Christmas is supposed to be the most wonderful time of year, but it can often feel like the most stressful time of year!
I used to get super stressed out at Christmas time even before having kids! But 5 years ago, I accidentally learned how to reduce Christmas stress.
I was just getting over hypermesis gravaderium with my first pregnancy and I decided I wanted a stress free Christmas that year. So I took intentional steps to reduce my stress and create calm that holiday.
It ended up being my favorite Christmas! You can stay sane this holiday season too by following these three simple tips.
Overcoming Christmas Stress
1. Eliminate the Unnecessary Christmas Stress
There are certain activities and traditions that we always do at Christmas even when they stress us out. Usually, they are expectations we put on ourselves or often we want to make others happy.
But you always have a choice about what you allow in your life and especially at Christmas. You can intentionally decide what you want to be a part of your Christmas season.
So, I suggest that you get out a piece of paper and write out all of the things and situations that cause stress during the holidays.
After you make your list, go through each item and determine wherther or not the item is necessary. Now get ready to do something not many people do —– CROSS IT OFF YOUR LIST!
Yep, I give you permission. You don’t have to do something just because it is tradition. If you are afraid you will let someone down, talk to the person in advance and let them know that you won’t be able to do “such and such” this year.
I know this may be difficult to do, especially if you are a people pleaser, but think about the stress you will avoid by not doing the activity. Each year I create a “not doing list“.
Sometimes we have to get a little uncomfortable and stand up for ourselves and our families in order to reap the long term benefits.
Are there certain people or activities that you need to avoid this Christmas? You can say “no”.
2. Simplify the Necessary.
There were probably things on your Christmas Stress List that are necessary. You can reduce Christmas stress by simplifying those necessary things.
Five years ago, I realized I was trying to do too much each Christmas. All of my doing took the joy out of Christmas. Instead of enjoying the season, I was stressing about gifts and food and decorations and family and activities.
So I intentionally simplified.
- I only put out half of my Christmas decorations that year.
- I made fewer Christmas treats.
- I ordered gifts online.
Maybe decorating for Christmas is relaxing to you and you like to deck all the halls and corners and shelves….then I say go for it.
But if you are like me and decorating the whole house for Christmas only adds to the anxiety, simplify this year. Focus on the big ticket items like the tree, mantel, and front door.
Shopping during the craziness of the holiday season is something I never look forward to. It is stressful to me especially during the holidays. That’s why I simplify by getting the majority of my Christmas gifts online.
I love eating the holiday treats, but spending an entire day in the kitchen making them is not what I call fun. Instead of baking up a ton of treats that we don’t really need anyway, I have everyone pick their favorite treat and that’s all I make.
Look back at your list of Christmas stresses. How can you simplify your necessary activities? For more inspiration, read the Two Things You Need this Christmas Season.
3. Plan Ahead for Stressful Situations.
There are a couple of ways you can plan ahead to reduce holiday stress.
The first is to mentally prepare for stressful situations at Christmas.
Prepare your mind and emotions for what is to come. I don’t know what Christmas means to you or what emotions you associate with it. But I know there are a lot of hurting people this time of year.
Maybe you look back at Christmas with bad memories or have family members that are hard to get along with. Even going shopping with the kids in tow can be stressful. Don’t let those situations take you off guard.
Think through the scenarios and plan how you will respond to people and circumstances that cause stress.
The second way to plan ahead is to get organized with pen and paper.
I’ve used everything from a sheet of notebook paper and pencil, a Word document on my computer, to a printable Christmas planner.
Whatever way you choose to get organized, just do it. Set aside time to think through everything that is going to be happening this Christmas season.
Here’s a list to help you get started:
- Baking and treats
- Activities and Parties
- Christmas Eve and Christmas Day Meals
You can reduce holiday stress by being intentional this Christmas season. I know that if you do these three simple steps, you’ll find more joy this season and stay sane!