Winter Blues: 3 Steps You Can Take for a More Peaceful Season

Amber Ginter

iBelieve Contributing Writer
Updated Nov 20, 2023
Winter Blues: 3 Steps You Can Take for a More Peaceful Season

The beauty of abiding with Christ is that it doesn’t ask you to “try harder,” “act like you’ve got it all together,” or “do more this holiday season.”

It was cold outside. Ice crystals clung to the shutters like tears descending from high places, and slippery patches appeared on every street. Ohio’s seasons had finally aligned; winter was here. The animals outside my window didn’t seem to mind. Squirrels hurried here and there collecting nuts for hibernation, while the birds migrated south to escape the soon-brutal winds and tumultuous negative temperatures. Nature didn’t appear worried. Why was I?

Inside my home, all appeared well. Dishes were organized and put away. Stockings were hung from the chimney with care. The tree sparkled in the dimly lighted reflection of windows. Pristine decorations hung from every corner. Yet something within me felt off. This was my first Christmas as a married woman. “I should feel ecstatic,” I thought. But inner peace eluded my grasp. I couldn’t shake the overwhelming expectations, anticipations, and anxieties plaguing my soul. I struggled to find a place to rest. To hide. I didn’t know how to process all the emotions I was feeling. After the holiday, winter blues would be upon me. 

On the outside, I was thriving. Shining. Succeeding. Insanely productive. A success. But within me, I was crumbling. Desperately reaching for hope amid the busyness around me, without a clue how to reach that destination. Many around me face these challenges, especially during the holiday season. In a world that praises rushing from one season to the next, overworking ourselves to death, presenting five-course feasts, and buying the best gifts, we lose sight of what matters. 

As days grow shorter and nights grow longer, battling winter blues can be difficult. I believe Christ wants us to cultivate peace by abiding, prioritizing the present, and creating boundaries. 

Abiding: What It Means to Rest in Christ

Amid busy seasons and busier minds and hearts, slowing down often doesn’t appear as a feasible option. With to-do lists growing, and the number of holiday events requesting our attention increasing, rest is probably the last thing we try to make room for. 

In Matthew 24:13, the HCSB notes: “But the one who endures to the end will be delivered.” The Greek word for endure here means to remain, abide, not recede or flee. I know this might sound strange, but despite all the holiday shenanigans, perhaps Jesus is asking you to approach the season differently by learning to rest in Christ. Remaining steadfast in His Spirit, abiding wholly in His presence. What does that practically look like or mean? 

The beauty of abiding with Christ is that it doesn’t ask you to “try harder,” “act like you’ve got it all together,” or “do more this holiday season.” It isn’t telling you to have the perfect house, gingerbread cookies, or pristinely decorated Christmas tree. God’s Word simply asks you to remain or stay. Acknowledging and knowing that despite all the tasks, He’s with you in them. And maybe you don’t need to do as many things as you feel are necessary. Maybe most of them are optional and external pressures of this life we’ve placed on ourselves.

The ESV of John 15:4 writes it this way: “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me.” Friends, stress during the holidays often reaches an all-time high, but we don’t have to allow it to. Remember that our strength is useless without Christ. In His power and presence, however, we can do all things. Not because He asks us to do more but because with Him, all things are possible. What truly matters comes to the surface. Little stressors subside. We’re able to focus on Christ in this season, not temporary things fighting for our attention.

One way to help combat stress this season is abiding in Christ through prayer walks. Despite the chilly temperatures, getting fresh air, exercise, and solitude prayer time with Jesus are win-win situations. Even if it’s 5-10 minutes for a brisk jog through your neighborhood. 

What is a prayer walk? A prayer walk is a dedicated time you set aside daily, weekly, or monthly to connect with the Lord. Though it doesn’t have to be inside, and could certainly work on a treadmill, getting beyond the four walls of your home sets your eyes on nature and helps you focus on something beyond yourself. 

If you’re anything like me, addicted to over-productivity, multi-tasking, and doing all the things, prayer walks are super helpful. I can block certain apps and notifications on my phone (if I even choose to take it with me for safety reasons), play Christian or instrumental music to help me focus, and intentionally walk for a set amount of time. But a word of caution here from my counselor: This should be a leisurely and peaceful walk. There’s no way to make 10 minutes pass faster, so pushing yourself to your limit during this activity isn’t the way to go. Instead, use this time to breathe deeply, talk to God, and pray for those in need. 

For me, my most successful prayer times have been when I’ve set aside dedicated time, used instrumental music, and gotten outside. I focus on God’s beautiful creation, keep my phone in my coat pocket, and have people in mind that I want to pray for before beginning my session. I also permit myself to be vulnerable with the Lord, no matter what’s on my mind. Sometimes that means I talk a lot. Other times it means I listen. Both are crucial aspects of our quiet time with the Lord. 

The final tip I have for abiding in Christ is remembering that God is God and we’re not. It might sound simplistic, but I have to remind myself daily that abiding in Christ reorients who’s in charge in this life. And it isn’t me! 

Prioritizing the Present

As seasons grow busier, one thing I've specifically struggled with since getting married is prioritizing the present. When it seems as if the task list will never end, Christ reminds me of this: focus on what matters today. 

In Ecclesiastes 8, the author notes that productivity is written into society. But as much as we ceaselessly strive and do good, we will never know or accomplish everything. Our to-do list will always exist on this side of heaven. Instead, let us leave it to the Lord while we enjoy this very moment. "So I recommend having fun because there is nothing better for people in this world than to eat, drink, and enjoy life. That way they will experience some happiness along with all the hard work God gives them under the sun. In my search for wisdom and in my observation of people’s burdens here on earth, I discovered that there is ceaseless activity, day and night. I realized that no one can discover everything God is doing under the sun. Not even the wisest people discover everything, no matter what they claim" (v. 15-17 NIV). 

Psychologists call this principle of being in the present moment mindfulness. In a sense, it's taking note of your surroundings while focusing on the here and now. Christian mindfulness, specifically, silences the noise of the world while focusing on the heart and thankfulness of Christ. Focus on the Family notes: "Mindfulness (some use the word grounding) is characterized by meditation and relaxation techniques. The idea is to become more self-aware. You pay attention to thoughts, feelings, and sensations in that moment — without purposefully deciding whether they’re good or bad, and without becoming overwhelmed or overly reactive. In short, you tune in to what’s real right now. Like anything, mindfulness can be misused. However, it doesn’t automatically contradict the Christian faith. We just need to make sure we approach it in a wise, biblical way" (2023). 

One question my husband has often encouraged me to ask when I'm struggling to sit in the moment is if it will matter in five minutes, five hours, five days, or five years. As humans, we must learn to prioritize what truly matters. Spending time with loved ones, or being addicted to work 24/7, 365 days a year. The choice is up to us. I believe Christ wants us to choose carefully. Presently. Focusing on the moments He's given us now. Not that we don't care for the future, but that we focus on the blessing of now while trusting Him with the unknown and uncertainty of what's before us. 

Creating Boundaries

In a world that praises connection at your fingertips, news on demand, and simultaneous phone calls, it can be hard to imagine proper boundaries. Just imagine a world where people go to the bathroom without their phones, and you can have a conversation with one person who engages in eye contact with you. Crazy, right? This shouldn't be so. In a world that's plugged in, individuals are lonelier and overstimulated more than ever. Our solution is what I believe Jesus called proper boundaries. 


There's nothing healthy or holy about being addicted to your phone or social media. That's called idolatry, and in the Old Testament, this is why Jesus was needed to come into the New. If we're honest, it's something we all struggle with balancing. To have a peaceful and less stressful holiday season, reducing our overall use of technology is a must. One easy way to combat this addiction is using time limits on your phone, having friends and family keep you accountable, and making a rule to not be on your phone when engaging in conversations with others. This is a really hard task, but it's something I promise will be well worth the investment. 


The second way we need to create boundaries extends for any time of the year. From comparison to being pulled in a trillion different directions, creating healthy time and space with those we love are equally important matters. Especially if you're someone who struggles to say "no," prioritizing how much time and how you spend that time is essential. One tip my counselor gave me was to schedule rest and time for myself. It sounds crazy, but it helps a lot. There are some people in your life who you'll need to limit interactions with for your sanity. Learning to set these limits can help protect your mental health and reduce burnout during an already overextended season. 

Overextending Ourselves

The final way creating boundaries protects us and reduces burnout blues is by remembering to not overextend ourselves. I don't know who needs to hear this (besides myself), but you are not God, and your time, energy, and resources are limited. As much as you might push, pull, and try, there are 24 hours in a day, 7 days in a week, and 365 days in a year. None of us are given more time. Most are given less. Before you over-dedicate yourself to every possible outing, perhaps limit yourself to those you deem most important. It's better to be involved in a few important things than giving 1/4th of yourself to 12 tasks. 

Which tips do you plan to implement this year? No matter the season, holiday, or people, remember to abide, be present, and create boundaries. They aren't foolproof tips but ways to increase your joy while reducing unnecessary stress.

Agape, Amber

Photo Credit: ©Unsplash/Noah Benjamin

amber ginter headshotAmber Ginter is a teacher-turned-author who loves Jesus, her husband Ben, and granola. Growing up Amber looked for faith and mental health resources and found none. Today, she offers hope for young Christians struggling with mental illness that goes beyond simply reading your Bible and praying more. Because you can love Jesus and still suffer from anxiety. You can download her top faith and mental health resources for free to help navigate books, podcasts, videos, and influencers from a faith lens perspective. Visit her website at