Coping Through Christmas
By: Sarah Wolford, December 15, 2017
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.
And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace”
- Christmas is a beautiful reminder of the redeeming love and birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. It is a time of reflection, joyful celebration, family, and course, food! While these celebrations together display our love for Christ through fellowship with one another, this time of year may also bring about a heavy and silent walk within us—one that is fraught with ongoing family conflict, personal feelings of isolation, grief, loneliness, and for many—depression. If this sounds familiar, I want you to know that I understand and that you are not alone.
- Below I have written out some basic coping skills to assist you this Christmas. This season, I’d like to challenge you to allow Christ be your “Wonderful Counselor,” guiding you through the joys and sorrows that come with this special time.
- Finally, remember that God loves you! He is always near, and we love you, too. You are never alone here at TRBC.
Coping on your Own:
- Engage in Self-Care & Daily Routines: Just because the holiday season brings about a different schedule doesn’t mean that you have to lose track of your daily routine. Make sure to intentionally set aside time for your morning prayers, bible time, exercise and anything else you normally do. When we are out of routine, we tend to experience more anxiety and uncertainty. Take out a planner and plan your day so that you have time to take care of your spiritual and health needs first. You’d be surprised how much engagement in daily routine makes you feel better about your ability to effectively cope!
- Know Your Limits & Plan Ahead: If you feel overwhelmed by the number of events, parties and special occasions you have to attend, or, if you are simply stressed by the number of tasks you must complete—take a break. Know what you will say yes to, and when it is okay to say no. Taking on too much responsibility wears the body out and depletes our energy to cope. It is okay to say no!
- Prepare a Budget & Stick to It: Financial stress and mental health symptoms go hand in hand. Many find it exciting to buy gifts for others, but later stress out about the strain on their wallet. Try to be creative in your gifts—can you make something instead? Cap your gift at $5 per person instead of $10? Challenge yourself to stick to a budget that will keep you less stressed this season!
- Tune Out the Media: Turn off the TV, social media sites and the news as much as you can! It can be overwhelming and distracting to think more about what we will buy rather than the true meaning of Christmas. We can also get trapped into comparing ourselves too much to others that we see on TV or on Facebook. You’ll be surprised how much better you feel when you tune out the noise around you!
Coping Through Family Challenges
- Boundaries Are Your Friend: Although this season is about family gatherings around the fire, it does not mean that healthy boundaries go out the window! If you are worried about possible family conflict, remember that you can make a plan ahead of what you will and will not accept. For example, make a list that outlines the following: ‘If THIS happens, I will do THAT.” Being together does not mean that you will have to endure a snippy comment about you, or a blunt remark from a family member about a disagreement. Be aware of your own emotional boundaries, and know when it is okay to say no. Displaying healthy boundaries through limit-setting on what is appropriate for interaction is not only healthy for you, but great modeling to those around you.
- Bring Peace: Display your desire for peace to those at the dinner table or throughout events you attend this season. Offer to say the blessing, give thanks openly to those around you, and praise others for their respectful and kind interactions. Let family members know ahead of time, your hopes for a positive interaction, and model appropriate engagement with others. Most importantly, do not get wrapped up in possible conflict—try to bring about peace among the group.
Seeking Additional Help?
Did you know that the 211 Big Bend Hotline is not just a crisis line, but a 24/7 service equipped to help you locate support in the community, ranging from child care needs, shelters, food pantries, free or low cost counseling and more? By simply calling 211 or going to their website, you will gain access to a wealth of resources to help with any personal or family concerns you may have. Contact them today by calling 211, or, go to their website at 211bigbend.org for more info!
The TRBC Counseling Team is also here to help you! If you or someone you know may need additional counseling services, please do not hesitate to contact our Ministry Assistant, Linda Brown at 850-386-4288. We will be sure to connect you with a therapist who can share more about fees and get your set up for your first appointment!
Sarah Wolford is one of our newest staff members. You can get to know Sarah HERE and find out more information about her counseling practice HERE.