by Peggy Burns, LMFT | Director of CCC San Francisco
Christmas is a beautiful time of year as we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. If you find yourself struggling with anxiety try one or more of the following recipes to reduce stress and regain a sense of the joy of the season.
- Find the true meaning of gift giving: The holidays can be a time when we’re caught up in a flurry to buy! Buy! Buy! Many buy the most popular gifts on the market to prove their love for someone else. Instead think about making a personal investment in other’s lives. Before heading out to the shopping mall with credit card in hand consider what Jesus did to give gifts.
- Connect with others: Connecting with others can be God’s way to encourage and restore you. Make plans, be bold and don’t wait to be invited by others. Isolation can compound depression and fuel the inner critic.
- Create new traditions: If you are single or far away from home start your own way to celebrate the holidays. Invite others into your home and give a new meaning to the words “extended family”. Let go of past traditions that don’t bring you joy for the sake of “we have always done it this way”. Give yourself the gift of choosing life and celebrating the season.
- Change your lens. Don’t focus on what you don’t have but what you do have: God has not forsaken or abandoned you. (Hebrews 13:5) Take a moment to write down three things you are grateful for in your day. This exercise will help you change from a negative lens to seeing the blessings that also exist.
- Set appropriate boundaries: The holiday season can be stressful when families are chaotic. Think about how to manage your time with your family by setting appropriate boundaries. Maybe this year find a hotel if you travel to see your family. This can give you a place to gain perspective and reenergize.
- Seek sacred time: Take moments during this busy season to refuel and connect with God. Begin a new chapter with God by meditating on His word, let worship music wash over you and encourage you. Set up a special place in your home where you are comfortable and can look forward to His presence.
- Plan a Holiday budget: Be conscious the next time you use your credit card. Follow a budget in the holiday season. Buck the holiday system of excessive gift giving, and practice simplicity, creativity and human kindness.
- Take care of your temple: (I Cor. 6:19) Eat well, drink a lot of water, exercise and then be merry. Get plenty of rest. Sleep deprivation is one of the roots of many people’s depression.
- Invest in another life: The best insurance to a fulfilled holiday season is to step outside of yourself and give to others. You will find as you invest in others tremendous blessings occur. Take time to work in a soup kitchen, visit the elderly or give a gift to a family that is less fortunate than you.
- Give the gift of forgiveness: Forgiveness is the salve that heals a broken heart. Be luxurious with this gift during the Christmas season. Forgive all kinds of people, those from your past, from work, your family and don’t forget to forgive yourself!