Before all of the preparations for Christmas and celebrating overcome you, let me ask: how will you care for yourself during the holidays?
(I posted a similar blog to this a few years ago, but I figure this is a timeless reminder)
Each year, I strive to walk through the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas with a quiet—rather than frenzied—heart. I struggle with being still and knowing Jesus during what often becomes a chaotic season.
Actions and thoughts that add chaos: We become caught up in making cookies, decorating our homes, buying the perfect gifts, wrapping said gifts, attending Christmas parties, possibly participating in church events, and more.
This season’s unique stress and busyness can leave all of us weary. Sometimes, we feel the pressure to “do” more, more, more. When this becomes the mindset, you can’t care for yourself effectively.
Whether we place expectations on ourselves for what we believe the “perfect Christmas” should look and feel like or we carry the burden of others’ expectations, we may feel pushed to perform in ways that stretch us too thin.
But maybe God wants us to “be.”
Be with Him in His word
Be present in each moment with loved ones
Be willing not to get caught up in our culture’s version of a proper Christmas celebration
Be intentional about doing less and breathing more
Most people their recipe for how to have a more restful, focused-on-Jesus heart during this season.
Arriving at Christmas morning rested and ready to celebrate Jesus rather than weary and worn out begins in two places:
First, we focus our hearts on Jesus.
Second, we direct our thoughts away from all the expectations to understand our priorities and plan how to live by them.
Thoughts to help care for yourself
You begin to care for yourself by establishing your priorities during this season. When you clearly understand what’s most important to you, you’ll walk through a topsy-turvy time with more peace.11 Great Ways to Care for Yourself During the Holidays—We begin to care for ourselves by establishing our priorities during this season #selfcareduringtheholidays Click To Tweet
How do we do this?
Here are eleven ways you can care for yourself during this holiday season.
Take care of your physical body
Get enough sleep and eat healthily. When I’m short on sleep, I’m short-tempered and get stressed out much more quickly. Eating good-for-you foods most of the time strengthens you to do the things you must do during this season.
Take care of your heart
- Spend time with Jesus regularly. He is the best person to refuel us when our tanks run empty.
- Lower expectations. Ask anyone who knows me, and they’ll tell you I hold myself to high standards. When we lower expectations, especially for ourselves, we can ease the stress of our Christmas season and walk with God’s peace.
Care for your thought life
- Let go of some traditions for some years. I love, love sending and receiving Christmas cards. But some years, I arrive in December with no bandwidth for sending cards to our list. Being okay with letting go of something that lessens the pressure we put on ourselves is a win.
- Plan ahead so that in the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas, you can be purposeful in how you get things done.
Acts of self-care
- Give yourself permission to take downtime to refresh your mind, heart, body, and spirit. Whether that means taking a walk, spending an evening looking at Christmas lights, or watching a Christmas movie (Or a non-Christmas movie!), it takes care of some of our internal needs.
- Set boundaries around your time. Do this by prioritizing what’s most important to you. Determine in advance that you will not push those aside because of 1) what others expect of you or 2) what you feel obligated to add on later. Evaluate each additional activity by what’s most important to you (your priority list should help you see this). If it doesn’t meet the criteria, say no. Setting boundaries around your time alleviates anxiety.
- Be purposeful in what you say yes to. Will it refresh you? That may be a good reason for a yes. If not, consider foregoing the event this year.
Take care of relationships
- Plan flexibility into your season. Know that it’s okay to say no to an activity if there are other, family-important things to consider
- Focus on those you love. It’s okay to say no to a work party to create special memories with your children or those close to you.
- Be purposeful in the activities you choose for your family. What will help build relationships, connections, and good memories? Those may be the best activities to choose for your family.
How do you care for yourself during a crazy season? Here’s my recipe in summary:
Set your heart and thoughts on Jesus.
Understand your priorities.
If you’re a planner, create a plan to help you live into your priorities during this season.
Be slow with yeses.
Pray through your plans for each day. Ask God for His priorities for you and how you spend your day.
What about you? How do you care for yourself during the Christmas season? What would you add to one of these lists?