To be weary means to feel or show tiredness. The classic hymn O Holy Night speaks to both the heaviness in this world and the joy we have with our Savior’s birth with its lyric “The weary world rejoices”. The holiday season can easily turn into a prescribed hustle and bustle – family events, school events, church events, holiday parties or gatherings, shopping for gifts…and on it goes. It’s easy to feel a bit weary. Additionally, if you’re one of millions of Americans living with a chronic health condition or standing in the caregiver role for someone who is, weariness may feel amplified this time of year.

Chronic illness can impact energy, mood, sleep, abilities, and relationships of those with the health condition as well as caregivers. Chronic illness may be unseen, therefore its impacts unrecognized or minimized. How can we experience joy amidst any weariness this holiday season?


Managing expectations of self and others is important. Consider what you may need to do differently this year. Communicate your needs to those around you. Give yourself permission to make needed changes without adding burdensome negative thoughts or self-judgments. Set boundaries as needed. Consider the wisdom of saying no to something that will allow you to give a better yes to something else.

Budgeting energy

Consider budgeting your energy. This means prioritizing the most important or meaningful activities or experiences and giving them your best energy. Other tasks may need to be eliminated or delegated, which could require additional help from family, friends, or a private pay in-home care agency.


Holidays can stir up a range of emotions. Noticing the present is not like the past can bring a sense of nostalgic sadness or depression. Loss shows up in all sorts of ways… loss of past traditions or experiences, loss of abilities, or the loss of loved ones. Acknowledge and give space to the emotions felt with losses you have experienced.

Mindful moments

Our Savior entered the world quietly in the stillness of a stable. Intentionally be present, mentally and emotionally, in the variety of moments this season brings. They may be quiet, still, or mundane moments – or they may be moments flooded with people and festivities. Savor the small and big moments with your five senses. Bring your attention right to where you are in the here and now.

Back to the basics

The foundation of emotional and physical wellness is nutrition, sleep, and movement. Reflect on if you are getting enough of these three things as a starting point for your self-care this busy time of year. Perhaps you need to bring more of these into your day. Start with small goals and a simple routine. This may help you maintain a sense of normalcy and counteract the holiday/winter blues.

Seek support

Reach out to a trusted friend, family member, pastor, or church member to share about what you’re experiencing. Build on your faith, read Scripture, and focus time and attention on the meaning of the celebration. If you need additional support in navigating your wellness this holiday season, please contact Lutheran Family Service to connect with one of our clinicians.

The Weary World Rejoices at Jesus’ Coming

May we rejoice in the birth of the One who understands and provides hope and relief from our weariness!

Virginia Strubbe, CSW-PIP, OSW-C walks alongside clients, with training and experience navigating the unique challenges that accompany a chronic or terminal diagnosis. She serves clients in person in Sioux Falls, South Dakota and throughout the state via telehealth. 

Reach out today via phone or our contact form: 605-271-1081   |


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