Christmas is the busiest time of year for many people – and double that for pastors and their families – with all the holiday parties, events, and church programs to attend. Not to mention the shopping and the pressure to buy the “perfect” gifts.
All of this adds up to a lot of holiday stress which can rob you of the real joy of the Christmas season. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
What are the Causes of Holiday Stress?
There are many causes of holiday stress, including:
- Financial Pressure
- Differing Expectations
I’ll be writing about each of these causes of holiday stress this week, and how to beat them. Today’s focus is on how busyness contributes to holiday stress.
How Busyness Contributes to Holiday Stress
I think one of the biggest reasons why many people experience holiday stress is that they just let the holidays (and life in general) “happen” to them instead of taking the time to plan ahead.
We can eliminate a lot of stress this holiday season by remembering how busy the season can get and by making adjustments to our schedule in order to fit in all the extra holiday activities.
A little proactive planning ahead of time can make a big difference!
How to Beat Holiday Stress & Busyness: Plan Ahead
1. Get it all on your calendar
Take a look at your calendar now, and make sure you add all the Christmas parties, programs, and special events you’ll want to attend.
2. Work ahead
Look at all the holiday and non-holiday to-dos and things you already had scheduled or you know you’ll need to get done anyway, and find a way to get them done ahead of time.
It’s too late for this year…but next year ask yourself what you could get done before Thanksgiving or the first week of December, before things start to get busy.
3. Re-allocate your time
Look for ways you can make trade-offs and re-allocate your time. Are there things you can put off until January so you can make more time for special holiday activities?
4. Remember the real reason for the season
One great way to beat holiday stress is to make time to remember the real reason for the Christmas season. It’s all about Jesus – when God came near.
5. Embrace the moments
Whatever comes your way this holiday season, embrace the experiences. When you’re shopping among the crowds or driving in crowded parking lots, ask God to help you see things – and people – more the way He does.
When you attend Christmas parties, programs and get-togethers, don’t look at them as something you “have” to do, or an item to check off your list, but see them as= great opportunities to connect and share with others.
The bottom line: A little planning ahead, and a renewed sense of perspective, can make a big difference in the fight against holiday stress, and give you greater joy during the Christmas season.
Does busyness create holiday stress for you? What other tips would you recommend to help beat holiday stress?
Be sure to check out my next post in this Holiday Stress series: Three tips for Beating Holiday Financial Pressure.
This article was originally published on December 4, 2012 and updated on December 2, 2018.
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