Particularly in light of this past Friday’s diabolical crime against innocent children and adults in Newtown Connecticut, it seems a bit shallow for anyone unaffected personally by this tragedy to complain about having the blues this Christmas and Holiday Season. Certainly, this couldn’t possibly be a more horrendous time for the families and friends of those beautiful children and the teachers who perished at the hands of a madman.
Earlier, I posted Sarah Palin’s moving Facebook note, The Only Hope, an eloquent tribute to lives lost and timely affirmation of the power of faith and enduring presence of God. We may not understand His ways, but we can take heart in the knowledge that He does have a purpose and that in His house there are many mansions.
Continue to keep them all in your prayers.
On a personal note, although I have always loved Advent and Christmas, the results of the November election coupled with having to learn a hard lesson about pearls and swine and to undergo a root planing and scaling, in additional to a few other dental procedures nearly turned me into the Grinch this year.
But turning to my reliable methods of overcoming the blues and renewing the spirit have definitely helped me arrive at a much better, more hopeful place. So here are my top five ways to beat the Holiday blues.
1. Get Up and Move
As in, exercise. Sweat. Run. Walk. Dance. Kick-box. Ride your bike. In short, you should be engaging in whatever form of movement makes you happy and keeps you motivated. Every single day, no matter what else you have going on. My absolute favorite at-home workout is Leslie Sansone’s Walk Away The Pounds, which I’ve been using since early 2011. I first became acquainted with Leslie’s program when I received one of her 2-mile walk DVD’s as part of the Nutri System program I joined back in 2008 and immediately started using it. Later I purchased Walk Away The Pounds, which offers a 4-mile, 3-mile, 2-mile and 1-mile walk on one DVD, making it easy to select the best walk for you on any given day, according to your schedule.
Don’t be fooled by the term “walk” either. This program is really about combining low-impact aerobics with targeted moves that work the entire body — arms, legs, shoulders, chest, thighs, waist, core. For the past six weeks, I haven’t missed a day and typically do the 4-mile workout, though I’ve occasionally opted for the 3-mile and even the 2-mile if pressed for time.
Leslie is such a joyful, genuine person she makes you want to push it to the limit and pour as much energy and muscle into each workout as humanly possible. And along with a noticeable difference in my body, her program has helped me beat the blues during a very difficult, trying time. Highly recommended!
Judging by the excessive emphasis on shopping, consumerism and the material trappings of the Christmas season, it seems our culture has completely forgotten its real meaning. If you’re a Christian, the holiday is first and foremost a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, of God coming to earth in human form to live among us and ultimately redeem us. Take time each day to thank God for this sacrifice and for all of those involved in making it happen — especially Mary and Joseph.
If it’s difficult to find a quiet place at home, take some time to sit in the chapel of a local church. For me, nothing soothes the soul like sitting among the reminders of faith — the crucifix, the stained-glass windows depicting various Biblical events, the altar, the statued representations of Jesus, Mary, Joseph and saints.
Side note: for anyone who harbors this misconception, Catholics do NOT worship statues or idols. They are religious symbols, meant to assist in prayer and a better understanding of what we believe, period.
Whether you’re Catholic, Christian, Jewish or simply believe in a Higher Power, find time each day to go to a quiet place and reflect on the blessings in your life. It will enhance your spiritual, mental and emotional well-being like nothing else can.
3. Keep A Journal
I’ve been doing this since childhood and it really does help clarify, comfort and calm. If nothing else, write down at least five things for which you are thankful every single day to refocus your mind on what is truly important.
4. Do something meaningful for someone who can never repay you
Bake some cookies and other goodies to bring to a local nursing home or pediatric ward in a hospital. Don’t just deliver them and leave; read, sing and talk with the residents and/or patients. Donate a care package to our troops overseas via a worthy charity like Soldiers Angels. Invite a military family over for Christmas dinner. There are countless ways to make the season brighter for those who are suffering, and by giving to others you’ll also be gifting yourself with the joy of knowing you made a positive, tangible difference in someone else’s life.
5. Watch a Hallmark Movie
Yes, they can be corny but Hallmark Channel’s Christmas offerings showcase the very best of humanity, life, love, family and relationships. Every year they broadcast a fresh crop of movies, along with past favorites. For a list of programming, visit the Hallmark Channel site.
So there’s my short list of ways to beat the Holiday blues. Any other suggestions? Let me know what works for you — Merry Christmas!