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Northview Blog How to Deal with Sadness During the Holidays: 4 Tips for Lifting Your Spirits

November 23, 2020

How to Deal with Sadness During the Holidays: 4 Tips for Lifting Your Spirits
Some people go all out for Christmas, decorating, shopping, baking and planning the perfect gatherings with friends and family. For them, the holidays are a festive time. But for many, the Christmas season is anything but the most magical time of the year. 
The holidays can be a time of sadness, making an already difficult time even tougher in light of the unrealistic expectation that you’re not supposed to feel any way but happy at Christmastime. For some of us, the holidays can cause us to feel left out or lonely or bring back memories of sad experiences. When I was 21, my dad passed away unexpectedly four days before Christmas. It wasn’t easy, and memories of that time definitely made the holidays difficult for years to come.
There are a few things you can do proactively to lift your spirits if you’re feeling sad. However, I do want to frame this by saying it’s okay to feel sad. We can’t be happy all the time. But if you’re experiencing a prolonged period of sadness, you may want to consider talking with a professional and pursuing options that are better aligned with your needs than the suggestions below.   
1. Develop a big-picture view of Christmas. 
Focus on the real meaning of Christmas, not the decorating, gift-giving part. Commit to reading a chapter in the Gospel of Luke every day starting Dec. 1. You’ll finish on Christmas Eve, and this will give you a way to refocus on what’s important—the story of how Jesus came to earth, His servant attitude during His time here and the gift He gave us through His birth, death and resurrection.   
2. Share from the heart. 
Look for ways to share with folks who are in need. Get a tag or two off the Compassion Tree at Northview Church, knowing you’ll make Christmas better for someone else. If you don’t have the funds for gifts, donate your time regularly throughout the month of December. There are many organizations that need volunteers, and Volunteer Match can help you find options that work for you. You could also consider doing something nice for a difficult person in your life. We all have at least one of them! It’s likely they could use some kindness. 
3. Enjoy decorations. 
If you’re up to it, consider decorating. You can choose whether to decorate simply or extensively. If you’re into the simple approach, put a string of lights around an indoor plant or two or drape them on a windowsill. No matter how you choose to decorate, do it in a place where you’ll see it regularly. Consider leaving up your Christmas lights through January. They can be comforting at a time when daylight hours are diminished. 
4. Start a gratitude journal. 
It’s helpful to spend a few minutes each day reflecting on the good parts of your life. I started doing this recently after Northview's Senior Pastor Steve Poe recommended it, and I’ve found it helps me truly think about my life and the things for which I’m grateful. It’s easy to skim over them in the hustle and bustle of life. Unfortunately, we usually find ourselves with even more to do during the Christmas holidays. That’s exactly why it’s a great time to slow down, take a deep breath and reflect on God’s blessings. Consider combining the time spent on your gratitude journal with suggestion No. 1 to create a special prayer and reflection time.  
There are a lot of expectations about what we should be doing and how we should feel during the holidays. Consider a different approach to Christmas this year with a focus on why we even have Christmas. This will give you a change in perspective that you won’t find out in the secular world. With prayer, you can carry that new mindset in your heart as a way to reset your thoughts and your mood. 

by Angela Borden

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