Thanks for joining me for the third post in this winter blues series. We have covered light therapy and eating right, and today we’ll talk about three key areas of self care for battling seasonal affective disorder.
Even though I’ve struggled with winter blues for decades, I’ve only recently discovered the importance of three different areas for helping me beat these winter blues. The blues have really descended upon me this year, and I’m fighting back hard (and seeing good results) with these three methods.
The Value of Christian Meditation
This summer I was hired to write material for a Christian meditation app. The hours of research taught me the calming and healing principles of meditation. I’ve been practicing it ever since by choosing a verse from my One Year Bible reading every day, and it’s helped me handle my winter blues better than before. I’m incorporating principles of Christian meditation in the book I’m currently writing…stay tuned for details in coming weeks!
Here are several benefits that Christian meditation provides:
Spending regular time meditating on God’s Word will help you feel closer to God, which is especially important when you’re fighting the winter blues. As you develop a habit of meditation, you will learn to recognize the voice of the Holy Spirit not just in your meditation times, but in the rest of your day too. Your faith will grow as you see God leading you along a healthier life path, out of the darkness and into the light.
You, Lord, are my lamp;
the Lord turns my darkness into light.
2 Samuel 22:29 NIV
Meditation improves both your ability to concentrate and store memories. As you reflect upon scripture and repeat key phrases, God’s Word is stored deeper in your mental recesses. You will be able to bring it up from your internal storehouse with ease, once you deeply process the meaning of the scriptures.
Another benefit is an increased knowledge of God’s Word. Knowing the hope, joy, and peace that God promises can sustain you when you feel the winter blues creeping on. You can instantly bring up a treasured verse from your mental storehouse for a happy reminder on a difficult day.
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Studies show that regular meditation has powerful physical benefits. Meditation can lower your blood pressure to the degree that you may no longer need medication to control blood pressure. It reduces your stress levels, because it gives you a strategy for handling problems. For example, if you meditate on verses regarding anxiety, you will be able to apply God’s Word in anxious situations and not feel as anxious as before. When your body is not under stress, your immune system can function more efficiently. Seasonal affective disorder can affect your anxiety level and take a toll on your immune system. You can fight back with Christian meditation.
Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.
2 Corinthians 7:1 NIVHow Christian meditation helps you fight off winter blues. #selfcare Click To Tweet
When you dwell on verses that speak about God’s love and kindness toward you, you may see yourself in a new, positive light. The winter blues can take a toll on your self-esteem, as depression hangs over you like a cloud and the accuser has a field day with your spirit. Choose meditation verses that focus on your worth in God, and experience positive self-worth in your Christian identity.
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!
1 John 3:1 NIV
Do you struggle to be a loving person when you have the winter blues? Meditate on verses about showing love, kindness, and forgiveness to others, and your heart will be transformed. God’s Word has the power to transform you into a self-controlled person, even when you are struggling with seasonal depression. Once you hide God’s Word in your heart through meditation, your relationships will improve and the Holy Spirit will empower you!
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.
Acts 1:8 NIV
Are you ready to try Christian meditation? Here’s a quick and easy way to get started:
- Select one of the verses above and have it ready on a card or paper (or in your Bible).
- Find a quiet place.
- Begin with prayer. Ask God to help you focus and enlighten your mind with his truth.
- Say the verse several times, aloud or in your mind. Focus on the individual word meanings. Try emphasizing different words to absorb the meaning.
- Ask yourself, “What does God want me to learn from this verse? How can I apply it to my current situation?”
- Repeat the verse in full before ending your meditation time.
- End with a prayer of thanksgiving and praise.
The Benefits of Exercise
I have a confession to make: Exercise has not been a best friend of mine. I was good at everything else in school except for P.E., and the other kids let me know it. They ALWAYS picked me last for kickball at recess, and I was regularly laughed at when I did jumping jacks in gym class. The mean sneers still echo through my head from the times when I had to lead the laps around the gym…“Can’t you run any faster?” Exercise has long been a source of shame that I’ve hid from the world’s eyes.
That’s why I found comfort in Holley Gerth’s recent post. She said she still runs, even though she’s not a graceful runner. I like the cheeky bumper stickers that say 0.0, as in, I’ve run 0.0 miles of a 5K or 10K. That will always be me, but I’m learning to make peace with exercise anyway.How exercise helps you fight off winter blues. #selfcare Click To Tweet
When I exercise during the winter (indoors on my treadmill), I truly feel better. The endorphins start flowing, and they wash away my blue feelings. Research is showing that exercise boosts brain activity, which is important for people suffering from seasonal affective disorder.
I like to use the Kindle app on my mini IPad so I can read while I’m on the treadmill, because then I don’t feel like I’m exercising. This Christmas I got a Fitbit Alta, which reminds me to get up and move every hour. I jog around the hallways in my home and do one plank, which adds up over time and gives me boosts of energy throughout the day. Even though I’m not a natural athlete, a little concentrated movement helps me chase away those winter blues like nothing else can.
The Preciousness of Good Sleep
When I get the winter blues, I often struggle with either sleeping too much or insomnia. These are common problems for people with depression. I’m taking measures to improve my nighttime sleep to feel more relaxed, focused, and rested during the day.
Here are my tips for better sleep:
- Use meditation to improve sleep. I try to meditate on Bible verses or Bible stories when I’m falling asleep, and if I happen to wake up in the night, it’s the perfect time for Christian meditation. Focusing on God’s Word helps me get to sleep faster, and I sleep more peacefully too.
- Essential oils can work wonders. I have a local friend who makes high quality, pure soy candles with lavender oil that she harvests from lavender grown on her farm. Every night, I take the lid off the candle that sits right beside my head on my nightstand. I literally sleep better when Pam’s candle is right beside me because I’m breathing in that peaceful scent all night. Sometimes I also sleep with a mask on, and I put a drop or two of lavender oil on the mask. It whisks me away to Super Sleep Land, and I’m so grateful for this healthy and effective solution. You can also try eucalyptus oil if you prefer a different calming scent.
- Count this instead of sheep. Hop over to this post to discover what I count instead of sheep…and it works Every. Single. Time.
My blogging friend Melanie Redd has an excellent series on health right now, and I encourage you to check it out!
Friend, if you’re struggling with the winter blues, I hope this post has boosted your mood. I’d love to hear from you in the comment section below. Join me next Thursday for the final post in the series for more ways to fight off winter blues. Here’s a prayer to encourage you today:
Lord in Heaven, I need you to help me care for myself when I’m feeling the winter blues. I am tempted to slow down, bundle in, and shut out what’s good for me. Lead me to the verses you want me to focus for encouragement and growth. Help me get moving so I can boost my body’s healing rhythms. Give me peaceful rest so I can face the day with renewed strength. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Questions for you:
Which one of these self-care methods appeals the most to you?
What new thing did you learn about Christian meditation in this post?
What can you do for better sleep tonight?
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