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Grief

Resources to Help You Cope with Holiday Blues

 
Hi, friends!
 
I haven’t written for several months, and I’ve missed you, but family members have been going through unexpected health issues since this summer. Although we’re still dealing with these things, we hope for a better tomorrow, trusting God knows all and takes care of us all–even when we can’t see Him.
 
 
resourceschopeholidaysrevisedSo… as you know from some of my previous holiday-related posts, I have a hard time during this otherwise joyous season. But I’m not the only one. Thousands–actually, millions–of people are depressed and hurting during the holidays for a number of reasons.
 
 
This year, I’ve compiled some of my favorite posts and resources from around the Internet about how to deal with anxiety, depression, seasonal affective disorder, difficult memories, or other mental and emotional concerns during the holidays. You’ll want to bookmark this page for future reference. 🙂
 
 

  • The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has an entire section devoted to the holiday blues, as well as a video and fact sheet on the “Holiday Blues,” including a section on children and holiday anxiety.
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  • The Huffington Post has two great articles (Part 1) and (Part 2) on how art therapy can help people de-stress during the holidays. I’m definitely trying some of these!
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  • On LinkedIn, one of my connections posted an article about how Jesus dealt with depression. It’s brief, but he makes great points.
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  • PsychCentral gives some suggestions for how to help those who are struggling during the holidays, as well as the impact of not getting enough sunlight during this stressful time.
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  • My friend and fellow author Rachel Wojnarowski wrote this ebook, 12 Days of Christmas for the Hurting. It’s available on Amazon.
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  • Also, Dr. Wayne Dyer writes about how to recapture the spirit of the holidays, particularly Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Year’s in his book, No More Holiday Blues. It’s an older book (2010), but the information still applies. Dr. Dyer’s book is available on Amazon.
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  • Finally, The Skit Guys have a humorous take on all the busy-ness during the holidays, which can lead to increased anxiety from Thanksgiving through Christmas.

 
 
I know there are more resources out there. Do you have any you would like to add to this list? Share them with us in the box below where it says, “Leave a Reply.” Also, if you know someone who struggles with depression during the holidays, please share this post with them.
 
 
I hope you remember during this season–and always–that Jesus is close to you when you’re brokenhearted, depressed, and feel like giving up.
 
 

 
If your heart is broken, you’ll find God right there. (Psalm 34:18)
 

 
 
 
 


Related Products

 
 
Groove: Stories to Refresh the Way We Think and Feel About Our Mental Illnesses
 

Dec 2014

Dec 2014


 

(click on book cover to find out more about Groove.)

 
 
 
 

Book Review: Still Looking by Vicki Huffman

Still_Looking_Book_Review_img

Click to Purchase on Amazon. (Note: This is an affiliate link.)

 
When I first submitted my family’s unemployment story to Vicki Huffman, I offered to write a review of her book once it was completed. Only God knew the reason and the season in which I would need to read the inspirational words in Still Looking: Finding the Peace of God in Job Loss.
 
 
When I received Vicki’s book to review several months later, my husband had been once again laid off for no fault of his own. Already, four weeks had passed since the day he showed up for work at his industrial construction job on a Monday morning and everyone had been let go. We were just starting to go through the familiar emotional, practical, and even spiritual fallouts of losing a job when I received the book. As I read through her family’s struggles with job loss—eight in all, I kept tapping the pages of my electronic book reader, saying:
 

“Yes! That’s exactly how I feel. That’s exactly how my husband is responding.”


 
 
Vicki was able to tap into those feelings not only from her own family’s experiences but also by citing renowned psychologists, experts, and everyday people who had the dubious honor of being unemployed at one time or another. She compared unemployment and job loss to the stages of grief and how those who are unemployed—for whatever reason—face similar feelings as those who have experienced loss of any kind—health death, divorce, to name a few. Vicki walks readers through the stages of grief, helping them to see the connections with job loss and how they eventually can move forward with the help of God.
 
 
As I read Still Looking, I began to see stages of grief in my own life—but for different reasons. Last year, I resigned from my corporate job at a Fortune 500 company to become a stay-at-home mom of our three children whom we adopted. Although a joyous occasion for my husband and me—and for our children, I felt the loss of fellowship with coworkers, usefulness and productivity that come from completing projects, and the accolades that accompany great work. I was able to see and work through these issues by reading Vicki’s book. She also helped me to understand the pros and cons of women working outside or inside the home, depending on their circumstances.
 
 

In addition to the emotional issues accompanying unemployment, Vicki offered practical and spiritual insight for times of job loss. She gave tips on how spouses can help and affirm each other during unemployment. As I re-read our own stories that we submitted to Vicki, it reminded me of the many ways my husband and I have supported each other during these times and how we can continue to do so.
 
 
Still Looking is filled with practical and spiritual insight on how to spend time during job loss, as well as other considerations that accompany unemployment, such as the possibilities of relocating and self-employment. Vicki also offers a unique perspective for those who are older and find themselves unemployed.
 
 
I especially liked the “P.S.—Post Job Script” sections that summarized each chapter and provided practical tips on how to move forward in recovery from unemployment. The “Peace to You” sections encouraged me with biblical passages and reminders of the peace of God when money is tight.
 
 
Oftentimes, books on difficult subjects tend to provide trite answers. Not so with Still Looking. It is fresh and original; Vicki Huffman has been there and she gets it.
 
 
From beginning to end, Vicki shows the joys of growing closer to God during times of financial strain. She is a great example of finding true peace during unemployment.
 
 
If I had one critique, it would be this: I would have liked for the book to include a set of study questions, whether at the end of each chapter or at the end of the book. That way, readers could work through the issues in each chapter more readily.
 
 
Regardless, I highly recommend Vicki Huffman’s Still Looking: Finding the Peace of God in Job Loss. It is a great tool to help readers through the valleys of unemployment—not once, but as in our case, several times. Still Looking is ideal for anyone who has a job and feels like it may be time to move on to another job or season in life, or they sense that unemployment might be imminent. It is a great resource for Bible study groups; readers can use it by themselves, with a mentor or counselor, or in a small group format. People in recovery groups also could benefit from it. The book also would be a great gift for someone working through issues of financial struggle.
 
 
Still Looking: Finding the Peace of God in Job Loss is available on Amazon (affiliate link).
 
 
Be blessed!
 
 
Come alongside… Have you experienced job loss? How have you dealt with it? Share in the comments below.
 
 

I am like Whitney

I didn’t believe it when I first heard the news early this week, but alas, it was true: Whitney Houston was dead. I tried to keep it together, but I admit: I cried–a lot. She was my favorite singer growing up. I wanted to be–and sing–like Whitney. What girl in the ’80s and ’90s didn’t?

 

I’m not sure how or why her life ended so soon. But as I thought about her life, I was saddened. What made it worse were comments from people who were quick to judge her and her actions.

 

Dear friend, please hear my heart…

 

  • We all have issues.
  • We all sin.
  • Whitney was no exception.
  • Neither am I.
  • Neither are you.

 

God has used my life experiences–good and bad–to show me one life-changing Truth.

 

  • Any person can make unhealthy choices.
  • Any person can make a mistake.
  • Any person can fall.
  • I can be that person.

 

What separates my life from Whitney’s?

 

  • The cameras.
  • The tabloids.
  • The news.

 

Her private mistakes were made public. Her unhealthy choices were publicized for the world to see. Her addictions were on the little screen and on the front pages of newspapers and magazines.

 

What about me? My mistakes? My unhealthy choices? My addictions? They remain mine and mine alone–hidden from view of the world, my workplace, my church, my friends, and even my family. I am no better, no worse than Whitney. It just so happens that my issues are not on display for the world to see. Nor would I want them to be.

 

Dear one, I don’t want to judge others. I don’t want to pick on them, jump on their failures, or criticize their faults (Matthew 7:1-6). Instead, I pray for God to have mercy on me, for I–like Whitney–am a sinner (Luke 18:9-14). I–like Whitney–need Jesus to remove the deep stain of all my sins–public and private. I need to be as clean as freshly-fallen snow (Isaiah 1:18).

 

We are all like Whitney. But this I know… Jesus loves Whitneys.

 

 

 

Come alongside… Have you been judged? Have you judged others? How do you feel when you hear that we all have issues and are all sinners? What sins do you need to confess today? Can you accept that Jesus loves you? He does, you know…

 

Playing Tug-of-War with Angels

“Right now, we’re just playing tug-of-war with angels.”

 

The doctor’s voice ushered in reality for us. Our NeeNee–the matriarch in the family–was dying. Doctors resuscitated her numerous times that morning–the day before  Thanksgiving.

 

It was now our decision: To sign or not to sign the DNR form.

 

My husband, his step-mom Tracy, and I. No one else in the family had made it to the hospital yet.

 

The three of us looked at each other, tears streaming down our faces.

 

“We hate to do this to you,” said the doctor, “but we need to know now.”

 

We knew NeeNee wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. She was ready to go home.

 

“Do not resuscitate.”

 

I walked behind the doctor to the room where NeeNee lay, Tracy beside me. My husband left to pick up family  members.

 

Our NeeNee lay motionless in the bed. I held her left hand while Tracy held her right hand. We cried alongside her, prayed over her, but most of all, we loved on her. She was non-responsive, even before the doctors disconnected the machinery. But we knew she could hear us.

 

Periodically, we watched her vitals, slowing with each passing moment.

 

Still, she held on.

 

A chaplain came and prayed with us.

 

We waited for the others to arrive. Minutes seemed like hours, but Tracy and I treasured every moment with our NeeNee. She took deep breaths every once in awhile, as we reassured her, “It’s okay. Go on home.”

 

I caressed her hair and rubbed my index finger on her cheek. Every once in awhile, I leaned in to kiss her and tell her I loved her. Her vitals would spike and then slowly decline again.

 

“It’s okay, NeeNee. Go on home.”

 

I held her hand and remembered the day I met her–a beautiful smile that welcomed me into her family. She knew no strangers and loved all who came around her. She was the family historian–a storyteller who could take a 5-minute tale and turn it into a 30-minute epic. She remembered everyone’s birthday and anniversary and freely gave out of the little she herself possessed. Her heart was toward her family.

 

Now her heart was failing her. She was tired and ready–ready to leave this world of physical pain and enter into paradise with her Savior. Her sister, mother, and father would be waiting for her there too.

 

And yet, the angels tugged at her. We tugged as well.

 

Pulse.

15-0.

15-0.

15-0.

 

Outside the room, I heard a noise. Turned around to see some of our family members. “They’re here,” I said.

 

15.

0.

0.

0.

0.

 

I bowed my head and cried. She waited. They arrived. She let go of the rope. Quietly, peacefully, she entered eternity. No more pain, no more exhaustion. God, in His mercy, extended her the ultimate gift–not only the freedom from pain and exhaustion, but also the gift of Himself.

 

But why grant me such a gift? Why would God grant me the gift of ushering a beautiful soul into His presence? To witness the passing of a Godly woman–a daughter, a sister, a wife, an aunt and friend to many? Why would He have me share this life-changing occasion with Tracy? Why?

 

Love.

 

The love that took NeeNee home is the same love that shone down on me that day. It’s the same generous love God shines down on me every moment, every day (Psalm 84:11). God’s perfect love transcends suffering and pain–NeeNee’s and mine.

 

In death and in life, we play tug-of-war with angels. In death and in life, I want to let go of the rope.

 

We love you, NeeNee, and we’ll see you soon.

 

NeeNee

 

Come alongside… In what ways are you playing tug-of-war with God? How can you let go of the rope?

 

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Daphne Tarango is a participant in affiliate programs with Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, DaySpring, Church Source, Hazelden, BloomThat, Christian Strong (via Conversant and ShareASale). These advertising services are designed to provide a means for sites like DaphneWrites.com to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to said merchants. Some images and articles may contain links to products on merchant sites. Should you choose to make purchases through those links, please understand that I will receive a small commission. Please do not feel like you need to use these links to make any purchases. The links are only for your convenience. Thank you.

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