by Bill Peters, Ministry Leader
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. John 14:27
Managing the Christmas and New Year’s Holidays
Christmas, end of year reflections, decorations, good food, family time, holiday music, gifts…’tis the season to celebrate! For many of us it can also be a time of year when memories of loved ones we’ve lost come pouring into our minds, feelings of sadness can overwhelm us, and stressful situations with our friends and families are magnified. These feelings can trigger us into compromising our healing, hope and recovery.
Depression It’s not unusual for depression to accompany the anxiety of the holiday season. Because depression can make recovery difficult, extra care should be taken to deal with it as soon as the symptoms are detected. Call your accountability partner or ministry leader, attend a Celebrate Recovery, get some exercise! Depression is real and it hurts,with God’s help you can feel better.
Stress Holidays are stressful for many of us. Stress is your body’s reaction to internal and external change. For most people, the holidays involve a great deal of change. Changes may be little: perhaps you have a lot of guests coming and you’ll have to rearrange various rooms in your house. And changes may be huge: maybe this is your first holiday without one of your parents, your spouse, or children. Don’t underestimate the impact of those “little” changes. Stress can build up quickly, making you vulnerable to your specific triggers. Stress might cause a relapse or, at least, halt your recovery for a while. As with depression, it’s important to be aware of what’s going on inside. You know right now that the next couple of weeks will be stressful. You can’t control everything that will happen, but you can learn how to cope with your reactions.We can’t prevent most changes in life, and we probably wouldn’t want to! The holidays can be a wonderful time of celebrating and being in the company of good people. Since you cannot prevent change and, therefore, cannot prevent stress, you’ll want to learn the many ways you can cope with stress.
Grief You may find yourself grieving during the holidays for any number of reasons. We grieve if a loved one dies, but other major losses may cause grief as well. Family relationships may produce intense emotions. Maybe one of your children will be away during the holidays this year. Maybe there was a family conflict during the year, and you won’t be seeing certain relatives. Many situations like these can produce feelings of emptiness and loss. For whatever reason you may be grieving, it’s important to learn about grief and how you can cope with the situation. Don’t underestimate the impact grief may have on you during a particular day. Reach out to family members and friends who may have experienced the same loss.
Loneliness Holidays may produce intense feelings of loneliness, particularly because so many of us have ideals of what the “perfect” holiday should be. It’s possible to feel lonely even with a group of people, particularly if that one special person is missing from the group. Loneliness can hit hard and quickly. Don’t think of yourself as immune from such feelings. Additionally, loneliness is an emotion that feeds depression. Think about where you will be this holiday season and how it will make you feel. Even if you will be alone during part of the holidays, you can plan ways to make yourself comfortable. One idea is to have several phone numbers of “buddies” available to call. Tell your support friends and your accountability partner that you might be calling during a specific time.
If you’re looking for a safe place to share your struggles, strengths, hurts, and hopes with others, Celebrate Recovery may be for you. In a Christ-centered recovery process, we work to overcome our negative and addictive behavior through community, scripture, and worship. For more information please contact Bill at 615-584-2454. Celebrate Recovery meets Monday nights at 6:00pm to 9:00pm at the North Boulevard Church of Christ in Murfreesboro, TN at 1112 North Rutherford Boulevard. Everyone is welcome! Please join us.