Mark My Words – Beating the Holiday and Winter Blues

Now that we are through the holiday season, it is time to settle back into our normal work and routines. For some, the holidays were a joyful time filled with fun, family, friends, and good food. For others, the holidays were a sad time due to sickness or the loss of a loved one. For some reason, the holidays tend to accentuate the pain that some feel, possibly because of self-imposed guilt that it is wrong to feel sad during the holidays.

Once we get through the holidays, we still must make it through the remaining bleak, cold winter months before we can experience the renewing power that the warmth of Spring and Summer bring. In this newsletter article, I would like to offer some suggestions on ways to beat the blues that some of us feel during and after the holiday season. I would like to qualify all of these suggestions with, “if your health permits it and you are able”. You know yourself better than I do. Also, follow your doctor’s guidance…and use good common sense.

1) Get Outside:

It is amazing what some fresh air and sunlight will do to lift the spirits. We are blessed to live in a location where the winters are not terribly harsh. Bundle up and get out when you can, and you will find that it takes the edge off the winter doldrums.

2) Get some Exercise:

Go to the gym, walk in your neighborhood, use your exercise equipment at home. Working the muscles and increasing your respirations and heartbeat are all beneficial in reducing the incidence of seasonal depression.

3) Eat Healthy and Drink Lots of Water:

If you are like me, you have eaten way too much over the holidays…but it sure was good!  Now that we are through the holidays, refocusing on healthy diets and drinking lots of water can bring with it the benefits of feeling better physically and emotionally.

4) Stay Busy:

The idle mind is the devil’s workshop. If we are idle for too long, our minds can become a breeding ground for negative thinking and depression. Find something productive to do to occupy your time. Read a good book, work in the yard, pick up a hobby….

5) Pray and Study God’s Word:

It is very difficult to remain in a state of lowered mood when we are daily casting our cares on the Lord and filling our mind with the positivity that emanates from the pages of Holy Scripture. Maintaining a regular time of devotions, Bible reading, and prayer can elevate our mood even when it’s cold and gloomy outside.

6) Stay Connected to God’s People:

Don’t let yourself get trapped at home, that is unless you are truly a shut in. Get out to the grocery store, post office, civic club, etc. Enjoy outings with friends. Also, and most importantly, stay in church. Studying the Sunday school lesson, singing the hymns, listening to the choir, hearing the sermon, and fellowshipping with God’s people will surely lift our spirits up when we are going through a “down season”.

7) Minister to the Needs of Others:

Find someone that is hurting and do something beneficial for them that ministers relief to them in Jesus’ name. If you do so, don’t be surprised if you find your mood lifted and your personal pain eased as a result of reaching beyond yourself to touch another human being with the love and compassion of Christ.

Be blessed, and be well my friends, in the name of Immanuel (God is With Us!).