For most of us, Christmas is a fun time. From celebrating the birth of Christ to cheesy holiday movies, Christmas is a time to make new memories with family and friends. Some of my favorite memories have been loud, off-key singing Christmas songs while driving around looking at lights and coming back to our house to make homemade ornaments with our fellas. Each year, I look forward to enjoying these moments.
Sadly, the holidays can also mean stress. The mixture of crowds, fast-paced music, high-fat foods, and heavy traffic can often lead to experiencing stressmas instead of enjoying Christmas.
Here are three ways to stress less so that you can better enjoy the Christmas season.
1. Respond wisely
Sometimes it is difficult to determine which activities need your time and attention, especially during the holidays. Whenever you receive an invite, think about how the new request fits in with your current commitments before responding. It can be easy to agree to invitations out of guilt or continue a tradition out of obligation. But continually saying yes without careful consideration can only lead to additional stress and frustration.
Saying no to certain activities allows you the opportunity to say yes to what really matters. Spend time thinking about gives you joy during the holiday time. Is it baking in the kitchen with your grandmother? Could it be cuddling on the couch with your hubby for a Christmas movie binge? Maybe it’s driving around listening to Christmas music while you look at the lights with your children? Or is it serving your local community at a homeless shelter? Unless you know how you want to spend your holiday time, you won’t respond wisely to requests for your time.
2. Rest well
Between Christmas parties, work demands, and traveling, rest can often be one of the first areas to be sacrificed in our effort to do it all. Although it can be tempting to cut your regular sleep hours to attend an additional party, to hang out with a friend in town, or to wrap presents while the kids sleep, rest is essential. Without proper rest, we can walk around frazzled and short-tempered becoming the opposite of fun.
So help yourself out by creating intentional space to rest your mind and your body. Whether it is taking a nap, going for a leisurely stroll, disconnecting from social media or taking a quiet bubble bath (if you can keep the kids occupied), make room for rest each day. For this to happen, we have to safeguard time in our schedules which allow for the type of rest we need. For example, if you receive an invitation from someone you really want to spend time with but you have been going all day, and you are exhausted, consider offering an alternative time to meet. This allows you the opportunity to still spend time with someone who matters while also being able to rest properly. Choosing to properly rest and maintain self-care can aid us in truly enjoying the season.
3. Reflect often
With all the demands that may come along with the holiday season, it can be easy to get caught up shuffling from one activity to the next rushing here and there leaving little time to enjoy the moment. In the midst of the whirlwind, we can choose to take time to breathe, reflect and remember the faithfulness of God. Purposefully decide to take charge of your day and make time to reflect on the beauty that surrounds you each day. When we take time to reflect, we can also identify those triggers that turn enjoying Christmas into experiencing stressmas.
Take a moment to identify what this season means to you. What matters? Who matters? Post it where you can see it on a regular basis to help keep you focused. Keep a gratitude log writing in it each night to help reflect on the day. Take time to remember the memories behind the ornaments on your tree. At dinnertime go around the table sharing one favorite Christmas memory. Whatever you decide to do to reflect, be intentional.
Stress during the holidays only robs us from our focus on celebrating the birth of Christ and the joy of spending time with our families. Thankfully, we can make changes that allow us to embrace the spirit of Christmas.
How do you say “no” to stress during the Christmas season?