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How To Feel Good When You’re Feeling Bad-by Heidi McLaughlin

Posted: December 9, 2018

We’re a generation that’s not good with feeling bad.  Yet there are those days or seasons where life just feels bad.  I’m not talking about a depression or severe anxiety that needs tender loving counselling or therapy; it’s the dailyness and sometimes ruggedness of a certain season. Like sadness or loss of something precious and valuable, or the month of December known as…Christmas.

Christmas is difficult for many people.  

Christmas is the season where you are supposed to feel good. We all want our life portrayed like the magical Holiday movies of people skating at Rockefeller Center, houses covered in lights and Christmas presents with huge, perfect bows. It’s the magic and pleasure we all hope to experience.  But sadness or grief confuses our expectations and priorities. On one hand we want all that goodness and fun, yet somehow it seems wrong and too much work.

Both my husbands and mother died through the Christmas season so I’ve had to navigate through the “feeling bad” to “feeling good.” Here are some things I’ve learned.  They are tried and true.

Separate the “Could” from the “Should”

There are many “shoulds” in the Christmas season. Should expresses one’s opinion, strong advice or an action to take. Most of these shoulds are self-imposed or Facebook and magazine driven. I should put up a Pinterest worthy tree, should entertain, buy presents for everyone in the family and all close friends, decorate the house with jaw-dropping décor and make it all look flawless and easy-peasy. To make yourself feel better exchange the word “should” to “could”. Yes you could do all of these lovely holiday activities and be the envy of the whole neighbour, but you chose to say no.  Because “could” expresses an idea or an option without imposing judgment of what is the right thing to do.  You can offer all of these ideas to yourself and say “no”…not this year. Don’t judge yourself.

“No…not this year.”

So that you can feel good, may I offer some lovely “coulds?” Say no to the gift giving and spending too much money and do something meaningful. Whatever that looks like for you. Put out one or two ornaments, just enough to make yourself feel better. Pour yourself a cup of tea, find some munchies and watch one of those predictable, yet lovable Christmas movies. Wander around the mall and watch everyone frantically shopping while you go into Bath and Body and smell all the candles. Go for lunch with someone who inspires you. Do a “walk and talk” with a friend and then stop for a cup of tea or coffee. Try not to spend too much time on Instagram, Facebook or Pinterest. Those are dangerous places for comparing and feeling bad.

This is your one and only life so be true to yourself, your family and Christ.  Oh that’s right, it’s the Christ part of Christmas we’re talking about.

I have nothing against Christmas; my favourite part is spending time with my family and friends. But after all my losses in life, I want to focus on things that are lasting and have value. Christ came to reconcile man to God, and man to man.  Peel away all the bows and stuff and we realize it’s all about relationships and love.

I get to be with family starting December 19th, and I’m counting the days. That’s where it will all be “good.”  Games, cooking, laughter, hugs and love.  And it’s all free.  I’m putting a big bow on that.

Do you struggle with all the expectations at Christmas? Can you share how you’ve learned to simplify the season so that we can all help each other to feel better about honouring the Christ in Christmas.




Posted in: adversity, alone, Beauty from the Inside Out, care, Christ, Christmas, could, death, decisions, Encouragement, Expectations, Faith, feeling bad, feeling good, Freedom from Busyness, gifts, God's love, grace, grief, happy, Hope, joy, Laughter, Overcoming Struggles, presents, shoud, should, trust

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