Help for Those Struggling During Holidays
Holidays are not for everyone.
When you like them, there’s usually a lot of work involved to decorate, shop, cook and take care of everyone else. When you don’t like them, it’s hard to appreciate that you don’t need to shop or cook or even decorate for anyone.
A lot of people are alone, lost a loved one, lost a job, lost a marriage, have kids not coming home, or are housebound by illness and age. Loneliness and depression hit even harder this time of year. So, what can you do?
Well, here are some choices. I recommend all of them every day!
1-Pray: Just talk to God. Lay out the hard, the ugly, the sad, the angry, the disappointments. He’s strong enough for all of it and wants to come into your heart and be with you in it, and fill you love, hope, and peace. God’s voice is encouraging and positive–always. (The other one is not. Don’t listen to other one.) Even if you can’t see it, God’s doing a good thing in your life to bring you to a new a better place. Trust. Believe. And keep talking to him. But also listen and look for his hand moving everything into place for you.
2-Experience nature: Creation is magical. Don’t miss it. Even in the worst places I’ve lived, I could always look up and enjoy the sky. Maybe you have a pet or trees nearby. Enjoy birds searching for food or the sound of wind and rain. There are so many aspects of nature to absorb, observe, and appreciate. Let nature nourish your soul.
3-Exercise: You can take a walk in nature and talk with God all at the same time! Or hit the weights and focus on making your body strong. When your body is strong your mental and emotional strength also gets strong and all this builds confidence.
4-Get enough sleep: Go to bed earlier. Get a new pillow or snuggly blanket. Turn the temperature down a little if you are waking up a lot. Keep water by your bedside and try some Valerian tea or bedtime tea before you go down. A good rest increases your ability to be positive and gives you the energy for everything else!
5-Stay in the moment: It’s taken me a lifetime to learn and develop this. Anything can happen in a day, especially during holidays! Just make a daily plan, then be flexible with what comes into your life. Yesterday and tomorrow do not exist and you have no power over them. Stay in the present. See the people around you. Smile at them in the store. Offer the clerks some holiday encouragement. Call or call on friends who can’t travel much or just friends who need help with wrapping or decorating or baking. Have your own baking or tree trimming night. It can be casual. You’d be surprised how much people are always looking for excuses to meet up during the holidays without everything being “an event”.
6-Read something educational and/or uplifting: This will work your mind and grow some new brain wrinkles! It will also give you something to chat about when you are with others. Or maybe it will grow your career or side gig, or help your mindset shift to energetic firecracker. For encouragement open the Bible. Psalms are always good.
7-Prioritize developing your most important relationships: The quality of our relationships is usually the quality of our life. Pick a new way to grow your relationship with God. Then pick a person to grow closer to and make time for them. Have coffee or call on the phone. Ask questions. Listen more than talk. Ask, “is there more to that?” Repeat back what they say to you to help make them feel seen and heard—so they know what they said had value and meaning to you. It takes time and patience to get to talking about the deeper stuff. Be patient and make sure you are affirming the simpler things and giving everyone encouragement. Human connection is what we crave and need, but in a positive, healthy, and reciprocal fashion. And, NO ONE is good at this without practice and effort. It’s never too late to work on it.
Yes, you can escape into a book…but don’t overdo it! There is a world out there.