Do you struggle with Anxiety? Most of my life has been overshadowed by this unwanted disorder. If I am very specific the diagnosis is Generalized Anxiety Disorder and PTSD. Most of the year I can cope, but at Christmas Time, with the added stress and business of “The Most Wonderful Season” of the year, I nearly break. How can we Keep Joy at Christmas Time when we suffer from Anxiety or PTSD?
You will be excited to know there are serval simple ways to keep Joy in any Season – Even Christmas!
If you have been with HopeJoyInChrits for a while you know that Joy is the Word God has pressed into my life all year. As we enter this Christmas Season He is not relenting. As much as I want to run away (or sleep away) from all the stress and chaos of the season He is impressing on my heart the need to keep Joy even facing Anxiety and in the thick of a relapse battle with PTSD.
5 Simple Ways How to Keep Joy at Christmas Time with Anxiety & Ptsd
1. Set Firm boundaries around your life to Keep Joy with Anxiety & PTSD.
Here’s the thing. Mental Illness is not like Cancer or even a broken leg. Other people cant see the hurt. They don’t know how to help us and often they deny it is real. So you have to take care of yourself!
I tend to avoid all the talk about self-care and self-love that circulates so often. Mostly because I think we can head the wrong way with it and become too self-focused. I always want to love selflessly and give freely of my life to bless others. But it would be selfish of me to give away so much that I have nothing left to care for myself.
So I will say – emphatically – Know and accept your limitations. Then Place firm Boundaries around them and take care of yourself.
When Anxiety is a part of your life there are limitations. When you suffer from PTSD those limitations insert themselves without notice and affect those we live with.
Is it Biblical to Set Boundaries? There is much debate about this, but I see it demonstrated best by Jesus.
In Luke 4:42-44 we see Jesus healing and preaching. He often needs to get away by Himself to recharge with God. But in this passage, we see Jesus set a clear Boundary. He knows He could spend His entire life healing – which would be wonderful – but He actually has a Calling to pursue.
When day came, Jesus left and went to a secluded place; and the crowds were searching for Him, and came to Him and tried to keep Him from going away from them. But He said to them, “I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, for I was sent for this purpose.” So He kept on preaching in the synagogues of Judea.
Jesus clearly saw the value in setting boundaries and doing what He knew was best.
What boundaries could help us Keep Joy at Christmas Time with Anxiety & PTSD?
Boundaries in our life include:
- Not overscheduling our month.
- Schedule Family Time each week without any activities out.
- Saying No to events that are usually filled with drama.
- Keeping to a normal sleep routine.
- Shopping All year so we don’t have to be out in all the chaos.
These are just some of our boundaries. They keep me calm, help avoid the triggers of my PTSD and let us still enjoy all the fun!
2. Don’t be alone at Christmas Time
One of my boundaries is to avoid events where there are people who Regularly bring Drama. That means we don’t go to some of the family Christmas parties. It Does Not Mean we avoid all people.
Joy comes when we are refreshed with love from others- Philemon 1:7
Proverbs 18:1 He who separates himself seeks his own desire, He quarrels against all sound wisdom.
As tempting as it may be to just hide until January and avoid people… it will steal your joy. Find a friend and do lunch. Invite a family you enjoy over for a dinner and game night. Go caroling with a group (Whether you sing well or not)!
Don’t be alone.
3. Fix your eyes on the Lord to Keep Joy with Anxiety & PTSD
The Anxiety intensifies when I focus on all the chaos. If I take the time to look to God. Pray it out. Find a verse to calm down, the anxiety will calm.
Isaiah 26:3 “The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, Because he trusts in You.
Even if it doesn’t go away, I can still keep Joy… Yes even in the midst of Anxiety Attacks and outbursts of PTSD that just won’t relent.
Anxiety can be a controlling force in life. You are not alone in this struggle.
I put together a 40 day Reading & Journaling plan with many of the verses I Go To when Anxiety overwhelms me.
Check out this series to see how I have battled this and how you can find Hope and Joy through your struggle with Anxiety.
4. To Keep Joy with Anxiety & PTSD Trust The Lord
More than just keeping my eyes fixed upon God, I need to trust Him. My prayer – over and over again – is that God will take the Anxiety away and heal me of the PTSD. He hasn’t. But I still trust Him. When I surrender and trust Him over and over again He fills me with Joy!
Psalm 28:7 The Lord is my strength and shield.
I trust him with all my heart.
He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy.
I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.
One way I keep my trust in the Lord is through meditating on His Word. Reading it daily and journaling through it! I created a Kit to Help you get started with that. Check it out below!
What’s included in the Kit?
- A 30 Day Reading plan
- Journaling prompts
- 3 Pages of Doodling templates
- 1 sheet of margin strips
- 1 sheet of Bible Verse Cards
- Detailed Instructions about how to Get started Bible Journaling
5. Sing to Keep Joy with Anxiety & PTSD
Okay Okay, I know everyone is not a lover of music. But Y’all, God loves music. I will battle that out with anyone. He made all of His creation to sing and worship Him.
He repeatedly tells us to Sing praise to Him, Make a Joyful Noise to Him.
I believe He loves it when we sing – even if it sounds awful!
Song- An Expression of Worship – pleases God according to Psalm 47:1. It is just one form of worship, but it has a way of pulling us out of our mental state and helping us take a step forward.
I’d love to know your favorite worship song right now. Of course, we are in the midst of Christmas Music. You can check out my Christmas Worship Playlist on YouTube here.
What’s your Favorite Christmas Song?