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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.

  • 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!

  • On LinkedIn, one of my connections posted an article about how Jesus dealt with depression. It’s brief, but he makes great points.

  • 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.

  • My friend and fellow author Rachel Wojnarowski wrote this ebook, 12 Days of Christmas for the Hurting. It’s available on Amazon.

  • 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.

  • 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)


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

Dec 2014

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


No. Final answer.

Hi, friends!
I tend to overextend myself–do more than what I should do or have time to do. (Haven’t we talked about this before?) 😉
This week, I’m reminding myself–and you–that God has specific plans for each of us. Let’s remember to focus on what God has given each of us to do. Let’s remember to set boundaries–to say “No.” Let’s remember Jesus.

On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.” “Dear woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My time has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” (John 2:1-5)

Jesus said no to his mother?!?! 😮 He sure did.
Others might try to pressure us to do what they want us to do. Or to get involved in things God doesn’t want us to do at that time. Jesus knew his purpose. He stayed true to God’s plan for Him. He didn’t rush God’s timing, and He didn’t let others sway Him from it.
Jesus had the authority to say, “No.” He was, after all, God in the flesh. We too have the authority to say, “No.” Here are some tips:

Start small.

It’s easier to say no to a glass of water than to say no to yet another request to volunteer at your child’s soccer games. So practice with the little things first. It might seem quirky, but it will get you practicing. And it will help you see that “no” isn’t such a bad word.

Don’t ramble.

Sometimes I feel I have to explain my “No.” I think I have to tell the other person why I don’t have time to participate in another project, work on weekends, or even join the choir. (Yes, I’m a people-pleaser.) Remember: No is a complete sentence. You don’t have to explain your choice to anyone else. If you know your boundaries, then your “No” should be enough for you–and for anyone else. 🙂

Remember your purpose.

What has God called you to do? Are you doing it? If you’re not, then “No” might not be the best response–especially to Him. But if you are walking in your purpose, doing what He has called you to do, then don’t let other things–or people–distract you. There are plenty of good activities out there to participate in, but you don’t have to take part in all of them. Who are you? Be you!

Let go of the guilt.

This goes along with knowing your boundaries and your purpose. You know how much you can–or can’t–add to your plate. If you are being honest with yourself and God, then guilt has no place or power over you. If you do feel guilt, it is false guilt–from others, the enemy, or even your critical self. (That’s the person inside you that keeps telling you, “You should be doing…”) If you feel like someone is beating you up over your decision, that’s not God. Remember: When God convicts you–or places a weight on your chest to let you know you’ve done something wrong, that’s when you should reconsider your decision.

Be nice.

Sometimes, “No” brings up images of conflict and aggression. Change that image in your mind by changing your approach. You might be nervous or even upset the person is trying to monopolize your time, money, or attention. Being kind shows you’re comfortable with who you are, where you want to focus your attention, and that you care about the other person and his/her feelings. Again, practice is key. Start small. 🙂

Rock on.

When you say “No” to one thing, you say “Yes” to something else. That something else can be your purpose, the things you know you’re called to do, the people you’re called to invest in, the passion you’re meant to pursue. Isn’t that freeing? To know you get to take part in the things that God designed specifically for you? It is to me! That is reason enough to rock on!
These are just a few tips to get you started on the path to slowing down and focusing on the things God has for you. I pray you have the freedom to say “No” and to live your life to the fullest. Blessings to you today as you walk within the boundaries God has set for you.
Big hugs,
Come alongside… Do you have any other tips to saying, “No?” How has saying “No” helped you? Are you still struggling to say, “No?” What can you do to start setting those boundaries? Please comment in the box below. Remember, you can post anonymously.

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Guest Blogger: How to Avoid Over-Commitment by Dr. Melanie Wilson

I am so honored to have Dr. Melanie Wilson as my guest blogger this month.  She is a Christian psychologist turned homeschooling mom of six. She is the author of So You’re Not Wonder Woman, the story of psychology’s failure to change her life and how she discovered the Super Power for being fit, organized, and joyful. Melanie also authors the blogs, Not Wonder Woman and Motivated Homeschooler, where she offers tips, how to’s, and inspiration for Wonder Woman wannabes.


How to Avoid Over-Commitment

by Dr. Melanie Wilson


If you agree that there’s a high cost to over-commitment, you should be motivated to avoid it if at all possible. Before I share what I think are good methods for preventing the madness, let’s discuss why we over-commit in the first place.

Why Do We Over-commit?

 If over-commitment is so bad for us (and believe me, it is!), why do we do it? I’ve been asking myself that question. For as long as I can remember, people have told me that I need to learn to say “no.” I honestly don’t struggle with saying no to others as much as saying no to me.

  • I think I over-commit because I like being busy more than being bored.
  • I do it because I get an adrenaline rush from doing a lot of fun things (yes, some of my commitments were very fun!).
  • I worry that I won’t have another chance at some of the opportunities.


I could dig deeper in psychoanalytic fashion, but honestly, I think there’s a simple error at work when I agree to do too much: I focus on what I can do rather than on what I should do. When I get the email asking if I can speak for a women’s event, I look at the calendar and think, “Hey, that night’s open. I’ll do it.” That kind of time management is a little like asking how many people you can possibly stuff into your car clown-style. Even though it might be record-breaking, it’s crazy. If I took what I was considering to the Lord, I know He would veto it, so sadly I often don’t.


How Can We Avoid Over-commitment?


Really pray first.

By “really pray” I don’t mean to prayerfully think, “Should I do this? Ok! It’s a go!” Instead, refuse to agree to a major time commitment before you’ve been quiet before the Lord and waited to hear from Him. If I had taken my long potential list to God, I’m pretty sure I would have heard a holy ha ha ha.

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is —his good, pleasing and perfect will. 


Seek loving counsel.

My husband is very protective of my time. He knows from experience what his life, our marriage, and our children’s lives will be like when I’m in over my head. If I had asked him whether to take on all of these opportunities, he would have been very clear about it. That’s why I didn’t ask him. But I will next time.


Recognize that life isn’t musical chairs.

God has a chair set aside for me and you and no one else can sit in it—even if we say no to something great for now. We don’t have to rush to accomplish His purpose for us. Jesus was never in a hurry and neither was the Apostle Paul. I don’t think I’m more important than they were.


Look at your calendar using a worst-case scenario.

I always think that I’m going to have things done ahead of schedule and invariably, I’m running around frantically at the last minute. Instead of assuming that you’ll be all ready for Event A so Event B will fit on the calendar, estimate how much time it will take if you leave everything to the last minute. If you can’t prepare adequately for both events at the last minute without staying up all night, pass on one of them. I can’t tell you how much I wish I had taken this advice.


Why do you over-commit? Do you have any other ideas for avoiding it?


Guest Blogger: The High Cost of Over-Commitment by Dr. Melanie Wilson

I am so honored to have Dr. Melanie Wilson as my guest blogger this month.  She is a Christian psychologist turned homeschooling mom of six. She is the author of So You’re Not Wonder Woman, the story of psychology’s failure to change her life and how she discovered the Super Power for being fit, organized, and joyful. Melanie also authors the blogs, Not Wonder Woman and Motivated Homeschooler, where she offers tips, how to’s, and inspiration for Wonder Woman wannabes.



The High Cost of Over-Commitment

by Dr. Melanie Wilson


When Daphne asked me to write a guest post on over-commitment, I had to laugh. I was in the midst of one of the most busy, stressful months of my life. When I tried to explain to family and friends just what was keeping me so preoccupied, I was at a loss for words. “Just trust me,” I said, “it’s been crazy.”


This particular period of craziness has helped me admit that over-commitment is no laughing matter. Some of the serious side effects of too many time demands include:

Less time with the Lord.

I list this consequence first because it can have the biggest negative impact. Giving up time in prayer means you go longer between times of confession. It means you try to succeed in your own strength. During one of the particularly stressful events I was involved in this month, a godly man reassured me that God was going to make everything go smoothly because he had been praying about it for months. Unlike this man, I was spending less time in prayer and was anxious as a result. Giving up time in God’s Word means potentially forgetting the big picture. It means you start to think of yourself as being more important than you really are. I saw this error in myself as I tried to relate what a “big deal” my time demands were to others.

 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. (Romans 12: 3)


Less time with family.

The more important outside demands on your time become, the less important your family members are to you. We may try to excuse our absence and inattentiveness with the temporary nature of our schedules, but when over-commitment becomes a habit, relationships suffer. Now that my busy time is over, my son keeps asking me, “Where ya goin’, Mom?” even though I’m staying home. While I’m not the most important person in the world, I’m very important to my family. When I’m not there, physically or emotionally, there’s a difference. One key negative change has been more bickering amongst the kids.



When we have no time to relax, we can often be short with the people we love most. We can be rude to people we don’t even know. We’re bad witnesses and worst of all, we feel justified in being cranky. I have to admit that because I had so much to do this past month, I expected people to be especially nice to me. Being crabby and expecting people to be sweet in return is foolish, especially when we’ve contributed to our circumstances.


Break in routines.

Regular times with God and family aren’t the only habits we tend to throw out during our busy times. Exercise, sleep, eating, and work schedules may all be changed drastically as we try to get it all done. The consequence is often getting sick and getting even less done than normal.



Whether it’s forgetting something or just performing poorly, the consequence of trying to keep too many plates spinning is that something’s going to crash. When we depart from Kentucky Fried Chicken’s motto and try to do more than one thing really well, we’re likely to be disappointed. Even though I didn’t feel that I failed this last month, I’m not happy with my performance. I know I could have done better if I had been doing less.



Just because you manage to do it all without many disasters, it doesn’t mean you’re safe at home. The stress you’ve endured can lead to days of fatigue that can lead to illness and malaise. Although my commitments are over, I would still like to lie in bed undisturbed for a week. That leads me to a final side effect of over-commitment.


A long re-entry period.

The consequences of doing too much aren’t limited to your busy time. While you’ve been going, going, going, your regular responsibilities have been piling up. You’ll have to expend even more energy getting back on track at a time when that’s the last thing you feel like doing. More than one woman has found a period of over-commitment to be her downfall in maintaining a healthy eating plan, exercise schedule, or other positive routine. Right now I’m feeling the full effects of over-commitment hangover and I do NOT want to feel this way again.


I hope you agree with me that over-commitment just isn’t worth the cost and you’d like to do something about it. In my next post, we’ll look at why we tend to over-commit and how we can avoid it.


Have you had the same experience with over-commitment that I have? What has it cost you?


Affiliate Disclosure

Daphne Tarango is a participant in affiliate programs with Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, DaySpring, Church Source, Hazelden, Christian Strong (via Conversant and ShareASale). These advertising services are designed to provide a means for sites like 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.