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Feuding in-laws. Seasonal depression. Financial woes. COVID-19 fears still lingering. How are we supposed to be fa-la-la-la-la-ing during this Christmas season when we are low on peace and joy?
Rest easy because you are not alone if you have hectic thoughts and overwhelming feelings plagued by potential anxiety, fear and unrest right about now.
Christmastime is not an easy one for a lot of people.
Holiday stress statistics show that nearly almost 69 percent of people are stressed by the feeling of having a “lack of time,” while nearly 70 percent of those surveyed are stressed by feeling the pinch of not having enough money. Another 51 percent of people are stressed out about the “pressure to give or get gifts,” according to the survey.
“The stress and anxiety of the holiday season, especially during November and December (and to a lesser extent, just before Valentine’s Day) can manifest in symptoms managers need to look out for: headaches, sleep disturbances, fatigue, exhaustion, difficulty concentrating, short temper, upset stomach, low job satisfaction and morale, aching muscles (including lower back pain), loss of appetite, changes in behavior while at work and a decline in productivity and work performance,” the article added.
“How to Increase Your Joy and Decrease Your Stress During the Holidays,” says that something more can be done to bring in more peace and less chaos.
“It doesn’t have to be this way,” article author Sandra Pawula, writer and mindfulness teacher said. “You’re not sentenced to a lifetime of holiday despair no matter how long you’ve followed the same stressful routine in previous years. You can turn around holiday stress, little by little.”
The Good Book also says that even through all of these issues, you can find true rest in peace during this season and beyond – even when it seems impossible.
John 14:27 says: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
Luke 2:14 says: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”
Pawula offers a mini-guide to holiday joy, which she says takes about 10 too 15 minutes, to bring more, well, joy into your season this year and beyond with several steps:
What Brings You Holiday Trouble?
From shopping to baking and decorating – it can easily take a toll. Even overeating creates a ripple effect. Yes, grandma’s cookies can wait.
Make a list of several triggers that create your holiday issues.
Then narrow your list down to one or two “actionable items” that you’ll remove this year.
What Brings You Holiday Joy and Lessens Holiday Stress?
What is Christmas joy mean to you this season?
Write out what activities or experiences you want that can be holiday-related, but they don’t have to be, she said. It could be from self-care techniques that nourish you, reduce stress and bring out a shining version of yourself. “When you feel happy and rested, you’ll be a shining light during the merriment instead of a wretched wreck.”
Some examples could be ice skating, volunteering or watching your kids smile. Whatever makes you happier this season and decreases stress – do more of that. Make the list of your top holiday favorite moments and try to do one of those each day until January 1.
Learn to Say “No”
“The holiday offers an abundance of temptations and invitations, usually more than any one person can handle with grace. It’s easy to get pulled into activities or experiences you don’t need or want in your already over-stretched life if you find it difficult to say ‘no,’” Pawula said.
Put Some Joy on It
“The holidays were meant to be a joyful time — an opportunity to reconnect with others, feel more peace and tap into the deeper meaning of each celebration,” Pawula said, adding that with some mindfulness and self-reflection, this season can be a joyful holiday worth remembering well beyond December 25.