With the Christmas season upon us our schedules become filled with programs, family events, parties, and wonderful outings. And in the “spare time” in between there’s baking, shopping, wrapping and decorating. While Christmas is a magical time and there is so much to enjoy, it can be a very stressful season for some of us. Unfortunately, the demands we put on ourselves can take away from the heart of the season. We forget what it’s all about. We put so much pressure on ourselves that we miss enjoying this beautiful time.
Fortunately, with a few small changes, the season can become enjoyable again. It doesn’t take much to ditch the chaos, it just takes some letting go and mindset shifts.
DON’T BE AFRAID TO SAY “NO”
There are SO many demands during Christmas and often times you may feel obligated to say “yes” to everything you’re invited to. It’s easy to let guilt take over and make our decision for us. By changing your mindset and remembering to put your needs and your family’s needs first, it will become easier to say no to things that may be more stressful than joyful. If going to your second cousin’s holiday party is a stress-filled event, it’s okay to kindly explain that you won’t be able to attend. If staying at home on Friday night and watching Christmas movies with your kids brings your family more happiness and joy, then go for it. Remember, it’s okay to say “no.”
DON’T SKIMP ON YOUR HEALTHY HABITS
Oh the cookies, the holiday drinks, the Christmas foods. Some of these Christmas traditions can be completely out of the norm for us. Which is a welcomed change sometimes. But don’t completely give up on your healthy habits. WIth the added stress, the sugary foods and the holiday gatherings, you can easily become run down. A run down body is a body that’s more susceptible to germs, viruses and bacteria it comes into contact with. By keeping up on healthy habits like a healthy diet, exercise, plenty of sleep and stress management, you’ll be able to stay healthy this Christmas season. While this doesn’t mean eating a whole plate of Christmas cookies, it also doesn’t mean missing out on your favorite holiday treat either. Remember everything in moderation. If you’re eating healthy, don’t worry about indulging here or there. Enjoy the season, but don’t completely throw caution to the wind either.
ASK, “WILL IT BRING ME JOY?”
With so many Christmas traditions, it can become overwhelming and stressful to fit them all in. There’s the cookie baking, the pictures, the Christmas cards, the parades, Santa visits…...the list goes on and on. We try to create an extra special season and a memorable Christmas, but in the process we stress ourselves and our families out. In each and every thing you want to do, ask yourself, “will this bring me more joy than it will stress?” If the answer is yes, then go full steam ahead. But if you feel your tradition will bring more stress than happiness, maybe it’s time to reevaluate. Skipping one year of Christmas cards isn’t going to put you on the naughty list. Christmas isn’t just about going through the motions of a tradition. Make sure you are truly enjoying the time with your friends and family.
CARVE OUT “YOU TIME”
We all know that time in the month of December can be a precious commodity; more than any other month. With all of the hectic schedules and extra tasks, it’s important to make sure there’s time for you and time to take care of yourself. While I don’t recommend giving up sleep, especially during Christmas, sometimes it’s easiest to catch your “you time” first thing in the morning. Have a quiet moment before your day begins. Read a devotion, have your coffee in peace, take a moment to mentally prepare for your day. It’s important to make sure you have time for what makes you happy in the midst of Christmas preparations. If you don’t take care of yourself, it makes it more difficult to take care of the ones you love.
Christmas time has SO many opportunities for us to give to those around us. There are chances to volunteer at church, shelters and schools. There are gifts to buy for those in need. And there are ways to give time to those who are lonely this time of year. Whether you choose to give money, time, gifts or food, there is always a way to help. A helping hand is just what makes the true meaning of Christmas shine through the stress, the traditions and the demands of the season. While giving your time, money or other gifts and talents can bring you great joy, it isn’t something you should feel obligated to do either.
If you’re looking towards the Christmas season with dread of stress, obligations and downright chaos, think about what will truly bring you and your family joy. It may be that low key and nights in are the perfect way to celebrate with your family. It may be leaving messes until morning or ordering take out for dinner. Whatever you and your family chooses to do to celebrate the Christmas season together, I hope you fully enjoy it.