Erin E. McEndree
5 Ways to Manage Stressmas
Updated: Dec 7, 2018
Many would say that December is the busiest time of the year. With the added parties, gifts, decorations, visitors, food, schedules, outfits and finances, the most wonderful time of the year can often turn into the most stressful month.
When I ask people what their stressors are, they immediately make a list. Some of the answers are job, family, toddler, spouse, boss, responsibilities, aging parents, struggling kids, finances, and so many more.
However, when I ask how they manage their stress, they get a blank look and stumble for words. And therein lies the problem!
Identifying the stress is not a problem. Everyone can tell you what aggravates and frustrates them; just look on your social media posts. I find that removing the stress or reducing it IS the problem and I know why. First, people don't make an intentional plan to react differently. Second, people focus on the stress instead of the solution.
It is rare to find a person who has a plan for managing their stress before it occurs. Most just try and go with the flow and deal with it as it hits them. I want you to live better than that!
1. Decide before hand how you will respond. You know there will be some last minute gift or food that requires an emergency because someone did not plan well. Get some extra gifts just for that. Freeze some cookies or even a cake. Solution: prepare to have something ON HAND so no extra trips to the store are needed.
2. You know that Aunt LuLu will let you know how your life is taking a wrong turn. You know Cousin Harry will gripe about drive and want to go home 7:30 after arriving at 7:05. So, decide how to gently respond with grace and encouragement before you see them.
3. It may be too late for this one, but don't overspend. Keep to a budget! Be creative. Make things yourself.
4. Don't make your list so long it is impossible to finish. Eliminate non-essentials. If you are addressing Christmas cards at 3am because it is the only time you can find to sit, either delegate it to one of your teens who is playing a game all day, or make it a family affair. It is a great way, whatever the task, to spend quality time together.
5. Repeat after me, "I am not Super Woman!" Release the urge to have it all, be it all, do it all and still be functioning. Sometimes less is actually more. And, (here's a secret) no one knows you didn't do 'that' or make 'that' anyway, but they will see your short temper, your death stares and your less than jolly attitude. Present your best by purging extras that stress you out.
You have time to prepare for the most busy time of the year. Relax, have a warm drink and make a list of stressors (easy) and how you will respond (harder). Don't focus on what causes you stress. Focus on the lights, the family, the food and the Real Reason for the Season. It might be a great time to rekindle your relationship with Jesus. He can take all your burdens away if you are willing to just hand them over.