How I'm Cutting Down the Stress This Christmas

I noticed, yesterday, that I have been going through the past week or two without appreciating the good things about this season. I lost the spark; the joy.

This makes sense, of course. There are a lot of things to do! On top of all of the normal demands of life, we're supposed to find time for holiday cheer? Nobody can stretch that far, right?!

Thankfully, because I've made it a point to be mindful this season, (remember my Christmas Happiness Project?) the stress has not been nearly as bad, and the rush not nearly as rushed, as in years past. But somewhere along the way, I stopped being so mindful, and all the hurry and worry started coming back.

I decided I need to let some things go.

If we don't have time to do everything, we need to be very intentional about what we allow to stay, and what we don't!

I decided I need to STOP working at some point during the day. This requires me to work very productively, of course, to complete everything necessary for the day. And it also requires that I have a clear and correct understanding of what is actually necessary. Suddenly I had some time to relax in the evening. It took a little mental work, but having that clear knowledge that I had already done exactly what I needed to do helped.

I decided I need to NOT buy some people gifts. I thought about giving cute little inexpensive gifts to all of Riley's preschool classmates. I thought about giving gifts to all the neighbors. I've thought about giving gifts to a LOT of people! Would it be nice to give all of these gifts? Sure! But it's absolutely not necessary. If giving these gifts caused more joy to me than stress, I think it would be worth it. But since it really wasn't, I nixed them. Suddenly holiday gifting didn't feel as daunting.

I decided I need to SKIP the activities that aren't holiday related (or necessary). What I mean here is that I'm essentially trading in normal, extraneous activities that we might do as a family for activities that can only be done this time of year! If it will still be around in January, I'm skipping it in favor of something Christmas-y. Why? Because there's only so much time, and so much holiday season, and I don't want to miss it! There's no point in holiday spirit or holiday joy if you don't let yourself experience any of it!

I decided I need to move a little slower. That's a scary thing to say, for someone who always feels rushed. But in my efforts to *pause* and *notice* what is happening around me, I noticed many things that are on my mind aren't actually pressing, and aren't actually helpful. Sometimes this is as simple as putting down my phone for only 2 minutes, so I can watch my daughters dancing to Christmas music and finish my coffee before it gets cold. Or skipping that third load of laundry that I can just as easily do tomorrow.

My mind has been so strongly noticing these past few days how much of life we miss when we're too busy trying to live it. It's crazy, isn't it - that if you never do anything, you never truly live. Yet, if you never stop doing things, life passes you by.

Which of these statements is the most true in your life right at this moment?

If you want more ideas on how to combat holiday stress, I wrote 5 helpful ways to do that in another blog post. Just click here!

Have you found any tricks that help you enjoy the good things of this season more? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section! Please share with us!