As part of the latest Mental Health Community gathering at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California, Kay Warren, wife of Pastor Rick Warren, shared how those struggling with mental illness can increase their resilience over the holiday season.
For many, the holiday season can be “incredibly complicated” because with it comes additional stress, expectations, increased contact with family members and other pressures, Warren said. In such times, it’s important to remember that options are available — and certain aspects of the season are within an individual’s control.
“The main reason, besides the spiritual reason, you can have hope this Christmas season … is that if you can begin to grasp the idea that you can control the controllables in your life and leave the uncontrollables to God, that will immediately put you in a place and framework of more peace in your mind and in your heart,” she explained. “Control the controllbles, and leave the uncontrollables to God. You have options.”
“The reality is, there is so much about your life in general, about the holidays specifically, that you and I cannot control,” Warren continued. “But the good news is, there is so much that is within our control. There are things that you and I can think through, can meditate on, can be deliberate about, and make some choices for yourself, that will make the holidays much less stressful.”
One way to create resiliency this holiday season is to come up with a “holiday plan,” the Saddleback Church co-founder said. The first step in creating such a plan is to identify the people, places or circumstances that add stress to your life and how to respond to such stressors in a healthy way.
“What are some boundaries that you can put in place around yourself, around your finances?” Warren asked. “It takes tremendous courage to set boundaries, but to get through in a healthier way, you may need to set boundaries.”
The next step is to ask yourself, “Who are the safe people in my life who will listen to what I have to say, who guard my feelings, who guard my heart, and who honor my story and won’t trample on it?”
“When we’re feeling down and discouraged or anxious, we isolate,” Warren pointed out. “It’s just what we do. Most of us isolate, we pull within ourselves. A choice you can make there is to actually push past the isolation and reach out to some of those safe people who have historically been there for you.”
Warren also encouraged going to church every weekend as a “safe place.”
“Church is, in general, a safe place,” she said. “Going to church on a weekend during the holidays can actually bolster your sagging emotions … reach out to safe people rather than isolating in the loneliness and sadness you feel during the holidays.”
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Leah MarieAnn Klett