What Do the Holidays Mean to You?
When the Christmas music starts, the decorations in stores begin to change, how do you feel? A lot of people get excited, anticipating the holiday season and love this time of year! But for others who have been through difficulties in the previous year, the holiday season can bring on undue anxiety, stress, depression, and thoughts of hopelessness and loneliness. There is a reason counselors see an increase in clientele during the holiday season, as unfortunately, it can bring up many things for individuals. Some people may have relatives who were close to them, who passed away this time of year, which makes it especially hard to celebrate the joy that this season can bring. It can also be a time of reflection over the past year, which can bring up anxiety and sadness for those who felt that their year was a tough one.
What do you do to handle your holiday stress? Do you keep it inside and not let anyone know how you are feeling? Often this is what we tend to do, as talking about difficult topics is not something that comes naturally to anyone. Something that can be helpful this time of year when you are experiencing this sadness and loss, is to talk about it more and seek out help if necessary. We are not meant to do this life alone. This means you! We are in this together and there can be a light on the horizon for you if you will let someone in to share in your heartache.
Do you celebrate Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years? Perhaps it gives you anxiety just thinking about it. You are not alone and even if your life is going well, the holidays can bring up all sorts of issues for most people. For example, I must hang out with that relative that drives me insane, great! Or, I wonder how many times people are going to ask me when I’m getting married, having kids, having more kids, going on vacation, traveling to outer space? You get the idea. People can be incredibly nosey and this time of year, this can be especially hard for those who are secretly struggling. You want to look like you have it all together on the outside, but on the inside, you are dying and just need someone to understand what you’ve been through.
How Do I Survive the Holidays?
So, you might ask me: “What do I then, Jessica? How do I survive the holidays? Especially when all I want to do is crawl up in my bed and never come out of my room?” I would say to you that the first step is to look at yourself in the mirror, and ask yourself, “What do I want out of this life? What is my purpose that God has in store for me? What do I love to do and am I doing it? What changes do I need to make to get on the right path?” These are just some of the questions I would ask you, and they can be tough to answer. These are very honest and real questions and when we answer them with honesty and reality, then we gain insight into how we might help ourselves during this stressful holiday season and throughout years to come.
Take Charge of Your Life!
I don’t believe in beating around the bush when it comes to your life and taking charge of it. When it really comes down to it, you are the only one who is going to take care of you. So, treat yourself as though you are your own child or parent if you don’t have children…or an animal you love if you don’t have either. Would you neglect them? Let them suffer alone and not do anything to make things better for them? Probably not, so why do you allow this to happen to you?
What’s Your Divine Viewpoint?
You have this one life that God gifted to you and he doesn’t want to see you give up. No, in fact, he wants the absolute best for you and those you love. So, what is holding you back from living this beautiful life that God has blessed you with? I understand circumstances can be incredibly overwhelming and it makes you want to give up on life. But there is hope for you, girl or boy, woman or man, you are special and created in God’s love in his own image…do you know how special and beloved you are by Jesus? Do you see yourself as He does? Do you have that divine viewpoint? Even if no one in the world right now feels this way about you, Jesus does, so you are not alone, my friend. Life can be hard, yes, and some years are harder on us than others. I am all too aware of this. Thankfully, as human beings, we have a resilience built into our DNA, we are born to survive, love, connect, and have a purpose in this life.
Jesus was Born for a Purpose — And So Were You
Are you ready to figure out your purpose? I hope so! My purpose in this life, besides raising my daughter to be a loving, intelligent, empathetic woman, and being a loyal, loving wife to my husband…is to help you find that hope inside of you that was there all along. Maybe your spouse died and your so depressed you’ve lost hope. Or maybe you lost a child and you just can’t imagine what life is going to be like now. Or it could just be that you are bored with the life you have and lack the passion you once had as a child. Whatever your situation, please know that it can always get better! It may not feel like it right now, but God has a purpose for your situation and can turn your heartache into healing. If you are tired of feeling alone, sad, scared, or just complacent then this article is for you.
Below is a poem that I found and wanted to share with you for inspiration:
Breathe in the fresh air,
Put your mind at ease.
Let down your hair,
Let it flow in the breeze.
Let your eyes wander
To all the beauty to be seen.
If those toxic thoughts you still do ponder,
Then let out a scream.
Scream until the pain is gone,
Until you’re no longer feel afraid.
Open your eyes to a new dawn,
Let the darkness fade.
No longer compare yourself
Or your flaws to others’ perfections.
Take the negativity off the shelf,
Focus on your direction.
Pick the sadness up off the floor,
Sweep it into the wind.
Close the door on self-hatred,
Never let it back in.
For the lies it would often tell you,
You will no longer agree.
Happiness and love are what you should hold onto,
They are whom you should give the key.
Pay no attention to the toxic thoughts,
Listen to those who adore everything you are.
Overthinking was what you once were taught,
But now those thoughts you put in a jar.
Focus on your goals,
Never lose your fight.
It’s time to open new scrolls,
Everything will be alright.
© Katy A. Brown, Published on October 26, 2016
How do you feel now? Pay attention to that. Did this spark something in you? Hope? Life? Not giving in to negative thoughts of yourself? This is what God wants for you – to live a happy, hopeful life, even during the holiday season. It’s ironic, isn’t it? The holidays are presented as so cheerful and can be very joyful…but all too often, instead of sparking happiness in people, the holidays can bring up the heartache to the forefront of your mind and it can feel overwhelming.
What does God have to say about all of this? I turn to the Bible for his words to flow through this article and speak to you right where you are, as you need to hear them. Below is what I found when turning to His Living Word for direction and hope for you.
Some stress is normal. Other stress is unnecessary. Taking a test, for example, can be stressful – especially if you aren’t prepared for it. This type of stress can be normal and the only temporary. However, situations, like being involved in an accident, receiving a report of a serious illness, losing a loved one, or losing a job, can result in long-term stress that is not quickly remedied.
Another form of stress can come from physical, emotional, or mental trauma. A physical injury from an accident, abuse, or a weapon can be identified readily, but the invisible mental and emotional trauma is more difficult to uncover. Uncontrolled stress can develop into fear and anxiety, which ultimately can lead to control and destruction. Trauma can embed itself into the mind as well as the body.
Thankfully God has given us effective weapons to deal with the stress that tries to control our lives. Reach out to others for the help you need to deal with the stress in your life.
Also, place your confidence in God and His provision to keep stress levels at a minimum. Putting all of your cares and concerns in His hands with faith in Him is the only way to maintain a balanced life.
Father, your Word says that if I’m worried and stressed, then I can come to you and find rest for my soul. I take your yoke upon me today and I learn from you, receiving rest from your loving grace. Forgive me for being stressed out and anxious, not trusting you to take care of my needs. I repent for any resentment and bitterness that I have been holding onto. I receive your cleansing and forgiveness now in Jesus’ name. I trust that you will take care of me and that long-term stress doesn’t have to be a part of my life.
I command every spirit of trauma, stress, worry, anxiety, and fear that wants to influence me to go in Jesus’ name. Holy Spirit, fill me with your presence right now. Come into every worrisome situation and take control. Whatever is true, noble, just, pure, lovely, and good report, I think upon these things. I receive your peace, your rest, and your grace today, in Jesus’ name, amen.
Promises for Healing, A seven-day reading plan
by Joan Hunter; www.youversion.com
As I have often stated in my previous articles, it is not by accident that you stumbled upon reading this. Maybe you are already sick of the holiday season and searching for a little reprieve from the pressure…I hope you found that here. Just remember, it is never too late and you are never alone in your struggles. I understand and I am here to help you find your purpose and your joy again, through the healing power of the connection that you can find in counseling.
Pain Ends © Katy A. Brown, Published on October 26, 2016, http://www.familyfriendpoems.com/poem/pain-ends;
Promises for Healing, A seven-day reading plan by Joan Hunter, www.youversion.com
All photos from Flickr CreativeCommons (CC BY 2.0) license
“Holidays,” courtesy of Jim Lukach; “Wild Animals with Antlers,” courtesy of bm.iphone, Bruce Burkhardt; “Snow in February,” courtesy of Barbara Brannon; “Thanksgiving Dinner,” courtesy of Loren Kerns.
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