The lack of sunshine and cold temperatures outside can affect our mental health. It’s called SAD or seasonal affective disorder or the winter blues. If you are carrying around false guilt over trauma done to you or you did to someone else, SAD can be an extra burden on your mental health. Here are 7 suggestions to help relieve your sadness.
- Consider the truth that there is a God who created you and desires to help you cope with your problems. Mark McNear says, “You are who God says you are. Who you are is not based on how you feel, what happened in your past, or the object of your trauma. You are created in His image. You are valued by the Lord. And yes, you are His masterpiece.”
- With this truth firmly in your mind, speak out loud whatever negative thought you have about yourself and say, “I won’t believe it.” Repeat this often until the thought loses power.
- Be kind to yourself. Back off some of your busyness and give yourself time to rest, emotionally and physically. Ask a friend to watch your kids for an hour. Ask your family to avoid asking you for special projects for a week. Give yourself permission to not clean that messy closet one more time. Just make some time to rest more.
- Move your body, indoors or outdoors. Do something to raise the serotonin in your brain and give yourself some neurotransmitter food to deal with life. Taking a vitamin D supplement is known to raise mood and immunity similar to what sunshine does. If your SAD condition is serious, you would benefit from using a sun light or lamp box to imitate sunlight indoors.
- Stop comparing yourself to others on social media. Stop listening to podcasts about political or societal problems for a week. It is good to be informed. Unfortunately, there is little you can do to change the downward spiral of our world. Keep yourself as healthy as possible so you can encourage others to trust God with the trouble. Man is plotting but God will win.
- Help someone else. Find a person or cause in which you can invest some time and emotion. This will take your mind off your problems and consider those of others. And don’t believe the lie that your past disqualifies you from helping others. You have much to offer.
- Get professional help. Talk counseling, neurofeedback therapy, support group. Stop carrying your negative mindset. Make changes and move forward in freedom.
I believe the best wisdom and guidance for good mental health is found in the Bible, God’s teaching to us. Here is a list of verses taken from The Living Bible Translation to support the suggestions above. Adding daily Bible reading will go a long way to fill your mind with positive, uplifting thoughts. Start with the first four books in the New Testament and read in the Psalms in the Old Testament. Watch for the emotional problems that appear in the lives of people just like you and me, albeit 2,000 years ago.
- Isaiah 43:1 But now the Lord who created you, O Israel, says: Don’t be afraid, for I have ransomed you; I have called you by name; you are mine.
- 1 Peter 5:8 Be careful—watch out for attacks from Satan, your great enemy. He prowls around like a hungry, roaring lion, looking for some victim to tear apart.
- Matthew 11:28 Come to me and I will give you rest—all of you who work so hard beneath a heavy yoke. Wear my yoke—for it fits perfectly—and let me teach you; for I am gentle and humble, and you shall find rest for your souls; for I give you only light burdens.
- Philippians 4:13 for I can do everything God asks me to with the help of Christ who gives me the strength and power.
- Philippians 4:8 …Fix your thoughts on what is true and good and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely, and dwell on the fine, good things in others. Think about all you can praise God for and be glad about.
- Ephesians 2:10 It is God himself who has made us what we are and given us new lives from Christ Jesus; and long ages ago he planned that we should spend these lives in helping others.
- Proverbs 24:6 Don’t go to war without wise guidance; there is safety in many counselors.