There are two types of people when it comes to the holidays. The first are the loud, obnoxious and happy type that spend every day decorating, baking cookies, blaring Christmas songs really loud everywhere they go and shopping for ridiculous amounts of time. Then there’s the rest of us: the overwhelmed, anxious and slightly vexed by all of the loud hustle and bustle of the season. (Sorry if you’re a loud, happy type, I don’t dislike you or your joy of the season-I just can’t hang, my nerves just can’t take it).
SOOOOO…if you are with me in the 2nd camp, here are some things we can do to help us stay sane during the holidays:
1.Stop trying to attend EVERY single party you are invited to. Yes I know it’s hard but sometimes you need to make the hard choice and say NO to a few things so you can enjoy the things you said YES to!
2.Throw your schedule in the trash. Ugh I hate this!! I’m a scheduler by nature and I hate it when I go through my days with no rhyme or reason, flying by the seat of my pants and getting stressed out because things keep interrupting my normalcy. But I’ve realized I’m stressed out because I’m a control freak and I can’t control the holiday season. It sends me into panic mode, which I hate. So I’ve decided to just retreat to the 10 year old version of myself and stop trying to control everything. I’m trying to get back that childish, fun part of me that doesn’t care about precision and perfection!
3.Make memories, not bills. In America we make Christmas about sparkling boxes with oversized bows full of gifts that we can’t afford. We spend the entire next year paying off credit card balances and loans. STOP the madness!! Christmas is about Jesus! Let’s give that to each other, not gifts that will probably never be worn or used. My daughter still has clothes in her closet from last Christmas with the price tag attached. What she really wants from me is quality time, not material gifts!
4.Find ways to de-stress. This is hard I know…especially when you have a jam-packed schedule, a job, kids, family in town staying with you, your child’s Christmas party, concert, church cantata, etc, etc, etc. BUT, sometimes just a 20 minute walk around the neighborhood can clear your head and help you de-stress. Instead of sleeping in, get up early and go to the gym to get rid of that overwhelmed feeling (I actually do this). It really does help.
5. For Heaven’s sake get your eyes back on Jesus. I bawled my eyes out like a baby at church yesterday. I walked in feeling burdened, stressed out and at a loss with my coping skills. But the more I worshipped, the lighter I felt. Just looking at Jesus gave me the strength I needed to deal with my life right now.
6.Re-acquaint yourself with Christ-mas. I truly dislike the commercialization of Christmas. It’s so easy to get swept up into the pull of Santa Claus, an over-abundance of gifts, a plethora of holiday parties and family events to the point that you can’t even remember what you’re celebrating. I don’t want to minimize the beauty of the story of God coming to a foul and polluted world to redeem it. I don’t want to forget that He gave it all for His fallen creation just because He wanted us in His family forever. Because of this revelation, I decided to incorporate something truly Chistmas-y in my day. Maybe a scripture taken from the Christmas story or reading a devotion that re-aligns me heart to the true meaning of Christmas.
This isn’t meant to be an exhaustive list, after all you don’t need to add MORE things to the to-do list you already have, right? It’s just a reminder to stop and breathe, relax into the moment and find Jesus in the sanity of the season.
‘Tis the season for Christ to shine in our hearts and remind of his goodness, not for us to live frazzled and overwhelmed by life.