Tips for Dealing with the Winter Blues

By Kathy Pollard

Some people really struggle with feeling blah when darkness descends so much earlier. Here it’s getting dark around 4:30 p.m. so by the time it’s 8:30, it feels much later. It takes some getting used to! If the shorter days are getting you down, try a few of these simple tips and see if they help:

  • Eat some citrus as it starts to get dark. The smell of citrus is a natural mood lifter. Grab a couple of cuties and enjoy the taste of sunshine.
  • Take Vitamin D.
  • Drink more water. You may not feel like drinking cold water when all you want is a hot cup of coffee, but your body really needs it. The last thing you need is to fuddle your brain with dehydration. Plus, your skin will thank you.
  • Get outside for a bit everyday, no matter the weather.
  • Keep moving! You may feel like hunkering down under a blanket but surprise your body by going for a walk or going up and down the stairs a few times. It will warm your muscles, wake up your mind, and is perhaps one of the best things for mental health.
  • Try yoga. Find an instructor on YouTube that you like and just spend 15 minutes stretching your body. You will feel good all over.
  • Cook with lemon and lime. Lots of wholesome foods (like chicken, fish, whole grains, beans, and all kinds of greens) taste wonderful topped with a drizzle of olive oil and freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice.
  • Cook with green herbs and warming spices. Not only will they awaken your taste buds but they’re good for you, too.
  • BRIGHTEN someone else’s day. A fun winter challenge could be to lift at least one person each day. Send a thoughtful text or card. Offer sincere compliments to the people you run across. Express appreciation. Do a small act of service. Surprise your spouse in a sweet way. It’s amazing how doing for others is a double blessing. It encourages them and ends up making you feel so good, too.
  • Saturate your soul with SONshine. There are many Bible verses that will cheer you from the inside out. A quick Google search is a great starting point. You can search “Scriptures about light” or “Scriptures about shining.” For example, “The people who were sitting in darkness saw a great light, and those who were sitting in the land and shadow of death, upon them a light dawned” (Matt. 4:16). You could start your own “SONlight” journal by jotting down a verse each day.
  • Pray. God knows, cares, and always listens.
  • Smile! Besides, everyone looks better when they’re smiling. ūüôā
  • Sing. Especially hymns. They’re not just for church and will lift your heart.

For those struggling with clinical depression or anxiety, these tips aren’t meant to take the place of professional care and counseling. But I think they can serve as a little extra TLC to help you get through the challenging winter months.


Managing Stress And Anxiety

By Kathy Pollard

I wish I could title this post, “Getting Rid of Stress And Anxiety,” but I don’t think that’s very realistic.¬† With the exception of perhaps childhood, each new phase in life presents its own unique set of challenges. ¬†Maybe you find yourself in one of the following situations:

  • New marriage, new baby, new home, new work.¬† While these are exciting and wonderful, they also call for stamina and courage and wisdom.
  • Long-term care of an aging parent.¬† In addition to the physical exhaustion is the emotional turmoil of seeing your loved one suffer.
  • School/ work load.¬† I know some students right now who are being stretched in more ways than they ever expected.¬† Perhaps you’re in the midst of a project or job requirement that’s been going on for so long you can’t remember your last decent night of sleep.
  • Poor health.¬† After months or years of battling whatever is attacking your body, you wonder if you’ll ever simply feel good.
  • Financial worries.¬† Finding a job, paying your bills, wondering about retirement, health care…whether you’ve accumulated a mound of debt or you just long for financial security, money can be a very real and daily stressor.
  • Rocky relationships.¬† Perhaps your marriage is just barely hanging on.¬† Or you’re worried about your grown-up children or a spiritually wayward relative. ¬†The people we love most can be a source of great anxiety.

Sometimes stress is temporary and we know it.¬† We can see the light at the end of the tunnel and we’re just trying to get through it.¬† Sometimes stress is ever-present and overwhelming, and we find ourselves trying to survive one day at a time.¬† Whichever we find ourselves facing, there are a few simple, proactive ways to manage stress and anxiety.

1.  PRAY

Prayer is probably the first reaction when something causes stress, and I don’t think God resents that.¬† We find many passages reminding us to turn to God in our distress.¬† We’re told to cast ALL of our cares on Him (1 Pet. 5:7).¬† Prayer brings peace in the midst of anxiety (Phil. 4:6,7).¬† When stress is long-term, our prayers can fade or turn sporadic.¬† A renewed desire for God’s listening ear can go far in calming anxieties.


I’m not encouraging “getting your Zen on, man,” but rather committing to quality time in Bible study.¬† I like the quote I ran across the other day– “Meditation is not an emptying of one’s mind, like some religions teach, but a filling of our minds with the truths of God’s Word” (Jen Thorn).¬† The Scriptures are powerful (Heb. 4:12) and strength-giving (Eph. 6:10-17).¬† Neglecting this crucial practice only exacerbates stress and anxiety.


It’s common knowledge that long-term stress takes a toll on our health.¬† Is there an area of your physical well-being that’s taking a harder hit?¬† See if you could make some small changes for overall well-being:

  • Exercise.¬† It strengthens the heart, clears mind clutter, and boosts stamina and self-esteem.¬† Take a walk in the morning and try yoga at night.¬† No one ever regrets making time to get the blood flowing.
  • Water.¬† The benefits are endless.¬† How easy it is to replace empty calorie drinks with water.¬† Add lemon for even more vibrancy.
  • Sleep.¬† Who hasn’t been robbed of some zzz’s?¬† Sleep is essential for mental clarity and emotional stability.¬† Young moms, get over your guilt and take a nap in the middle of the day when the opportunity presents itself.
  • Cleaner eating.¬† Bad food equals yucky mood.¬† Studies are now linking a healthy gut to an overall sense of well-being.¬† The last thing we need when anxiety is churning in our gut is to add processed foods or sugar to the mix.¬† Seriously, while it may not be fun to talk about, better eating choices are important when it comes to dealing with stress and anxiety.


We are attached to our devices, aren’t we?¬† They’re everywhere and in every room.¬† Unplugging for a while each day will allow us to focus on those around us, re-appreciate moments of quietness, and even remove some additional anxiety (unpleasant posts on social media, disturbing news, etc.).¬† It’s good to give our eyes a break from any kind of screen.¬† Unplug and listen for natural sounds instead like the wind blowing, leaves rustling, birds chirping.


Speaking of devices…we can remove some from our sleeping space for a more peaceful and relaxing environment.¬† Clearing counter tops of paper stacks and junk also helps clear our minds.¬† Taking the time and trouble to make the bed and straighten up makes it easier to drift off to sleep later.¬† Messy rooms add to a feeling of anxiety.


Yes, we could probably use that half hour to cross an item off the to-do list, but sometimes the wiser choice would be to intentionally unwind.¬† Don’t think of a soak in the tub as a luxury but as a way of promoting peace and health.¬† Discover the calming benefits of chamomile tea.¬† You might have to develop a taste for it, but consider it an all-natural anti-anxiety medicine.¬† Light a candle, rub your feet with lotion, and take deep breaths.¬† Even a few minutes of slowing down makes a big difference in a trying day.


Laughing relieves stress, lifts the mood, and burns calories!  Have you laughed today?

8.  LOVE

Looking for tangible ways to show our love for others will ultimately lead to our own happiness.  Giving feels good.  It allows us to step outside of our cares and focus on bringing joy to others.  In the midst of your crazy schedule, do something even crazier like adding in a visit to a shut-in or making a homemade, unexpected surprise for someone.

Hopefully these ideas for managing stress haven’t added even more stress.¬† You might be thinking, Who has time for any of THAT?!¬† Some of the tips can be combined, like sipping tea while studying the Bible.¬† Or praying while going for a walk.¬† It’s probably unrealistic to try to hit all 8 tips every single day, but we can be more intentional in handling our anxieties.¬† It will be good for us and for those around us.¬† God has given us many ways to combat stress.¬† We could even add singing, looking for beauty, and counting our blessings.¬† What tips do you have?

“In the multitude of my anxieties within me, Your comforts delight my soul” (Psalm 94:19).


Revive Me #46–Live Victoriously

Revive Me, Week 46–A Year of Growing Stronger in the Lord

Live Victoriously

Have you picked up any anxious vibes lately? ¬†We went to lunch with some friends a couple of days ago and as soon as the waitress greeted us she launched into her fears about our nation. ¬†I’ve heard other conversations swirling around me involving words like¬†unsafe, need protection,¬†and¬†division. ¬†The fear is palpable.

Fear, doubt, insecurity, anxiety, mistrust, timidity, alarm, dread…surely these are the devil’s tools. ¬†How will we react to them? ¬†Will we freeze up or faith up? ¬†Will we cry out or carry on? ¬†Will we shudder or shoulder? ¬†God’s people are armed with His strength. ¬†That should make us view things differently:

  • “For whatever is¬†born of God¬†overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world‚ÄĒour faith” (1 John 5:4).
  • “In the world you have tribulation, but¬†take courage;¬†I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
  • “Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might” (Eph. 6:10).
  • “Salvation belongs to the Lord. ¬†Your blessing be upon Your people!” (Psa. 3:8).
  • “Stand firm in the Lord, my beloved” (Phil. 4:1).
  • “The¬†horse is prepared for the day of battle, but¬†victory belongs to the¬†Lord” (Prov. 21:31).
  • “But¬†thanks be to God, who gives us the¬†victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 15:57).

Courage!  Inspiration!  Power!  Victory!  These belong to us because we belong to God.  Oh, how the world needs to see that in us.  We are not of this world (Col. 3:1,2).  Our hope rests in Christ Jesus (1 Pet. 1:3).  Our peace cannot be taken away (John 14:27).  So let us smile more, teach more, love more, and shine more.  We can do it (Phil. 4:13)!

What then shall we say to these things?¬†If God¬†is¬†for us, who¬†is¬†against us?¬†He who¬†did not spare His own Son, but¬†delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?¬†Who will bring a charge against¬†God‚Äôs elect?¬†God is the one who justifies;¬†who is the one who¬†condemns? Christ Jesus is He who¬†died, yes, rather who was¬†raised, who is¬†at the right hand of God, who also¬†intercedes for us.¬†Who will separate us from¬†the love of¬†Christ? Will¬†tribulation, or distress, or¬†persecution, or¬†famine, or¬†nakedness, or¬†peril, or sword?¬†Just as it is written,‚ÄúFor Your sake we are being put to death all day long; ¬†We were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.‚Ä̬†But in all these things we overwhelmingly¬†conquer through¬†Him who loved us.For I am convinced that neither¬†death, nor life, nor¬†angels, nor principalities, nor¬†things present, nor things to come, nor powers,¬†nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from¬†the love of God, which is¬†in Christ Jesus our Lord.

(Rom. 8:31-39)

Suggestions for the Week:

  1.  Choose a verse about power or victory to memorize.
  2. ¬†Have a song in your heart (like “Victory in Jesus” or “Faith is the Victory”).
  3. ¬†Don’t be driven by fear. ¬†Pray for confidence in Christ to saturate your thinking. ¬†This should affect your choices, temptations, speech, demeanor, and relationships.

Read it.  Memorize it.  Live it.

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