My Plan for Dealing with Stress During the Holidays

With Halloween now out of the way, we run headlong into the busiest time of year, the holiday season. And even though the season culminates in the most beloved of days—Christmas—it often ends up causing more stress than inspiring joy, peace and love in our lives.

Holiday Stress

In fact, I’m often tempted to be my “worst self” because of all of the demands and stressors that come with the territory of this time of year. If you’re like me, you’re busy decorating your home, attending parties, traveling near and far to visit family and/or hosting family gatherings, as well as picking out and wrapping the perfect gifts to give to a variety of friends and relatives.

Shwew! Just writing that sentence wore me out!

With all these stressors, it’s easy to lose sight of the meaning and message behind the holidays. Click To Tweet

Though Thanksgiving (celebrated near the end of November in the U.S.) quite obviously speaks of being thankful, both the message of Thanksgiving and Christmas point us toward the more foundational commitment to love.

After all, Christmas is all about Jesus—who “is Love”—coming to earth as a babe in a manger, so that He could go on to be our Savior through His loving and sacrificial death on the cross for our sins.

“Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” ~John 15:13

  • Yet I can find myself copping a real attitude while cooking Thanksgiving dinner for my family. Or . . .
  • Getting bent out of shape when fighting the crowds on Black Friday, just so I can save ten bucks on a Christmas gift that no one really wants anyway. Or . . .
  • Spending far too much—busting my budget—just so that my friends and family will not think that I’m “El-cheapo!” As opposed to “El-broko,” I suppose?! 😉

I say all this because I really want to do things differently this year, and I believe focusing on Christ’s love will make that difference! If I really focus on loving like Jesus loves, I think I will be less stressed. Now, I’m not doing that simply to avoid getting stressed, but it is a beautiful result of making Christ my primary focus. Don’t you think??

I’d love to have you join me in this effort to love more and stress less. Are you interested?

So this week and every week on up to just before Christmas, I’m going to unpack a new series called, “Love Strong Through Holiday Stress.” I will be focusing on the commands and examples of love spoken about in Scripture, so that you and I can learn to love God and others more consistently and completely when the stress of the holiday season is on.

Each week, I will focus on a different relationship and/or situation where our love can be challenged—making our marriages as well as our lives messier. Next week, I’ll be kicking this series off by exploring how to really love our children at a time of year when a parent’s love can get hijacked by busyness, commercialism, and overindulgence. #messymoms&dads

Also, if you’d really like to sink your teeth into the subject of love more completely, then consider joining my private Facebook Bible study group—“6 Shades of Love.” To find out more details about this timely opportunity, click on my Bible Study page to read all about it.

Avoid getting stressed-out this holiday season by focusing on ... Click To Tweet

 

What does the stress of the holidays tempt you to feel and do?

 

What are you planning to do to prevent becoming too stressed this holiday season?

 

Regarding the “From Messes to Messages” linkup, I am sad to announce that, for the time being, I will not be hosting a linkup. I’ve struggled to keep up with reading the posts of those who join me here each week, as well as feeling as if I need to put the money I spend on the linkup toward other blogging investments. So I’ve decided to step away from that role. But I still hope to visit as many of you as I can who have been my linkup partners, and I hope you’ll keep stopping by here to say “hello” to me too from time to time. For now, my  linkup hat is getting packed up and put away. Thanks so much, my friends! You’re the best!


Here are some lovely linkups I join – Mondays @ Soul SurvivalInspire Me MondayMoments of HopeLiterary Musing MondaysTestimony TuesdayJennifer Dukes LeeWriter WednesdayBreak Through Homeschooling LinkupCoffee for Your HeartSitting Among FriendsFaith and FriendsFresh Market Friday, and DanceWithJesusFriday

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  • Your linkup is one of my favorites and will be missed! But I’m grateful to have met you through it, and I’ll definitely keep visiting, my friend! Your words always inspire. 🙂

    • Aww, thank you, Kelly! You’ve really encouraged me by saying that! And I’m so grateful to have met you too and am looking forward to highlighting your words here at MM very soon! I haven’t had a chance to read over it, but I know it’s going to be incredible!

  • Sarah Geringer

    Beth, you and I are thinking along the same lines. My “Trading Anxiety for Peace” series starts tomorrow. Your “el-cheapo, el-broko” made me laugh! I’ll miss your linkup too, but as long as you’re linking up at the other places, I’ll still see you around the web. Blessings to you, friend!

    • That makes perfect sense that you would focus on peace in an anxiety-ridden season of the year, Sarah. I can’t wait to read about your thoughts on the subject. I’m glad I gave you a laugh, but it’s really not that funny when you’re the one doing those crazy things! If you know what I mean! Yes, I look forward to visiting your place and so many other blogs around the web. I have some incredible bloggy friends that I won’t let go of, even as I let go of the linkup! Thanks for coming by and cheering me on!

  • I will miss your linkup hat, but will still enjoy and be thankful for the other hats you wear here in this wonderful blogging community!

    • Thank you for saying, Michele! I appreciate your encouragement and hope to still see you here, at your place and all over the web, my friend!

  • Mary

    I am so glad you recognized what is best for you and your blog. I will miss your linkup because that is how we really got to know each other. But de-stressing and focusing on love and how to pursue that during the holidays is very important. I will join you here because you are one of my favorite writers. Here’s to going slow and leaning into God as the craziness of the holidays gears up.

    • Yes, Gary and I have this big, beautiful tree in our backyard that split in two during a big summer storm. My desk is right next to the window looking out on that tree. So as I’ve been praying about what God’s will might be for me and the blog, I saw that tree and that’s when it hit me! (Not the tree, that is! Lol!) No, God used that visual to remind me that I needed to chop down certain things in my life, so that i could plant new things. The linkup is one of those things I needed to chop down. I’m fearful of doing this, but trust God is leading me to the best path for me. Thanks for your constant friendship and support, Mary! You are a sweet encourager in my life!

  • Beth, I understand since I was struggling with some of the same things, especially the time factor. I will miss linking up here, but I’ll definitely be back to visit. Thanks for hosting all these many weeks and months! I look forward to your stress free series.

    • Yes, I’m assuming that you are no longer doing your linkup as well, correct? I will miss that, if that’s the case! Your linkup was one of my faves! Thank you for encouraging me, my friend! I appreciate your wise and loving heart for God!

  • Oh, Beth…your link up will be sorely missed. But I know that the Lord is directing your steps and I’m so glad for the time that we’ve had together. There is a season for all things, so we look to the future with expectation! About this post…so you were a fly on my wall last Thanksgiving and the one before that? I’m queen of cop an attitude while preparing Thanksgiving dinner. I wish it wasn’t so, but I truly need deliverance. It’s something that I’m working on, and I do think I’m getting better at it. 🙂

    • Yes, there is a season for all things, Tiffiney! That’s so right! And God is asking me to trust Him on this, though it kind of scares me to let it go!

      And “no”–I didn’t know that about you, but I think it’s a common problem for many wives and women! My mother was the queen of copping an attitude during holiday meal preparations, so I learned from the best! ha! Thanks for your friendship and support, my friend! And I hope to still see you around the web!

  • Beth, you and your linkup have blessed me many times. But I commend you for being true to the Lord and obeying His leading. May the Lord richly bless you and grant you great joy in this new season.

    • I’m so glad to hear that, Debbie! It really encourages me, because I haven’t always felt as if what I’ve offered here matters. Yes, I know that’s an accusation straight from Satan, but I’ve swallowed that lie more times than I’d like to admit. Yes, I really feel as if the Lord is telling me to step away from this particular responsibility. It’s a faith-risk, but I’m going where He leads me! Great to have you here, my friend!

  • We really have to fight the urge to overbook our holiday season, don’t we? We are going to be making our own gifts as a family this year, and I hope that slows us down and connects our hearts to the real reason we celebrate and give generously each Christmas.

    • Yes, it’s such an easy and subtle shift to make, Sarah. We think, “Well, since I’m doing this, I can do this while I’m doing the other, etc., etc., etc.! One thing piles on top of the other and then we are crushed by an avalanche of our own doing! I’m choosing carefully what I will be doing this year, as well as centering my heart on the love of Christ. I hope and believe it will make a difference! Thanks for coming by and joining the conversation!

  • Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    Beth, I’ll join the chorus to say I will miss the linkup, but I’m glad that you have decided to care for yourself. You’re important to us and your health and peace of mind are paramount.

    Regarding holiday stress, the biggest one here is that the kind of holiday barb would like to have is impossible under the circumstances; we really can’t make more than a token gesture to decoration (and no entertaining), and this is hard on her. I do encourage her to accept invitations and attend events (like the church Christmas pageant) whenever possible.

    https://blessed-are-the-pure-of-heart.blogspot.com/2017/10/your-dying-spouse-399-caregiver-you.html

    • Yes, it’s about choosing between better and best, Andrew. This linkup was a good thing, but not the best thing for me in this season. God wants me to make room for those other “best” things, I believe. And I always look forward to seeing you here, so I do hope you keep it up, as much as is possible for you!

      I can see that the holidays would be a tough time for both the terminally ill and the caretaker. Your illness changes everything in your world–in your wife’s world. I do hope that it changes you both for the better ultimately. I see, from your writing, that it seems to have drawn you closer together. That is my prayer for you, my friend!

  • Oh yeah, I love love love this, Beth. We’re singing from the same songbook, girl, our hearts are resonating!

    I just included a link in the post I just wrote that goes there right along with you on this

    http://www.lindastoll.net/2017/11/on-making-excuses-joys-of-cozy-my.html

    Don’t you just love when you find out that you’re writing hand in hand with another kindred spirit?

    ;-}

    • I will be hopping over soon. I’ve got a commitment here in a few minutes, or I would go over directly, because I can’t wait to see how we are syncopated! 😉 But that doesn’t really surprise me. I think we’ve done this a time or two before, haven’t we? What’s the saying … “Great minds …” Yep! That’s you and me! Love ya, girlfriend!

  • bluecottonmemory

    The hardest part of the holiday is asking for help and relying on others to carry the tree (that’s shrink-wrapped not decorated) from the basement. I get a little behind on keeping the kitchen tidy. I’m going to try and get some things out of the way, like making candy and getting the tree up before Thanksgiving so I can slow down and focus on the grace of the season. I absolutely love this time of year – the gatherings, the Christmas lights at night, family – and the the holiness of Christ’s birth in a manger, that he came to save us – The season is such a savoring time of goodness and salvation.

  • Beth, thank you so much for the stress relieving today! And also, thank you for all your past link ups. I have made so many connections and truly appreciate the time and effort you put into hosting! I first met you by clicking here from another link up and I’m so blessed because of it by you and by your blog. Love you, Beth and thank you so much for all you do! Blessings!

  • Susan

    I was wondering why I didn’t get a linkup email from you today, Beth. I don’t allow the holidays to bring me stress. I say no to a lot of things and only say yes to the best things. That’s how I do it! And gift giving? At a minimum.

  • Bev @ Walking Well With God

    Beth,
    Sounds like a great series!! I’m in and kudos to you for realizing that stepping back from the linkup is a way to cut out some of the stress. I know with my work with the Foundation, I never get around to as many blogs as I’d like to read and then go on a little guilt trip. One of my favorite ways to usher in Christmas is to celebrate and focus on Advent and the coming by reading Ann Voskamp’s “The Greatest Gift” and hanging the ornaments on my Jesse tree. My husband saw me do this for two years and now he does it with me. It’s a wonderful way to start our day together through the Advent season.
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

  • pioneerpat1

    I hate this time of year. I try to tune out but it is hard with family and such. My kids and everybody calls Grinch Scrooge. I just want to go about my business but I can’t because everything gets broken up and people start acting crazy.
    One of my major problems is that “Because it is the holidays” people I work with feel that they have to be nice to me. I have made it four-letter clear that if you didn’t say hi to me or whatever in February, May or September don’t say hi or whatever in November and December. Basically, continue about your regular business and leave me alone.
    I try to be a decent human being all year long. I say hi to people at work and generally try to be decent from Jan.1 thru Dec.31, I guess you can say I hate the fakery of the season.
    Thanks for this and I will try to use this.

  • I focus on being thankful and not stressed out by being in God’s Word every day and trying to help other people – not worrying about gifts.

  • I’m all for reducing holiday stress. Thank you for contributing to Literacy Musing Mondays.