Unfortunately, Christians are among the suicide statistics. I recently heard about a friend who took his life just after Christmas. It didn’t make sense, but he must have been hurting desperately and wanting to escape the feeling of helplessness.
Caring for our mind, body and soul as Christians is a serious responsibility that God gives because we are the temple of the Holy Spirit.
Mental Health Foundation reports that 54% of UK adults are worried about their mental health or someone they know this Christmas.
As we approach Christmas, significant numbers of people are expressing their concern for the mental health of relatives (38%), friends (31%), partners/spouses (27%) and children (28%).
Psychological Health Care, based in Australia, reports that A third of Australians report that their relationships are negatively affected by Christmas due to work-life balance issues and financial concerns.
According to a new Pew Research Center survey, only 46% of Americans celebrate Christmas as primarily a religious rather than a cultural holiday.
Christmas is often thought to be a season of peace and good cheer; however, the opposite is true for many.
I live in the United Kingdom, where the suicide rate, domestic abuse, family estrangement and job losses peak during Christmas and New Year.
So instead of celebrating the birth of the saviour Jesus Christ (Christ- Christ-mas celebration) with joy, thousands are facing an uncertain future.
The expectations of celebrating Christmas, whether one wants to or not, can be enormous. As a result, researchers point out that the role of Christianity in Christmas is at an all-time low.
The ME Culture
Most have taken the ‘Christ out of Christmas and celebrate it as a regular holiday. When we are devoid of the original value of a long-held tradition of being Jesus Christ’s Birthday, we go down the rabbit hole of secularism that widely holds to the ‘me’ culture. If we are honest, we have fallen into that hole at times!
The ‘me’ ideal promotes one’s desires above all others. At the same time, the Christian ideal is to put others above oneself.
I include believing Christians in this following statement- have we lost the practical teachings of Christ to conform to the status quo? We have no wonder that even believers end their own lives, abuse or divorce those they promised to love and protect.
However, if you celebrate the Christmas season or don’t, you must care for yourself and those you love.
So, here are a few tips for your consideration.
Have Realistic Expectations
Christmas can become highly stressful when your grand plans float adrift. When things don’t go as you intended, tension between people can ensue. Instead of promising that this year will be the biggest, brightest, and best Christmas ever, permit yourself to have a less-than-perfect Christmas. Accept that you live in the real world where things go wrong- and this is normal!
Have a Back-Up Plan
Because things may not go as planned, having a plan B in your back pocket is wise. For example- have a pre-cooked meat joint or vegetarian option in the freezer that you can quickly defrost if needed. The same goes for desserts or other foods.
some people hold to the that Christmas Eve is their primary celebratory day. It has been my family tradition that the primary day is Christmas day. These days, I visit my family for Christmas; however, when they visit me, I cook as much food as I can the day before. I would arrange the house to accommodate extra people and set the table a day or two before. Pre- preparation allowed me to be more restful on Christmas day and enjoy friends and family company.
Avoid Debt or Overspending.
Pray before you buy. It is wise to Set a Budget and Stick to it! My family and I agreed that we would not spend a certain amount of money on each other. We also exchange our wish lists 4 – 6 weeks before Christmas day, which is helpful because it allows us to stay within our budget.
Also, the wish list helps because we buy gifts that are actually needed or wanted. Nothing is more disappointing for many people than giving a gift that will be returned or re-gifted.
Remember Christmas is about the Giver of life- Jesus Christ- which is the greatest gift anyone can possess.
Take Some Time Out
Ensure you take time for yourself daily to get away from your busyness. For example, getting yourself outside for a walk in the fresh air, and exercising, no matter how light, is a great way to boost your hormones, such as serotonin, which positively affects your mood. Equally, spending some quiet time in prayer elevates your mind from the pressures of constantly engaging with people.
What strategies do you employ to cope with the Christmas season? Let me know- and if this article was helpful to you, please let me know. I would love to hear from you.
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Remember to live life on purpose, in Hope. Faith and Love
Paula Rose Parish💕
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