For many, this is a time of year is filled with a mixture of emotions, including lots of stress. Here are four quick tips to help you with Christmas holiday stress:
Remember the reason for the holiday. Remember the true purpose of celebrating at this time of year. Keeping focused on the birth of Jesus helps to put everything in perspective. Also, think about the purpose behind other traditions that you may have. As you get together with people, even negative or dysfunctional people, remember why you are spending time together. Focusing on the purpose will help keep a positive light on the situation regardless of what other people are doing or saying.
Don’t give others power over your thoughts, emotions, and reactions. Remember that you alone are responsible for how you choose to behave in any given situation. Just because some says something that sounds like a guilt trip does not mean that you have to go on that ride. Do not take responsibility for other people’s behaviors. Just like others cannot control your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors, you do not have that kind of control over others. Taking responsibility for things you cannot control creates stress.
Giving allows you to focus on the needs of others rather than your own needs. It helps us to become less selfish. Remember that giving financially is only one small way to give. Volunteer somewhere, have someone over for dinner, give a note of encouragement, or give away something that you have that someone else needs. Do all of these things or one of the things but in some way give! Regardless of your situation you have something you can give to someone else. This helps refocus our attention on others and away from our own problems.
Find ways to relax. You do not have to be apologetic about taking time to take care of yourself but do this in a way that is not demeaning to others and does not become selfish. In other words, balance this with giving. For example when you decide to take some time to exercise, do not make a big deal out of it like “I’m going to exercise while the rest of you people lay around” but tell people you are going to try to stay on some routine and you’ll be back as soon as you can. If appropriate, ask others to join you. For some this may be more stressful and so be ok with taking some time by yourself. Again, balance this with not using your relaxation as an excuse to isolate yourself during the Christmas holiday. Other options like meditating on scripture and getting enough sleep can help you relax and reduce stress.
Find joy this Christmas by keeping your heart, mind, soul, and body focused on Him.