I could feel the stress rising. Three days ago I was reminded Christmas was just two weeks away.
I had presents to purchase and wrap.
A house to clean for company on December 22.
Groceries to buy.
Goodies to bake.
Work to accomplish at my job.
An event in January to plan.
As I wrote, the list grew fangs and turned into a beast I wanted to run from. I’m guessing I’m not the only one who has felt this way this week. You know, lists are good, but when they get monstrous, they paralyze me.
Deep breaths, Julie. Deep breaths.
And in that very moment, I chose to release the stress. To let it go. After all, we’ve been discussing here how this season is going to be different. This Christmas season we’re not giving into the the temptation to let it overwhelm us. We’re slowing our pace, savoring the special moments, and allowing ourselves to experience the wonder of Christmas.
We aren’t going to miss Christmas this year.
We desire all God has for us, and we aren’t about to let stress take over. Right? But, you know as well as I do that can be easier said than done. We can get caught up in the moment when we realize all that’s left to do on our lists and we have little time to do it. Stress shows up when we find our plate is overflowing, and there’s no end in sight. We’ve been there, we’ve done that, and we fully know stress isn’t healthy for any of us. For me it causes my heart to go wacky, literally. I truly have to be intentional about keeping stress at bay if for no other reason than my health.
How can we be intentional about having less stress this season?
5 Ways To Live With Less Stress This Season
1 – Instead of trying to do more, ask for help and do less.
We aren’t designed to wear capes and be Super Woman or Superman, and we don’t need to do everything ourselves. Asking for help alleviates stress… whether it’s hanging the lights, cutting out sugar cookies, or wrapping presents. It’s much more fun, plus it blesses the other person, too.
2 – When you feel stress rising, breathe.
Do you, like me, sometimes push through the stress? That can often make the stress worse. Next time, stop and take a deep breath. Count 4 seconds while breathing in, hold your breath for 7 seconds, and exhale for 8 seconds. This helps to calm us and to focus on something else… the gift of breathing. That’s a true blessing!
3 – Focus on blessings, not burdens.
What if we considered our to-do lists and our overflowing plates as blessings, not burdens? Instead of thinking they are things we “have” to do, what if we changed our words to “get” to do? Considering each a privilege changes our perspectives, our attitudes, and helps us see the blessings.
4 – Take a break.
Pause and take a break from the routine. Go relax somewhere that brings you joy… at home, at a coffee shop, at a park. Even if it’s just on your lunch break. Change up the scenery and immerse yourself in it’s blessings. Enjoy every moment.
5 – Get moving.
Exercise is not only good for us, but as most of us already know, it helps relieve stress. Mayo Clinic says exercise pumps up our feel-good neurotransmitters, it helps shed daily tensions, boosts our energy and optimism, and actually relaxes us. Even if it’s a brisk walk through the neighborhood, or dancing in the living room, a little exercise helps us go from stressed to blessed.
What should we add to this list? I’d love to read your suggestions.
If you’re feeling a bit stressed today, I invite you to pick one of the above and see what happens. Give yourself permission to have less stress in your life and more joy this season.
Thanks for stopping over today.
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