3 ways to De-Stress & Find your Joy this Christmas

Am I the only one who feels like we lost a week of our Christmas season?

If you feel that way that’s because we did!! Thanksgiving was a week later than usual so it ended and BAM! Here’s December. My youngest, Jeremy, has this Christmas countdown on our window sill in the kitchen. Just today he was changing the days to “22 days till Christmas” and even he commented “boy mom, isn’t it going by fast!” Yes it is and everyday I feel this weird little anxiety in my gut when I watch him change that number.

Which got me thinking. Why am I feeling anxious when I should be feeling the Joy and Peace this season is supposed to bring? So I asked myself one important question….

When I look back on the month of December what do I want to see?

My answer. Simple. I want to see a mom who embraced the moments and created memories. Said no where she needed to and didn’t feel like she had to meet everyone’s expectations. Spent more time in her Jammies watching one more Christmas movie with her family. Most importantly the Peace and the Love of Christ came through in her actions, words and thoughts. (And she gave herself Grace, she knows it doesn’t have to look perfect)

How do we do it though? How do we not get ourselves caught up in the rush and Stress that this Holiday Season brings? I am so glad you asked! Because I have come up with 3 easy steps you can take today to lighten your load and make time for what is really important.

Step One: IDENTIFY

Identify what is making you stressed. Spend some time today paying attention to those times you feel the anxious butterflies come in. Then look around you.

  • What was said to you?
  • What were you looking at?
  • What were you thinking?

Chances are if you answer those questions you will find what is stressing you. Awareness is a huge key to our Victory over stress.

Identify your expectations for the Holiday. Now I want you to take some time right now and get a picture in your head of what Christmas looks like for you?

  • Is it realistic?
  • Where do those expectations come from?
  • Social media? Pressure from family traditions? Maybe watching too many unrealistic Christmas movies. 🙋🏼‍♀️Ha! I am so guilty of this one!
  • And do they line up with what you want to see when you look back on the last 31 days?

StepTwo: RE-FOCUS

Stop looking at your to-do list. Focus on the things that matter most in life.

  • Focus on your family. Make the Christmas cookies. Go sledding. Snowball fights and snow Angels.
  • Wrap presents for the parents who can’t give to their children this Christmas.
  • Serve dinner at a shelter.
  • Most importantly focus on Jesus. None of it matters in light of the reason we are celebrating Christmas in the first place.

Step Three: Have a plan

Now that you have identified what stresses you. Changed your expectations. And re-focused on what matters. You need a plan. What will you do when you begin to feel overwhelmed by the demands. When you sense those first signs of stress creeping in. Brainstorm today by writing down 1-3 things that may help you to calm the crazy inside. Here are a few to get you started.

  • Talk to yourself- When your mind begins to get overwhelmed with thoughts of “all the things” , talk back. A mantra if you will. I have many for the different things I battle in my mind. But for this you might just start with a simple phrase of ” I DO NOT HAVE TO DO ALL THE THINGS”
  • Turn to gratitude- Gratitude is so good for so many reasons. But have you ever thought to use it when you are stressed about how busy you are? Try it. Keep a list in your phone so it is easy to pull out in a stress emergency. You can also start and finish your day with a gratitude list and/or statement. It is a great way to look back on your day and pull out all the good that you accomplished.
  • Take a time out! – Just stop. Sit down. And relax. Grab a coffee with a friend. Watch a Christmas movie.. alone 😉 Take a break from the to-do for just a moment. And breathe.

Finally in the spirit of “Frozen” Let it go… Let it go…”

  • Let go of anything that is weighing you down. Anything that in a year won’t even be remembered.
  • Let go of the exceptions. Those unrealistic expectations you put on yourself.
  • Let go of the comparison. Your Christmas is just that, your Christmas. It doesn’t have to look or feel like anyone else.

So are you with me? Are you ready to put these steps into action and have the most relaxed, peaceful and joy filled Christmas ever??

Let’s do this together!

What is your biggest stress trigger?

  • me? – All the little gifts I feel obligated to buy. Teachers , students in my son’s 4th grade class. Mailman. Groomer. the list can get so long. This year I am making some changes to simplify my giving. Homemade gifts! They are sure to be used and not go to waste.

Do you have a favorite Christmas cookie? Please share!

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Are you going through a new difficult season and finding yourself having a hard time coping? 
I want to encourage you with three daily actionable tasks to help you make space to live in the moments and to find God right where you are.