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Micah 7:7-8 (AMP)
"But as for me, I will look to the Lord and confident in Him I will keep watch; I will wait with hope and expectancy for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me. Rejoice not against me, O my enemy! When I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord shall be a light to me."

Tips to minimize Holiday Stress

Be flexible. Perfectionism has no place in the Holidays. Trying to keep everything perfect will drive you crazy.

Don’t try to control other people. Everybody has their own idea of relaxation. Keep asking yourself, what do I really want/need, and start by taking care of yourself.

Don’t cook to impress. Cook food that your family loves. They might enjoy a healthy pizza from Papa Murphy’s much more than the traditional turkey you spend the whole day preparing. Spare yourself the heartache. Only do it if it is something you enjoy doing and want to do without expecting anything in return, not even compliments.

Shopping can be fun if you keep to the list and the budget. Out of control spending can give you that nagging feeling that something is up. You know if you spend too much it will come back to haunt you, come January. Picture for a minute last years gifts: Those were forgotten so quickly. Christmas is only ONE day, but you will have to live with the consequences for a long time. It’s not worth it!

Be selective about Holiday Parties. Don’t attend events and parties that will tempt you to eat too much or place too much stress on you to look a certain way. Those things are dangerous, especially for someone with an eating disorder. Only go to the ones you want to go to, and where you will feel loved and appreciated for who you are.

Focus on the people you love. Make time to spend with your family and friends and to reflect on how blessed you are to have them in your life. Make and effort to spend time together around the fire, playing board games, building puzzles or just reading. But don’t force anybody into doing it either, this can turn family time into a nightmare. Again, don’t control, just lead and see who follows, you might be surprised…

Stay active on purpose. Think out of the box for the holidays, as you might not be able to get to the gym or your regular sport with everything going on and guests at your house. So get everybody going by putting on some dance music or playing Dance Dance Revolution on the Wii. If there’s some snow, use it to your advantage by going for a walk with snow shoes, or just build a snowman with the kids and have a snowball fight. All of this adds up and is a great stress-buster! If it’s too cold, hit a big indoor mall, but walk and talk, don’t shop and eat!

Make time for God. Savor the season with Him. Sit by a window where you can have a look at His wonderful creation and just talk to Him. Try to get up a little before the rest of the household and give every day to God. Surrendering your days to Him will make you recognizing that you’re not in control and shouldn’t try to control other people, this can make the world of a difference to your Christmas!

Get enough rest. You might tend to not rest enough when you have people over and this is actually the time you need more rest to replenish your energy. So don’t watch too much TV, but rather turn in early with a good book that will help you sleep. Also take some mini breaks during the day where you just put your feet up and close your eyes for a few minutes. Don’t push yourself to keep going and going, it will catch up with you, making you cranky and irritable.

Make little to-do lists for you the night before. Just spend a few minutes to figure out what things are really important and need to be taken care of the next day. Cross things off that you feel you “have to” do, but it’s not really necessary and nobody else even cares about.

Be prepared. Don’t jam pack your schedule, but leave lots of open time in your days for all the unforeseen holiday events such as traffic tie ups, unexpected demands at work and home, visitors you didn’t expect and a sudden change in weather. A busy holiday schedule will not be able to absorb these little surprises, leaving you stressed out and frustrated.

Say NO! This time of year is an excellent opportunity for you to practice saying NO if you are a people pleaser. You don’t have to make everyones favorite meal, you don’t have to go to every party, you don’t have to buy everything on everyone’s list, you don’t have to make everyone happy and you don’t have to even like everybody.

Make time for you. Take a bubble bath in the middle of the day, why not? Buy yourself an early Christmas present by getting your nails or hair done. Be brave, take a book with you to the mall, take a 20 minute break while shopping and just sit in a comfortable chair at your favorite coffee shop and read (hey, I might even do it one day). Ask yourself what you would like to do and do it: Play an instrument, build a puzzle, paint something, catch up on your scrap booking, organize you pictures online, email or phone a friend you haven’t talked to for some time, or just catch up on some sleep.

Curb financial stress: Think about gifts that you can give without breaking the bank. Get out your knitting set in the attic, or give a gift of babysitting, a music lessons, a massage or whatever you’re able to do. Just make sure that this wouldn’t bring more stress, you want to minimize not create stress 🙂

Author: Heleen Woest
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