This article is by Jeannette Tyson and published by Team Jesus Magazine
It’s that time of year again, Team – the holidays. Typically, people either love or hate the holiday season because it has a way of making us examine our lives. It might have something to do with it being the end of the year, maybe we’re faced with the reality of what we did or didn’t accomplish and why. Or, it could be that the cold and darker days slow us down long enough to take stock of what and who really matter.
If you have a great family and a cool job, it means so much more, and if not, it seems to hurt so much worse. Let’s touch and agree that we will beat any holiday blues this year and walk in the peace that surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:7).
Don’t Let Holiday Blues Steal Your Joy
Put the holiday blues in its rightful place this season – far away from your heart and mind – and find peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 15:13):
1. Redefine the holidays and what they mean to you.
There are no rules; create your own traditions no matter what the holiday season looks like. Maybe on Christmas, instead of opening gifts and loading up on carbs, you take a hike or go to the spa. Maybe you and your friends and family could have a game night or binge watch old movies. We don’t have to be pressured into the commercialized version of the holidays or try and relive or upstage our childhood memories. Even if you have kids, you can do what is best for your mental health and budget.
2. Volunteer and give back.
I know there are a lot of restrictions right now with COVID-19. The shelters and soup kitchens may not allow volunteers to serve as they have in the past. Still, there are many other ways to give back. You can start a coat or toy drive for families in need. You could send cards to the elderly in senior homes. There are so many ways to be a blessing to others. Do some research to see where you might be able to help. When we give to those in need, we give to God (Matthew 25:40). Giving does something for your soul, it truly makes you feel good. Acts 20:35 says, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
3. Get outside.
I know it’s getting cold, Team, but if you can, you should get outside. The winter months tend to turn us into little hermit crabs, but being inside too much can have an effect on you. If you like the lights, there are a lot of drive-through light shows during this time, so take a cup of hot cocoa and enjoy. Of course, there are plenty of non-holiday themed activities, but the point is to stay active. If you don’t have anyone to go with you then maybe go to your favorite café and do a Zoom coffee date. Go to a drive-in movie theatre or create a playlist and take a drive. I know it gets dark early – but live a little!
4. Don’t feel like you’re a bother, stay connected.
For some reason, we try not to reach out to our friends as much during the holiday season because we feel like they’re too busy or we don’t want to seem needy. This is ridiculous! Your friends love you, let them be there for you. As someone who doesn’t live near family, I struggled with this for a while, but I realized that God blessed me with these connections for a reason. It’s okay to lean on them.
5. Consider everything you do have and be grateful.
Maybe you don’t have your dream job, but you have a wonderful family or spouse. Maybe you’re single this year, but you have a great job and a lot of awesome friends. Maybe you’re not able to see your friends and family because of COVID-19, but you have your health and sanity – plus you can video chat with them. Refuse to focus on the things you wished were different and appreciate all that is a blessing in your world.
Negative thoughts sometimes get triggered by random things, and it’s usually subtle, but be mindful to redirect the negativity. Philippians 4:8 tells us to think on things which are lovely, of a good report and praiseworthy. This doesn’t always come easy. It happens when we intentionally disrupt and redirect bad thoughts.
We have to train our minds to stay positive; we can choose joy! Meditation is a powerful tool that works in you to transform your thinking.
So, What’s the Play Call?
Victory over holiday blues is ours for the taking. When you’re finding it difficult to stay positive, happy, or joyful, meditate on Romans 15:13:
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.