The holidays are always filled with looks of sparkle, joy and gifts. Everyone seems to be happy and cheery, but sometimes, when you look real close…you see the stress.
Most of our stressors this season come from trying to do things above our means: mentally, physically, and financially. We get caught up in the materialistic view of the season and miss the meaning completely. These are our recovery points, so we should have been working on them all year, so deciding to be more conscious of our recovery this season shouldn’t be difficult.
There is a way to keep your stress down while also participating in the holiday season. Here are three tips that go along with today’s December rule.
Shop Small (and SMART)
If financial limitations during the holiday season is one of your stresses, plan accordingly. It is okay to not break your bank on Christmas gifts. IT IS OKAY TO NOT BREAK YOUR BANK ON CHRISTMAS GIFTS! I know this didn’t sound right to you. For years, it didn’t sound right to me either. However, I got tired of the stress of not having money to actually live after buying these gifts, when really I just wanted to enjoy my family and make memories. I started cutting down expenses, not using credit cards for gifts and actually putting more thought into it than money. A well thought out gift with meaning is priceless…and probably won’t have you crying all month.
I love that many people are giving up a few traditions and replacing them with wondrous amounts of giving during the holiday season. One thing I love about donating or volunteering is how humbling it is. We often become immune to our blessings, until we get around those who may not be as fortunate. It really makes you stop complaining about what you think you don’t have. Being grateful for what you do have is a gift in itself, however, seeing the gratitude of those you help is an amazing feeling
Enjoy the moments
Be in the moment. As Christians, we are led to celebrate the life of Christ everyday. Christmas is not a one day a year type event for us, but there’s something magical about this time of year. The decorations, the music, the family time…those are the things we should cherish. Focus on what you do have.
I know sometimes that’s easier said that done. Maybe you’re single and wish you had a spouse. Maybe you’re not a parent and wish you had children. Maybe you have a relative that is incarcerated and holidays are always hard for both sides. Maybe a loved one has passed away and the holidays are extremely hard. A lot of our stresses are not small things at all. It’s never perfect and not always easy, but stressing on things we cannot control does not take away our problems, it just takes away our joy.
And if I’m going to have problems anyway….I definitely want to keep my joy!