Even writing a post about stress during the Christmas season is stressful. Isn’t that ironic? I have wanted to write about stress for days but it has been too stressful.
I have felt overwhelmed and overloaded this week. As I see Dec. 25th looming ahead of me, my head is swimming with lists, lists and more lists. There are 1001 things that I need/want to get done and the more I think about it, the further behind I feel like I am. What can I do to relieve some of the stress before I go crazy? I am making some vows to help improve the situation.
I vow to change the list. Pairing down the list is one of the hardest things for me to do. I strive to make the holiday perfect for my family and in the process put too much on my plate. Do we really need to go caroling in the neighborhood? Do I really need to send Christmas cards to everyone we have ever met? Probably not. I want to take time to recharge my batteries through running, baking and reading. I will add items to my list that give me joy – making cookies with my kids or sipping coffee with John in front of the fire. The first step in reducing the stress this holiday season is to shorten the have to list and lengthen the want to list.
I vow to delegate. There is nothing wrong with assigning tasks to others. I have to repeat that in my head over and over again as I force myself to let go and let someone else do something. I am a perfectionist and often feel as though no one can do anything as good as I will do it. And that may be true but not everything has to be done to exacting standards. Some things just need to be done. So, I am going to look at my list and choose some items that my husband, kids or other family can do instead of me.
I vow to not take responsibility for things that are not mine. Not only do I worry about my list, I also stress out about the items on other people’s lists. Did my husband take care of his white elephant gift for work? Did the room mom take care of the gift card for the teacher? Do I need to check and make sure the cub scout leader got everything bought for the craft? The stress can be crippling when you add everyone else’s list to your own list. I have to learn to trust that people will take care of their own checkpoints and if they don’t, then life will adjust.
I vow to concentrate on what is important. I want to make sure my focus this Christmas season is on the real meaning – the birth of Jesus Christ and the love that he offers the world. I want to take the time to show that love to my family, friends and strangers. To do this, I need quiet time and reflection in the morning and patience throughout the entire day. When I take the time to talk to God in the morning, it takes the focus off of myself and puts it where it belongs. I have been spending far too much of my day worrying about the material aspect of Christmas instead of focusing on the spiritual aspect of Christmas.
This week has found me muttering about how much I dislike Christmas because of all of the pressure. I am vowing to change that by focusing on the beauty of the season and taking the time to marvel in the goodness of it. If I can do this, it will make Christmas much more relaxing and peaceful, a present we all would wish for.