Chaplain’s thoughts …

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Caution: Post-holiday blues ahead

For many, the grind of going back to work and life after the holiday season can be hard! I know for me, it sometimes feels like a kick in the … face.

Experts tell us around one in four people will struggle with post-holiday blues, which can include feelings of sadness, frustration, disappointment and depression.  Transitioning from the emotionally charged season of the holidays – which lasts for a little while and then disappears quickly –  can be challenging for many of us.  After the excitement of December, January can feel … well, boring!

These blues can be caused by many things: putting on extra weight, not exercising regularly, stress of family, friends and added shopping expenses – credit cards coming due – just to name a few.  Many of us look forward to the holidays, only to have them go by too quickly – leaving us feeling let down and disappointed.

So how do we prepare ourselves for when the blues hit?  First, expect to be “let down.” It’s only natural to be saddened when transitioning from a time of joy and excitement, to a time of ho-hum every day routine. Just expect yourself to be a little sad after the cheer and delight of the season, and give yourself permission to take time to feel that way for a while until your normal routine returns. It’s often only by going through the valleys of life, that we can appreciate mountain tops all the more. 

Next, pause to find meaning and purpose in life. Smart, educated people tell us happiness, particularly lasting happiness, is directly connected to being part of something greater than yourself. For you it may be faith, prayer, church, community service, helping others, or something else you feel resonates within your soul. Pause for a moment to discover, or rediscover an activity that gives your life purpose and meaning. Being proactive in this will help you move forward in a positive direction when you feel the blues. 

Then, go outside and get active. Physical activity, particularly outdoors connecting with nature, is one of the greatest antidepressants and mood uplifting strategies anyone can do themselves. We’re blessed to live in a beautiful climate during the winter months. Go on a hike, take a walk, go for a run, or just enjoy a stunning Arizona sunrise or sunset. Better yet, get together with another person and go do it together. Humans are made to be in community with each other, so put down the smartphone or controller, and get some fresh air. 

Finally, don’t just ignore your sad feelings and bottle them up.  Every single one of us has felt blue at some point; you’re not alone. There’s no reason to try and “toughen up” – there can only be one Chuck Norris in this world … and it ain’t you.

So if you’re feeling down, talk with someone about it. We’re blessed with so many resources as military members: supervisors, first sergeants, mental health counselors, military and family life consultants, Military OneSource, chaplains and religious affairs Airmen.  We’re all here to support you, as you honorably wear our nation’s cloth, doing what our country has asked you to do and accomplishing the mission you swore to protect and defend.  Many are counting on you!

For more information about Luke AFB Chaplain Corps programs and events, like us on Facebook @ Luke AFB Chapel. Feeling like you need to talk? Give us a call at 623-856-6211.