I heard a radio commentator say that the holidays are the most stressful time of year and that they’re already feeling stressed out and it just really rubbed me the wrong way. The holidays is not about stressing yourself out it’s about spending time with the people you love and cherishing the end of the year. Too many people spend the holidays strep I don’t think you need to live like that or should look like that. So here are my tips for when you start feeling stressed out this holiday season.
Say no to something
This is hard for the Enneagram 7 / FOMO heart in me but it makes such a difference. When things are starting to feel overwhelming, cut something out. I LOVE the holidays and I want to do all the things but this year we just can’t. I share more about that in this Instagram post if you are interested but we have had to purposely say no to some holiday activities so that we actually enjoy this season! For us that looks like no lights on the outside of the house this year. No Electric Safari at the zoo. No ornaments on the bottom half of my tree 😉 There is no right answer for what you may need to say no to, but you will know. Let yourself not do all the things.
Go on a Walk/ Run
Get out of the house. Sometimes I just need to cuddle Hilde up in the stroller, grab my coat, and see where we end up. Getting out of the house and away from the stress (like dishes, laundry, and house projects) can help you breathe. I also find that my mind can un-fog a bit and sort out what my priorities really are. Exercise gives you endorphins and endorphins make you happy – I learned that in a movie once! 😉
Remember the meaning of the season and make this personal
It is so easy to see what everyone else is doing for the holidays. Baking cookies, making crafts, posting beautiful photos on Instagram, decorating their house with the most beautiful lights, playing games with their kids, attending shows, hosting parties, sending cards – I could go on and on. When you say no to things, other people may still say yes to them and you will see that. I know I see all our neighbors with lights and I want to go apologize to them saying we will put them on our house next year but just couldn’t swing it this year but that is crazy. You always notice more what you say no to.
That being said, remember what you are saying yes to and why you are saying yes to it! Make your holidays personal. Hold on to the things that give you life (like picking out a Christmas Tree and sending out Christmas Cards are some of mine) and make those happen.
Beyond that, remember that Christmas is not about doing, it is about waiting. It is about our Savior coming to Earth and looking forward to when He will come again. It is about spending time with family and friends. Snuggling on the couch or playing a board game with your husband instead of hitting up another holiday event is still celebrating this season!
Stick to your Budget
Often holiday stress comes with the price tag of things. The events, the shows, the gifts, the giving – there is a lot of money being thrown around this season. A lot of the things we can spend money on this time of the year are truly good things but over spending doesn’t help anyone. Pray over your finances and set an honest budget for the season for spending and giving.
Do you want to give a gift that is pricier than what you were planning on? Take away gifts to make that one fit, go in with someone (like grandparents or friends), or don’t get it. You don’t need to crank up credit card debt to have a Merry Christmas. Bruce and I set a budget each year for ourselves, our kids, and all the gifts we need to buy. We bought a house this year and therefor are skipping gifts for each other. This is our first year doing that but we both felt like it would be the best thing this year for our budget. Knowing how much you are planning on spending and can spend helps with the stress of shopping and making plans.
Put away your phone
For an hour during nap time (or whenever you can get some peace) put away your phone, turn off the TV and, rest doing something you enjoy (not work Beth!!) Maybe it is reading, maybe it is a craft, maybe it is doing a puzzle while sipping on a large cup of apple cider, whatever it is, let yourself do something fun. When everything is just part of a to-do list, it can suck the fun right out of things!
Give yourself Grace
Ultimately, give yourself a break. The holidays are not about creating a perfect experience. So don’t strive for perfection. Let your holiday look different than years past if it needs to. You and your family will not remember all the activities and things you checked off your to-do list but they will remember your mood and how you made them feel.
PS: I totally realize this post is coming at you at the end of the season. Sorry if you needed it earlier, but saying “no” to posting all the time was one of the things I had to do this year 😉 I find these tips can be helpful year round too when you feel that stress rising up!