The Four Secrets of De-Stressing the Holidays
by Hannah Keeley
If you’re like me you go into the holiday season with every intention of scaling back and slowing down. Then, the countdown is on, the lists get longer by the minute, and you feel that knot in your stomach getting tighter and tighter with every carol that comes on the radio.
But THIS year is going to be different! You know why?
Because I discovered the four secrets of de-stressing and I’m going to share them with you…
Secret #1: Act on your intention.
We hop right into the holidays telling ourselves that we are going to “capture the spirit of the season,” but the problem is this—we don’t take any action to make it that way. A stress-free holiday isn’t just going to happen, you have to make it happen. You do this by taking action! Having the right spirit going into the season is important, but you must accompany the spirit with a plan. Instead of saying you are going to do more things with your family, take action and get that calendar in front of you. Plan out the events that you want to share with your family and don’t let anything stand in your way to make it happen. Instead of saying you are going to scale back on gift-giving, take action by making out your list and making sure it comes in under your budget (yes, I said “under.” Always leave breathing room). Get the right intention, but make sure you add the powerful element of action.
Secret #2: Simplify the excess.
I hear a lot of moms profess that they are going to do less and take it easy this holiday season. I say, “What’s the fun in that?” Excess is just a natural part of the holidays. Instead of pulling back, just learn how to manage it better. I’ll let you in on some hard-earned mom knowledge—leaving empty space in your family life never works. Space is meant to be filled. It will be filled. The trick is this—not to leave it empty, but to fill it with something productive. Empty space will just naturally get filled with something negative, like stress, clutter, anxiety. That’s just the way of life. You have to take a conscious effort to fill it with something productive. Go ahead an make cookies—just use an easier recipe and don’t try to go over-the-top when it comes to decorating. Go ahead and decorate the house—just use homemade crafts and don’t get meticulous in how those lights are hanging. Embrace the excess, but learn how to simplify it to eliminate the stress.
Secret #3: Prioritize your obligations.
Sshh, don’t tell anyone, but no one gives a hoot if you show up at the office party or if you don’t. You call the shots when it comes to holiday obligations. If you think your time would be better invested in staying home and making a gingerbread house, rather than hitting the mall with your friends, then you need to make it happen. Moms get pulled from every direction during the holidays, but the truth is no one can make you do anything. You have to prioritize your obligations. Just because you don’t take part in the church musical does not make you a bad person. You can’t do everything, but you can do the best things. And no one but YOU can decide what those best things are. In other words, learn how to say, “NO!”
Secret #4: Be the blessing.
Studies show over and over that we get more joy and happiness out of giving than getting. And I’m not just talking about all those presents under the Christmas tree. This year, make it a habit to give every single day. There is no better way to zap all that stress out of your life than to be a channel of blessing to everyone that crosses your path. See that mom ahead of you in line at the grocery store? Why don’t you pay for her groceries? See that delivery guy walking toward your front door? Why not give him a cup of hot chocolate for the road? See that person curled up under the bridge? Why not bring him a warm meal and a new coat? Even just a smile and a genuine compliment goes so far to brighten up someone else’s life. I’ve always said that each person is an elevator. You can lift someone up, or pull someone down. Every day, make an effort to lift every person that crosses your path and go out of your way to be a blessing to others. This one little secret can easily make this the best Christmas ever.
Hannah Keeley was once in overwhelmed mom living in a cluttered house, deep in debt, out of shape, and barely hanging on. But one day, after finding herself sobbing uncontrollably into a pile of clean laundry, she realized God has bigger and better plans for her (just like He does for each one of His children). Beginning that day, she began making changes in her life that took her from overwhelmed to overjoyed. Today, she’s helping moms do the same. Hannah, her husband, Blair, and their seven children live in Richmond, Virginia, and are having the time of their lives!
Check out Hannah’s Website Here!