Today’s Word from Deacon Amy…

This time of year, when daylight hours are short and darkness creeps in early, can feel depressing and gloomy. Many people struggle with the holidays, deeply feeling the loss of loved ones. Our ongoing pandemic quarantine has only added to this common feeling of despair and loneliness.

Unfortunately, we’re hearing way too many stories of loved ones who are experiencing depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts. This has been a very, very difficult time for so many of us.

So, what can we do to help ourselves to feel better, and combat the pandemic blues?

First, if you are having thoughts of suicide, I strongly urge you to reach out for help – The Suicide Prevention Lifeline number is 1-800-273-TALK (8255) – or call a trusted friend or family member. Pastor Jim and I are always available too!

If you’re feeling down, here are a few things you can do to alleviate the depression:
Call a friend. A phone call or video chat with a good friend can do a great deal to lift your spirits! We’re all missing social gatherings right now. Reach out to someone that you haven’t talked to in a while – chances are, you’ll improve their mood too!
Get moving. Exercise can have a tremendous impact on your mood. Do a few stretches at home, take a walk around the block, or go for a stroll on the beach. Get your body moving, and your mind will start feeling better, too.
Soak in the sunshine. One of the hardest things about this time of year is the lack of sunlight. When the sun is shining, be sure to get outside and enjoy it! There are even some “light therapy” lamps on the market that can be helpful if you’re especially sensitive to the limited daylight hours.
Choose healthy foods. While it can be tempting to overindulge in holiday goodies, too many high-carb or sweet treats actually add to feelings of depression. Try to limit your intake of sweets and focus on fresh, healthy foods. Omega-3 fatty acids have actually been shown to help alleviate symptoms of depression.
Focus on healthy sleep habits. A lack of sleep, or irregular sleeping habits, can disrupt your body’s natural cycles. Establishing regular bedtime routines and striving for eight hours of sleep will help you to feel more rested and awake.
Turn off the news. Limit your daily exposure to the negative news cycle. Tune in for just a few minutes to stay up to date, and then switch the station to something more uplifting.
Laughter is great medicine! When you’re feeling down, indulge in a favorite funny movie, read the comics, or listen to a comedic podcast or satellite station. A good belly laugh will have you feeling better!

I miss our holiday traditions. Planning an online Christmas Eve service is heartbreaking. I can’t believe I’m not going to see my parents at Christmastime. This is hard. But, we know that it will get better – after all, we are one day closer. I can only imagine how wonderful it will be when we get to celebrate together next year!

Much love,
Deacon Amy