. Cast all your cares, anxieties, fears, and worries unto the Lord. Casting your cares means replacing your worries, burdens, and anxieties with prayer taking every thought captive, and renewing your mind with the truth of God’s word.
12. If you are lonely, or depressed, find a good, Bible-believing church and attend and give back to others who are in difficult circumstances. Talk to someone, tell them how you feel, and let someone pray with you. Don’t suffer alone.
It is important not to repress how you feel. There is a healthy way to express grief without letting yourself wallow in self-pity. Denying your emotions and stuffing them, can exacerbate depression and anxiety. Some people choose to self-medicate through heavy alcohol and drug use. While some isolate themselves because they do not feel festive.
Helpful tips for beating holiday blues:
1. Own your feelings. Do not deny them but express them through journaling, talking to God about them, and/or allowing yourself time to cry. Crying can be healing and it allows a release from the pain. Do monitor the frequency of crying, if you are crying continually and cannot stop this can be a sign of something more serious.
2. Do not force yourself to attend every holiday event, party, or social gathering. Pray about the ones that would be uplifting to you, and decline the rest of the invitations. Do what you can do, and do not feel guilty for what you cannot.
3. Take time for yourself. Take some time to rest, and do something you enjoy.
4. Take care of yourself. Exercise, preferably walking, this is one of the best exercises to reduce stress and depression. Eat balanced meals with fresh fruits and vegetables. Try as much as possible to stay away from fried foods and sugary sweets. Take a good multivitamin and drink plenty of water.
5. Try not to have unrealistic expectations for your family. Accept them where they are at, and do not compare your family to other families or what you see in those sappy Christmas movies.
6. Set a realistic budget for buying gifts. Look into baking homemade goods or crafts as gifts.
7. Keep connected to the life source, Jesus Christ. Have daily time communing with God, and getting quiet before Him. Let God bring you the comfort that you could not receive from anyone else.
As the winter season approaches, it is common for people to have an increase in depressive episodes, most often referred to as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD); and then the holiday blues on top of that can be difficult to handle. If you are feeling suicidal or having suicidal thoughts, it is time to have an evaluation by a medical doctor. This is serious, but also very common during these times of the year. Spending time with God can help reduce depression and anxiety, along with praying and surrendering your thoughts.
If you are feeling blue, depressed, anxious, or suicidal, please don’t give up. You are not alone, Jesus Christ who died for all of us, does love you. He does see you and He will bring help. Say out loud, “Jesus Christ does love me and every spirit of depression that is working against me must flee in the name of Jesus Christ.”