During the holidays many people and activities place expectations on our time. It is easy to get overwhelmed, stressed out and wound up tighter as the calendar fills up.
The holidays will not be perfect.
There will be beauty and there will be messy moments. There will be wonder and there will be frazzled freak-outs.
Often tightly wound women hold themselves, and those around them, to high standards and unrealistic expectations.
Here are a 5 tips to help you stay calm this holiday season:
- Simplify: Choose a few events to actively participate in and either say “no” to the rest or limit your involvement. Curb the guilt and give yourself, and loved ones, the gift of your sanity this season. Keep your holiday simple to minimize mess and stress. For example, I wanted to help with a Widow’s Tea at church but I am also directing a Christmas play. I opted to make cookies for the tea and not attend it at all. I still feel like I am helping but am not stretching myself too thin (nor helping them be too thin with these easy and delicious Chocolate Mint Cookies).
- Be Realistic: You only have so many hours in the day and a set number of days in the month. Yield before you say “yes” and pause before you proceed when making holiday commitments and plans. Be realistic with your time and energy level. Think through what that “yes” might mean for you and your family. Pace yourself to avoid burnout and sickness. Read this “Don’t Have To” list from Lisa Jo Baker if you need further permission to let go during the holidays.
- Have fun: Don’t forget to engage in activities you enjoy. Snuggle up on the couch with a good movie and some hot cocoa. Go caroling (if that’s your thing). Or drive around town and look at the lights. Holiday hype doesn’t have to be costly, it should be enjoyable too. Instead of cramming the days with too many tasks and tinsel, make a list of everyone’s top idea for holiday fun and try to make your way through the list this month.
- Get some fresh air: It’s chilly here in the Midwest. I often forget to make myself go outside, just to breathe deep and get some fresh air. We need a change of perspective and the great outdoors is a great place to find it. Bundle up and go make a snow angel (weather permitting). Walk over to the neighbor’s house and take some of those mint cookies with you.
- Savor: There are wonderful flavors this time of year. Take time to sit and eat and enjoy the sights, smells and tastes of the season. Reflect on the birth of Christ and read it in various versions of the Bible. Remember the reason for all the celebrating in the first place. Stare at the Christmas lights on the tree and let your mind rest as you make room for the Messiah.
I hope this list helps you breathe deeply this season.
P.S. Head on over to iBelieve.com to read about How Being Wound Up Affects Relationships.