Goodbye Sadness ~ Hello Sunshine!
With the holidays in full swing and the winter season settling in, feelings of anxiety and loneliness can be as high as your expenses and a time that should feel merry and bright can feel sad and depressing. The colder temperatures and fewer hours of sunshine coupled with the holicraze madness can make for some very unhappy and unhealthy people. Throw in a virus or two and some bad weather and you have a recipe for disaster. People experiencing overwhelm and emotional lows in the winter months is real but there are things you can do to help yourself and your loved ones stay happy and healthy.
Regardless of your disposition for winter blues, anyone is susceptible to it if they don’t have healthy habits in place. Believe it or not, there are habits you can develop now to cure or prevent unhappy and unhealthy feelings. These things you can start doing today without any cost to you except your time. Be encouraged that you can live free from winter sadness in the months to come!
Here are some very simple and effective ways to help keep you happy and healthy this winter!
- Daily Son exposure. Spending time daily in the presence of Jesus Christ is an essential way to increase joy and peace in your life as well as renew your mind and guide your way of thinking. If anyone can turn a frown upside and cheer up a heavy heart, it’s Jesus!
Great joy is found in Him alone. Time with Jesus can turn your sadness and depression into happiness and dancing!
“Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2
“But now I am coming to You; and these things I speak in the world so that they may have My joy made full in themselves.” John 17:13
“And so the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:10
Perfect peace is found in Him alone. Time with Jesus can turn your anxiety into peace.
“These things I have spoken to you so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
“Peace I leave you, My peace I give you; not as the world gives, do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, nor fearful.” John 14:27
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and pleading with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
Anxious thoughts and worries flee in His presence. Time with Jesus can renew and quiet your mind.
“Therefore I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:1-2
“The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, Because he trusts in You.” Isaiah 26:3
“They reeled and staggered like a drunken person, And were at their wits’ end. Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, And He brought them out of their distresses. He caused the storm to be still, So that the waves of the sea were hushed. Then they were glad because they were quiet, So He guided them to their desired harbor.” Psalms 107:27-30
Jesus is our living hope. Time with Jesus can assure and remind you of His faithfulness to fulfill His promises to you.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” 1 Peter 1:3
Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; the one who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life (John 8:12).”
“AND IN HIS NAME THE GENTILES WILL HOPE.” Matthew 12:21
As you can clearly read, there are many benefits to making time for Jesus every day. The promises of joy, peace, renewal and hope are for you daily for all eternity. There is no limit to the amount of time you can spend with Jesus, however, if you do set a limit, aim for at least 15 minutes at the start of each day. And whatever you do during your time with Him, be sure to do it with all your heart, soul and mind because this is what He loves. Spending time with Jesus daily and loving Him is truly the best way to love and take care of yourself and is a surefire way of protecting you from winter sadness, loneliness, anxiety, and depression!
“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And He said to him, “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ Matthew 22:36-37
So take great care for yourselves that you love the Lord your God. Joshua 23:11
Five For Fifteen
- Be intentional. Devote at least the first 15 minutes of every day to Him.
- Pray. Talk to Him as you would a friend.
- Read the Word of God aloud to increase your faith.
- Be still and listen.
- Rest and repeat daily or as often as you need or like.
2. Daily sun exposure. With your soul covered in the grace of Jesus you can step into the light of day and enjoy the energizing and rejuvenating benefits of the natural sunlight. In as few as fifteen minutes, you can reap the benefits of the sun’s natural healing rays. The warmest time of day during the winter months is between 3-5pm so bundle up and take that walk or rest quietly on a sunny bench!
Natural sunlight helps boost serotonin.
Serotonin is a key chemical messenger that impacts many areas of your brain. Increased levels of serotonin can help stabilize and balance mood, digestion and sleep as well as improve focus and alertness! Skip afternoon coffee and go outside instead!
Natural sunlight helps increase melatonin.
Melatonin is a key hormone that helps regulate your sleep-wake cycles. Exposure to natural sunlight during waking hours helps increase melatonin production at night that will help you sleep. On the flip side, being exposed to light at night can block melatonin production keeping you awake so turn off your electronics and Hallmark Christmas movies and let your body do what it’s designed to do. Getting adequate sleep at night will improve your mood and overall health in the day to follow! Don’t skip your Z’s!
3. Daily exercise. Regular exercise is linked to fewer symptoms of anxiety and depression, better quality of life, better sleep, improved cognition as well as less weight gain, lowered risk of chronic disabling diseases, cancers and complications of pregnancy. The American Heart Association recommends for adults 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise with at least two days of muscle strengthening. If you are a regular exerciser, keep it up and if you are not, start! Any activity will be better for you than none at all! Walking outside counts as exercise and time in the sun! Whoop whoop!
4. Eat good food. Food is medicine! What you eat matters and can positively or negatively impact your health. This winter, focus on feeding your body good food. Plan your meals in advance and shop wisely. Increase lean proteins, fruits and vegetables in your diet and reduce or avoid high calorie fatty fast foods, caffeine and sugar. Pack snacks if you plan to be away from your home for several hours to avoid drive throughs and impulse snacking. Being busy is not a good excuse for poor eating!
5. Drink water. Your body needs water to function properly. Drinking adequate amounts of water can prevent many health problems as well as reduce fatigue and help with weight loss. Drinking water is essential to overall good health so drink up buttercup!
So there you are, five simple tried and true habits to keep you happy and well this winter! And if you do it consistently and persist, these habits will not only help you through the winter season but in all seasons of life! You will never regret making time for Jesus or taking good care of yourself and your family!
Stay well friends and happy holidays!