I’m going to admit something…my m.o…is enjoying so many things that I want to do it all. One of my biggest obstacles during Christmastime is taking too much on and trying to do each thing to too high of a standard. Then what tends to happen is that I work myself into a sense of dread about whatever it is that I have going on or I just run out of time all together.
What about you? What tends to cause your Christmastime stress?
Here are several things I am doing this year to decrease and head-off my Christmastime stress.
When I make plans I have a set idea in my head. An idea that I either got from imagining it or seeing it some where else. Then I want my finished product to be that. But when the picture ideal ends up stressing me out, then it’s time to re-evaluate what I really want to do. This year I am changing how I do things. I am not obeying or going with my intial instinct because it is WRONG! Let’s face it. I tend to be an idealist when I initially make my plans for the kinds of homemade gifts I will give people or the party activities I will plan. So I am evaluating my initial plans and then decreasing them by ⅓ to ½. How does this play out? I co-planned a Christmas party for my Bible study. I was really excited to plan a ornament to make, but my initial idea, though very cute, would have taken too long to prepare for and make. In the end, we made something much easier and faster. I felt so good about it. I also had to bring Christmas cookies to church last Sunday. I had to be gone all day the day before though so I didn’t have a lot of time. My intial instinct was to try to make Peanut Butter Balls, but in the end I decided to make a bar with similar taste but that was much faster to make. It feels so good to accomplish something without feeling stressed because my standard is impossible.
Ask for Help
Asking for help is another area that can make a big difference when it comes to Christmastime stress. There is just so many activities, projects, shopping, and preparing for things that bring a lot of busyness. Often I secretly, I want to prove what I can accomplish or I feel like I need to be the one to do it. Sometimes that is true, but sometimes it just really isn’t. It’s important to take the time to decide what needs to and what does not need to be done by me. I decided that this would, FINALLY, be the year that I put all of my addresses into the computer. That way we could print off our labels instead of hand writing them. But that always takes more time the first year that you do it. I generally handle our Christmas cards by myself, but this time I asked for help. I asked my husband to help by buying the labels and printing them off. It felt so good to share the load with him. Asking for help this year, also meant that I let my girls decorate the tree. I was there nearby. But I let them take the lead. They were proud to do it and then I did the finishing touches.
Christmastime is a time when good things can turn into bad things because we take on too much or have too high of expectations. So this year, I decided to say “no” more. I just had to. With my kids getting older, we have more activities then ever. We couldn’t do it all and still have fun. So when it came to my daughter’s monthly sewing class, we had to say “no.” We had activities planned almost every night that week. Something had to give. Though I knew it would be a disappointment to my daughter, I also knew it was better for our family to all be home a night.
Let Go of What’s Not Mine
Sometimes I take on other people’s stuff because I want things to be a certain way. Christmastime stress can come from that too, for me. I need to change my mindset. Instead of taking on the mindset, that I have to take care of these things, I have to change my mindset that even if it means letting go of my ideal, I need to acknowledge what’s not mine to take on. For example, my tendency is to want to figure out the gifts for my side of the family and my husband’s side of the family. But I don’t need to do that. It takes a lot of stress off of me and gives my husband enjoyment when he takes care of the ideas and shopping for his family. That doesn’t mean I am not here to help if he needs me, but I let him take care of it unless he asks.
One of the things that can also contribute to Christmastime stress is letting my thoughts be consumed with unfinished tasks and planning when I should be doing other tasks. Then what happens is that I feel stress planning for things I can’t do anything about in the moment and stressed because I am missing out on the fun in the present moment because I am thinking about something else. This morning I spent time with a couple of friends. Though there were many future tasks to think about, I worked to keep my mind enjoying the present. And I thoroughly enjoyed it and RELAXED.
I know…it may seem crazy that Pinterest is a heading. But it is the best way to say, that in order not to spend hours finding the best gift idea, party favor, or centerpiece, I have to limit my time on Pinterest. When it comes to ideas for various Christmas decorating or giving I use Pinterest a lot. It is perfect for me to save time by getting my ideas there. BUT I can also waste a lot of time on it if I spend an hour or more looking for a single idea because I just haven’t found that perfect one. I have to limit my time and choose from my options, even when I haven’t found the perfect one. I’ve shared my stressors and thoughts with you.