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You Can Have Less Stress This Holiday Season

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Does it seem unbelievable to you if I tell you that you can have less stress this holiday season? I hope not, but if so, you are in the right place!

Let’s face it, the holidays can be a very stressful time for all of us and for various reasons. We are often pulled in several different directions, often at the same time, and somehow our kids seem to capitalize on the mounting stress they can see that their parents are under.

The interesting thing is that we parents are often the one to put the pressure on. We can so easily place unrealistic expectations on ourselves and others, which of course means that we will end up disappointed, again.

Stress doesn’t have to be part of the holiday bustle, however, and there are some things you can do to lessen the number and severity of the issues that so commonly arise.

With some planning, a focus on being intentional, and large amounts of grace, this can be the first holiday season that finds you with less stress!

holiday season

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Planning can cover a multitude of things, and making even simple plans can bring about a sizable reward. You could plan easier meals for the month of December, give yourself a break on some of your cleaning demands, and if you homeschool you can take an extra week off to let yourself catch your breath. You can meal plan, make sure that you don’t overbuy or overspend, and plan for more help in your day. Having a list and daily schedule can be a real life saver during the holiday season.

Don’t over schedule

Resist the urge to attend every holiday event that presents itself to you or any of your family members. Perhaps optional things should be postponed until 2016 comes. Many Bible studies, mom gatherings, and even church activities are put on hold during December. Do what you can to avoid over scheduling during this time. Knowing how to say no is a very good thing. I’ve said it before, many times, but creating healthy boundaries is a very good thing.

This book is everything you need to do just that.

Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life

This book defines boundaries and then tells us why we need them, but it then takes you through the steps to actually create boundaries of your own. This book will be something you draw wisdom from again and again.

Avoid trying to overdo it

With so many demands on your time, it might not be conducive to make cookies for your neighbors, the mailman, the paper carrier, and your friends from church. You don’t have to volunteer for everything that comes your way, and agreeing to organize the Christmas party for your ladies group might be more than you can take on. Be sure to sift everything you think about doing through the filter that is your mission statement to avoid spending time and energy on things that don’t really matter to you.

Focus on the other 11 months of the year, too

Be an intentional wife, parent, daughter, sister, and friend during the other times of the year, too. Regularly living with intention when it comes to your loved ones takes the pressure off from you feeling as though you need to go over and above during this busy season. If you are showering your friends and loved ones with your love, appreciation, and gratitude all year long, you won’t feel the need to lavish them unnecessarily during this time of year.

Start small

As you decide on traditions, holiday meals, and gift buying and wrapping, start basic and work up from there if you choose. You can always give these things an upgrade, but once you bite off more than you can chew, you are often stuck with whatever is in your mouth. Start small first.

Avoid the comparison trap

Your life is your life. Your sister’s life is her life. Your best friend is the only one who has her life. Resist feeling as though you need to do things the same way others do simply because you want to measure up in the eyes of someone else or your own. The holidays are often a breeding ground for envy, but don’t do it. Your life is your life. Your family is your family. This is the framework in which you have to work. Keep your eyes focused there, and do what works for you. If this is something you struggle with, reading Taming Your Own Green Eyed Monster is just for you.

Clearly define the roles and expectations for everyone in your family

Before heading out for a family gathering, be certain that your kids know exactly what behavior is expected of them. If you feel your teen should help bake the cookies to bring to her piano teacher, let her know that this is your expectation. Do you have things that you expect your husband to help with during this time of year? Make sure you have let him know. Expecting our husband or our kids to instinctively know that we need their help and just how it is that they are to help us is unfair.

Hire help

If at no other time of the year, maybe the weeks that bring this year to a close is the time that you need to hire a mother’s helper, pay a neighbor girl to babysit your kids in the living room while you wrap presents in your bedroom, or have someone clean your house. Even if these things or other conveniences are not in your budget year round, maybe this is the time of your to tweak things to get you some added relief.

Be flexible

If there is one thing I know, it is that things rarely go according to plan, especially during this time of the year. Recognizing that you need to be flexible and then doing it when needed will greatly reduce the amount of stress that this season can bring.

Take some time for you

Resist the urge to rob your personal time to meet the increased demands of the season. Be certain that you are still making the time to fill your tank. I know it can seem like an easy solution just to take your personal time out of the equation during busy seasons, but this will only bring more harm than good. Be certain that you take time for you.

Keep things simple

Simple meals, simple gifts, simple gift wrapping, simple traditions, simple decorating. Are you sensing a theme here? Keep things simple and keep them basic. It is the little things that often speak love to our family and friends the most. You can read about our favorite traditions in 20 Holiday Traditions That Your Family Will Love.

Remember the reason for the season

I know you hear this all the time, but it often needs repeating. If you believe that Christmas is the time that we celebrate the birth of Christ, then all these things that we stress ourselves out with don’t really matter. Keep the real thing the real thing, and let everything else take a backseat.

Having less stress during the holidays doesn’t have to be a dream – it really can be your reality. However, it is a choice that you must make. Putting these things in place will be just what you need to come out on the other side in one piece!

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