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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Harris

5 Ways to Reduce Holiday Stress

“It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” or so the song says. But for many, it is the most stressful and depressing time of the year. On top of every day stress, we find our calendars overwhelmed with the addition of holiday shopping, school Christmas plays, work parties, family get-togethers, holiday meal planning, wrapping gifts, and that is just a short list of the extra logistics we juggle! We haven’t even scratched the surface of navigating family relationships during the holidays, one of the greatest sources of stress for many people.

But I bring you good news of great joy! You CAN choose to make this an enjoyable time of year for your family. What if our holiday season truly reflected the true meaning of the season? What if we focused on celebrating the birth of our Savior while resting in the joy and peace He came to bring us? This Christmas, my family and I are determined to do just that. Will you join us? Below are five helpful tips to reduce holiday stress to make this your best Christmas season yet!

Christmas Tip #1: Self-Care

When we are stressed and overwhelmed, we tend to neglect the basics of health. It isn’t long until we are seeing the impact on our energy levels and health. The last thing we need during the busy holiday season is to deal with sickness! Self-care is stewardship. The healthier you are, the greater your capacity to pour into all of your relationships. During this time of year we must prioritize sleep, nutrition, exercise, and hydration. Focus on getting a minimum of seven hours of sleep, eating a healthy diet full of veggies and fruits, drinking half your body weight in ounces of water daily and getting 30 minutes of movement in every day. Did you know that a 30 minute walk every day can have the same impact as a low dose of anxiety and depression medication? It can!

Christmas Tip #2: Write a Christmas Mission Statement

This Christmas, begin with the end in mind. By taking time to plan ahead, you can save yourself time, stress and money. What do you want for your family this Christmas season? How do you want to feel on January 1st- rejuvenated or run-down? What do you want your kids to remember, to take away from this season? What memories do you want to make? What will your family focus on this Christmas? These are just a few questions to get you thinking as you craft your mission statement with your family.

Here is an example of our mission statement: This Christmas we will celebrate all Jesus has done for us. We will teach our children the true meaning of Christmas. We will hustle only for joy and peace, doing what brings us closer to Jesus, one another, and our family and friends.

Your Christmas Mission Statement helps you decide what to give your best yes to and what to say no to. This brings us to….

Christmas Tip #3: Set Healthy Boundaries

Boundaries help us to keep the good in and keep the bad out. Boundaries empower you to set the tone for your family’s Christmas. Consider setting boundaries with…

your time-do your plans and commitments reflect your mission statement?

your stuff- what do you need to donate, give away, etc. so you feel at peace and free from clutter in your home?

your money-how can you focus on making memories instead of accruing debt?

with others- what is your plan to protect your “happy” if people try to bump into it so you avoid giving your power away to unhealthy people?

Christmas Tip #4: Plan Ahead

Hopefully you have already communicated Christmas plans to your extended family! By planning ahead, every member of your family has time to adjust their expectations of the holidays. This prevents family members from running on assumptions. Be gracious and respectful as you communicate. If you are married, communicate plans to your own family and hold the line for your spouse. You are a team, and Christmas is no exception. Remember, it is not fair to be resentful of how things turn out if you have not clearly communicated ahead of time. By putting off the hard conversations, you escalate stress, hurts feelings and misunderstandings when you want your family to feel considered and respected. Facing these conversations can be hard, but it is worth it!

Christmas Tip #5: Examine Expectations and Choose Grace

Examine your own expectations of others and yourself. Are your expectations healthy? Have they been communicated? Are you expecting too much? Are you expecting others to compromise but you are unwilling to do the same? Are your expectations reasonable for the season of life you are in? Our expectations are a great indicator of our heart health. Am I finding my joy and peace in Christ? Or am I putting pressure on myself and others to make the holiday perfect? Christmas is about Christ coming to this fallen and imperfect world to bring grace, joy and peace. The best decision we can make this Christmas is to give grace to others and ourselves.

Hopefully these five tips empower you to have your best Christmas season yet! On the best of years our holidays may be wonderful, but they will never be perfect this side of Heaven. But we can make healthy decisions to help us have a peaceful Christmas season. The disappointments we face during the holidays are a beautiful reminder that this is not home. Heaven is. That is why we celebrate the hope of Jesus at Christmas!

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1 Comment

Dec 04, 2018

Omg so much good stuff in this post! A family Christmas mission statement- LOVE!!! ❤️

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