Living Well at Advent
December is a tricky time for finding and keeping balance in our lives. The month is full of special parties, concerts, lists of items to buy, decisions on donating to good causes, extra “to-do” items such as holiday decorating and baking, preparing for traveling or hosting...the list goes on. It is easy to see how people become overwhelmed or simply cut back on self-care. It is just as important as always to keep your immune system strong and your spirit centered on the Lord.
Here are some practical ways to keep living well during this time:
Set an alarm. Put that smartphone to good use! Set your alarm to go off at various times during the day. When it does, let that be your reminder to pause and ask for the Lord’s guidance on whatever you are doing, or to meditate on a Scripture passage for a few moments. This can do wonders for rearranging any misplaced priorities. One good passage is Psalm 139:23-24.
Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
Make associations. Things that you see often during this season can be turned into visual cues to re-center your thinking on the Lord. This can bring you peace and perspective. Perhaps every time you see Christmas lights, you can let them remind you of the Holy Spirit, your ever-present help and source of wisdom. Or when you see a red bow, think of the redeeming blood of Christ and thank Him for coming to bring Life. Perhaps there is a particular virtue you want to practice often this month? Associate it with a common Christmas symbol and you will be reminded regularly.
Choose your sugar. If you are allowing sugar in your diet, it can be hard to find moderation, with cookies and candy canes around every corner! Too much sugar can suppress your immune system, but denying yourself constantly can be depressing. Try this tip: think now about what your one or two favorite holiday treats are, and plan to say yes to those. Meanwhile, try to say no to all the others. If something other than your favorite treat is passed under your nose, remind yourself that you are looking forward to the satisfaction of that one thing. Don’t worry; it’s sure to come into your life sometime this month! (If no one sends any your way for the entire month, you can simply make it or buy it yourself--and share it with someone else!)
Don’t forget to stretch, and breathe, and drink water! Maybe while you are meditating on that Bible verse, do some of your favorite stretches from your Living Well sessions. Keep a pitcher of water on your counter, and pour a fresh drink every time you walk by. Make sure you have your water bottle (and a healthy snack, just in case) every time you hop in the car for an errand.
Advent is the season where we celebrate the fact that God took on flesh and dwelt among us. We also anticipate the promised return of the Lord, His second Advent. May this hope fill our hearts, and may we stay centered on Him despite the “noise” of our busy lives.