Spiritual wellness during the holiday season

  • Published
  • By by Ch (Lt. Col.) Cassandra Thomas
  • 5th Bomb Wing chaplain
"Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens;
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens;
Brown paper packages tied up with strings;
These are a few of my favorite things."

Oscar Hammerstein II and Richard Rodgers wrote the beautiful lyrics and music to the song "My Favorite Things" from the musical "The Sound of Music," a holiday special for the young and old for it's a story of family, love and hope in the midst of fearful times.

During the holidays, while many will be filled with anticipation of going home for or taking a vacation or spending some down time with friends, there will be others who are stressed, anxious or depressed because of financial burdens, relationship crises and loneliness. Some of the depression and anxiety may be because of the winter blues; some may be because of isolation and internal negative thoughts.

From a spiritual view, here are several ways to work through and overcome the potential for "holiday blues":

"When the dog bites,
When the bee stings,
When I'm feeling sad,
I simply remember my favorite things,
And then I don't feel so bad."

1. Think of your favorite things ... count your blessings. Often when you focus on what's wrong or what you don't have, you lose sight of the many blessings and successes you do have. Meditate on the good, the true, the virtuous and the positive things in your life.

2. Think of doing something for someone who has less than you. By helping others not as fortunate, you reap a bigger blessing than you sow in your charity- giving. Instead of hanging out in your dorm room or at home, sign up to serve at a soup kitchen. Serving others blesses us and makes us feel good.

3. Join a spiritual community of your choice. This is the season where many faith religions celebrate their holy days. Be renewed and energized by a community of faith opening its arms in welcome to you. Extend an invitation to others to be "in community" this holiday season.

4. Don't let pride keep you from seeking a compassionate, nonjudgmental ear. The base chaplains are available 24/7 year-round but especially during the holidays to listen and offer a caring heart and a helping hand - especially if you are bottling up frustration and/or hopelessness.

What are your favorite things? Count your blessings to overcome the holiday blues.