I know it’s easy to get stressed during the Christmas holidays with all the extra activities and events that come along with it, but nobody wants to be around a scrooge. Don’t let the busyness of the holiday season take away your Christmas spirit. Here are seven ways to beat holiday stress this year so that you can enjoy the holidays with your family and friends instead of feeling overwhelmed.
Choose your commitments wisely.
The biggest mistake you could make if you want to reduce holiday stress this year is to over commit yourself during the holiday season. Having too much to do and not enough time to do it will leave you feeling overwhelmed. I know what it feels like to want to do it all, but unless you’re superwoman it’s impossible. Instead, choose a few activities that will bring you the most joy and invest your time and energy into them. You’ll feel satisfied after participating in your chosen activities without the pressure of running from party to party to dinner to concert.
Just say no.
This builds on the previous tip. It’s important to not let guilt pressure you into saying yes to holiday activities and tasks that you really want to say no to. I’ve already written on this subject before because so many of us have trouble saying yes when we really mean no. If you need some advice on saying no this holiday season be sure to check out my post here.
Lower your expectations.
Unmet expectations can bring on the stress more than anything, so now’s the perfect time to lower your expectations for this holiday season. Remember Clark Griswold in the movie National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation? Yes, that’s what happens when we create unrealistic expectations, especially when it involves other people and events we can’t control. You’ll be more likely to enjoy the holidays this year when you throw out those high expectations that can never be met. This year forget perfectionism in the kitchen, embrace your family members’ differences and understand the holiday movies on TV do not equal reality. That is, not unless you’re watching Clark Griswold.
Keep it simple.
The key to lowering your expectations during the holidays is keeping it simple. Keep your holiday decorating, shopping and entertaining manageable for you and your family. If it means forfeiting a fancy family dinner this year then that’s OK – serve it buffet style instead. Maybe this is the year you won’t make Christmas gifts but order them from Amazon instead. What’s important is that you’re happy, healthy and able to enjoy the holidays with your family and friends, not that you have the largest Christmas tree in the neighborhood.
Keep family traditions.
Whatever you do, no matter how busy you get, don’t overlook family traditions during the holiday season. Traditions are something families look forward to year after year and can help beat holiday stress as you spend time with family. Remember that even though an activity or event may not be important to you, it may be for your spouse or children. You’ll appreciate taking the time to maintain these traditions later on when you recall and cherish the memories you’ve made with your family. If you don’t have any family traditions, create one!
Give to others.
It’s easy to get caught up in holiday activities and forget the real reason for the season. Show God’s love to others by volunteering at a local homeless shelter, playing Santa to unfortunate children through The Salvation Army or Toys for Tots, or by giving to your favorite charity. You’ll be blessed as you reach out and serve others in need.
Spend time in meditation.
With all the tasks looming over us during the holidays we often neglect time for personal meditation and reflection. That’s what we need most! Be mindful to set aside time to journal, read The Bible, pray and seek God amidst the hustle and bustle of it all. Purchase a seasonal Bible study or commit to a Bible reading plan that will remind you of the true reason for Christmas. Draw closer to God and He’ll help you beat holiday stress as you rely on Him for strength and comfort.