That holiday you’ve been pouring yourself into for months is gone. The Christmas party that you planned for your leadership is over. The children’s Nativity Play where Mary and the Angel fought over holding Baby Jesus and the shepherds ran amuck onstage is now a hauntingly funny memory. The dinner that took hours to cook was devoured in 20 minutes, as are those gifts that you so painstakingly chose and wrapped.
If you’re like a lot of people (me included), once the excitement of the holidays is gone, the wintertime blues are lurking in the shadows ready to pounce. Don’t let this happen to you. I speak from experience. It ain’t pretty.
Instead of just lingering in the gray of winter, choose to bask in this time gifted to you to slow down. Sometimes that means taking care of yourself and sometimes it means helping others survive the same thing you’re experiencing. Let me share some ideas with you that might help you personally, as well as in your ministry.
- Eat chocolate!!! Dark is healthiest. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean brownies and cookies—it means small pieces. Oh well. It’s still good.
- Plan VBS. Doesn’t that just warm you up all over? Think about the summer and all it brings. And the vacation you can take afterward!
- Clean your office (or home). I do love down time when I can take care of things like decluttering my office or home. Listen to music or watch a movie while you work. You’ll feel better accomplishing something rather just staring at the mess around you and feeling guilty. (Remember—speaking from experience here. No judgment.)
- Read a book. You can choose something on leadership skills, personal growth, or just enjoy one for fun!
- Exercise. You know I had to include this. This is what everyone says we should do. I’ll let you know when I’ve tried it!
In addition to focusing on you, look around and see how you can help families in your church survive the winter. Here are a few ideas to get the wheels rolling.
- Board game night. Include child-friendly games as well as games for teens and adults. Invite your guests to bring their favorites as well as snacks to share.
- Movie Night. Show a movie on the gym wall if you can. Be sure to get a site license to show your movie to a large group. Provide popcorn and soft drinks. Encourage guests to bring blankets or sports chairs to sit on. Invite the kids to wear their pajamas.
- Summer Day Fun. Open the gym or another large room at your church. Include games and activities that would be enjoyed during the summer. Think fun and messy! You might consider providing this one for kids only to give the parents a break!
- Open Gym Night. Sometimes kids just need to run off excess energy. Supply toys and equipment for everyone to enjoy. Depending on what you provide, you may need to separate your gym into areas for different ages or for different activities.
- Leadership night. Have a night just for your kids ministry leadership. Hold a scavenger hunt in your classrooms with a list that will help clean up! Include things like: Find 25 dried-up markers; Find the most outdated curriculum; Find the biggest stack of construction paper in your cabinet; Find the most dried-up glue sticks … you get the picture. Set a time limit and have everyone gather to show their treasures. Give prizes! And then, of course, eat.
Because I do get the blues each and every year, I’ve been doing some research. There are tons of blog posts and articles written about this. Sometimes it can go beyond just feeling blue. Please let me encourage you that if you feel as though you’ve gone past the point you can handle it on your own, talk with someone. Don’t suffer in silence. It’s not a sign of weakness or lack of faith. Often it’s a chemical imbalance—even from just not having enough sunlight! Be sure to take care of you. Otherwise, you can’t take care of anyone else.
Catch you on the bright side! Blessings, my friends!
Klista Storts serves as a Content Editor for Lifeway Kids. Before coming to Lifeway, she served as the Weekday and Preschool Specialist at the Tennessee Baptist Convention and as Director of Preschool Ministries at churches in Oklahoma and Tennessee. Klista has a passion for equipping leaders to share the love of Christ and lay foundations for conversion in the lives of kids.