5 Ways to Find Hope This Holiday Season

0 comments Posted on December 2, 2021

by Dena Dyer

Have you been hit with unexpected sadness recently? Grief and depression are no respecters of persons, and often the busy holiday season magnifies them. During November and December 2021, my father and father-in-law died within twelve days of one another, and I find myself dreading Christmas. Recently, I visited with my counselor about coping strategies. I hope they help you (or someone you love), too:

  1. Reach out. Call a counselor, doctor, pastor, or spiritual adviser…and be honest about how horrible you feel. Tell them you are thinking of harming yourself or that you can’t get out of bed. Accept the help they offer, with gratitude. It takes courage to be vulnerable, but the rewards—less isolation, medical intervention, lifesaving therapy—are worth it. If the first person you talk to doesn’t take you seriously, ask someone else for help. You are worth it!
  1. Give help. Making gifts for others can lift your mood. Consider volunteering, even for a few hours. Studies have shown that giving of ourselves is not only good for others, but it also contributes to our own happiness and well-being.
  1. Surround yourself with scripture. When my moods turn dark, I listen to worship music, and I turn to the Psalms. Reading or listening to comforting Bible passages helps me to focus on the plans God has for me and what He’s already given. It also helps me replace the enemy’s lies with eternal truth.
  1. Find people who understand. When I was going through postpartum depression, my husband was sweet but confused. He thought I should be able to “snap out of it” because he and his family had never experienced the disease. Now, many years later, he looks back and realizes he could have been more understanding. That’s why I highly recommend support groups and counselors. Having people who “get” you while you’re at your worst is a huge relief. For a few hours a week, you can completely let your guard down. Such freedom is healing.
  1. Give yourself grace. Getting through the valleys of grief and/or depression takes effort and time. It may also be one of the hardest journeys you’ll ever take. Whenever you can, do fun things for yourself: take a bubble bath while looking through a magazine; get a pedicure; watch a silly movie.

Self-care is something we shouldn’t ignore, especially when depression strikes. As you discover the specific actions that help you the most, make them a regular priority during the holidays.

Finally, know that whatever your emotions tell you, you are never, ever alone. The good news of Christmas is that the very God who formed the cosmos descended into humanity. Jesus gave up a heavenly throne to reconcile His errant children to Himself through a scandalous act of grace and mercy. This same Heavenly Father is only a prayer away.

Dena Dyer loves Jesus, her family, all things literary, coffee, and British television. She’s an author of ten books and many articles, a professional speaker, and a coach who’s been married to her hubby Carey for 25 wonderful years (and a couple they don’t talk about). They have two young adult sons, Jordan and Jackson, and a rescue dog, Sully. Her passion is sharing words of humor and hope with wounded and weary people, and she enjoys singing on the praise team at the church where her husband is the worship pastor. She spends too much time online or in the fast food drive-through—but she and the Lord are working on it. Connect with her: website, Instagram or Facebook.

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