The holiday season is quickly approaching and with it, comes lots of holiday stress! Before we know it, 2018 will be knocking on our door.  What thoughts immediately come to mind as you begin to think and prepare your heart for the upcoming festivities?  Do your thoughts turn to the joy of spending time with family and friends, all that you are thankful for, or to the celebration of Christ’s birth?

Maybe, it’s the thought of time away from work responsibilities allowing for some much anticipated relaxation. Unfortunately for many, this season brings thoughts of stressful times to mind.

Maybe your thoughts are more fixated on:

How am I going to financially afford to give to our children and others?

How am I going to get through this holiday season, when it’s a reminder of all of the losses I have experienced in life?

How do I handle spending another holiday alone?

How do I manage seeing family and friends that I hold resentments for due to a past hurt or betrayal?

How am I going to manage pulling everything off and living up to all the expectations, while I feel like I’m falling apart?

How do I deal with navigating the holidays as a single parent or with a blended family, and who goes where and how do we split the time?

Here are seven tips to help you combat holiday stresses:

  1. Keep Christ first this holiday season!

How? By keeping a prayerful attitude. Make daily reading of your Bible and/or devotions a priority.

  1. Begin planning now.

Prioritize the normally planned activities, parties, and traditions. What’s most important? Decide if there is anything that can be cut out.  Learn to say no.

  1. Set your budget early and stick to it.

Do your children really need an overload of gifts under the Christmas tree that will likely be forgotten in a short time?  Is receiving a ton of gifts the value you want to teach your kids?  Think back to your favorite memories. What was most memorable to you? Time spent? An experience? A tradition? Or particular gifts? Remember the wise men only brought Christ, our KING, three gifts.

  1. Decorate early and use it as family time to begin some of the teachable moments you desire with your children.

For example, my son asked Jesus into his heart while decorating a Christmas tree because he asked a question about a Christmas ornament. What traditions and opportunities can you create by simply decorating and preparing your home for the season?

  1. Be Realistic.

The holidays don’t have to be perfect. You are not Superwoman.  As families grow and change, traditions will as well. Be open to doing things different from your previous expectations. Better yet, give yourself permission for the holidays to look different.

  1. Acknowledge your emotions.

Loss brings sadness. Unrealistic expectations bring stress.  Injustice brings Anger. Lack of boundaries and unmet expectations bring frustration.  Emotions are normal. Jesus experienced strong emotions throughout his life, but He came for us to have abundant life. Do not get stuck in your emotions or isolate yourself.  Reach out for help and support.

  1. Seek professional help if you need it.

Whether you are struggling with emotional distress, feelings of being overwhelmed, or just need to get organized, get help .

Where there is no guidance, the people fall, but in abundance of counselors there is victory. ~Proverbs 11:14

Just a little something to ponder …

The holiday season doesn’t have to be so incredibly stressful. You can make a plan and only do what is necessary. Make a point to take time to enjoy the experience. Be intentional in starting early. Give yourself permission to say “no” and let it go. If chaos is doing the same thing over and over, yet expecting a different result…then make a plan to do something different this year!

 

What are some ways that you have found helpful to combat holiday stress? Tell me about them!

 

Sincerely, Christi

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