It’s the most wonderful time of the year…………..right?

Four Tips for Surviving the holiday’s.

Are you asking yourself this question this Christmas? Is your anxiety at an all-time high and at the same time you feel bummed out by all the “happiness of the season?” (Kind of like Charlie Brown). The holiday’s aren’t the most wonderful time of the year for everyone. Sure, there are numerous fun things to do, great parties, fabulous food, and all the lights, but things just don’t always go the way you planned. The bonus you expected didn’t come, you didn’t get invited to that party you thought you would, your pants are too tight, and maybe the holiday’s aren’t the same because you have lost someone you love.

First let’s be honest, you’re spending a lot of time with family, family who you may only see once a year if that. We all know family can bring a lot of drama, differing values, labels from your childhood (you’re the “middle child”, the always late child, the irresponsible child…….. and all of these labels are from 20 years ago when you lived at home with your parents), political conversations, as well as the twenty questions about where you’re at in life. Do you have the right job, live in the right house, in the right city, with smart kids and the perfect spouse? Are you meeting all the expectations?

Then there’s the financial strains that the holiday brings with it. Numerous parties, outfits for parties, gifts, is someone going to get you a gift that you hadn’t planned on buying something for? It always seems like the car breaks down, or something with the house needs to be fixed, unexpected expenses are never welcome in December.

The holidays can also be a reminder of those that we have lost. Either our favorite grandparent who always made us laugh, a parent, a child, or a best friend.  The holidays seem to highlight these losses, and we’re left feeling empty and alone.

We know this isn’t the life that God has called us too. If we are called to live life and life to the fullest, it certainly shouldn’t look like this. I’ve learned a couple of things over the years about stress and the holidays.  While this holiday has been difficult for us there are a few non- negotiables I’ve put into place to lighten that load.IMG_2505

  1.  Less pressure on myself for everything to be perfect. (things aren’t going to look like “it’s a wonderful life, more like National Lampoon’s Vacation.) You might have to say no to some parties. Is it more important to do every single Christmas thing you can think of or to enjoy your time together with your family? Most of the pressure you’re feeling is from yourself and not your family. My kids’ favorite thing to do during the holidays is watch a Christmas movie in front of the fireplace and eat pizza. I spread a giant blanket out on the floor and don’t stress about it. If there’s food everywhere I stick the blanket in the wash and call it today. Best clean up ever.
  2. Find time for yourself. Everyone needs alone time and somehow we sacrifice that  to please everyone and all the while we are miserable.
    1. Take a 30 minute walk/Exercise
    2. Put the grandparents to work and go to Target by yourself
    3. grab a Starbucks and actually drink it while it’s hot.
  3. For those that are experiencing a loss, the best tradition is to start a new one. After the loss of my father the last thing my mom and I wanted to do was sit around and think about how much we missed my dad. We changed things up, we went to other people’s houses, we went to the movies on Christmas night. No one can expect to have all the same traditions and it not cause you a lot of pain. Start new traditions, I promise your memory of the ones you loved will not fade.
  4. Most importantly are you spending time in God’s Word? Somehow in the Christmas season, the season that is the glorious story of Jesus’ birth and all the hope that His birth brought to the world gets lost. Sure you may read advent with your kids at night, but are you spending time in the Word alone, in prayer, and asking for God to use you to bless others, and to take the focus off yourself? Isn’t that what the Gospel is all about, sharing God’s love with everyone?

Sara

                   My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life. John 10:10 (NLT)

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