By Auntie Em, Contributing Writer: you can read part one: Tips for Avoiding Financial Stress this Christmas, part two Tips for Avoiding Family Tradition Stress This Christmas, and part three Overcoming Overcommitment: Ways to Simplify Christmas.
The holidays are a time for wonderful memories to be made, families to enjoy, new recipes to try, gifts to be bought and wrapped, houses to decorate, crafts to make, programs to produce and perform in, services to attend, parties to host… and that’s in addition to your job, child-rearing, laundry, and other full-time, year-round jobs. They are a set-up for exhaustion! Exhaustion raises your stress level, lowers your immunity, and can make you cranky toward everyone in yelling range. And you know who gets shoved lower and lower on our priority list when we are busy and exhausted, right? Our spouses.
Be honest: You need to know how much sleep, and downtime, you need. Sometimes we think as long as we’re home in time to get to bed at a normal time, we’ll be okay. And maybe you will, but not me. I need a good deal of “down time”– at home, quiet, on the back porch or the couch reading, watching TV, or visiting with my husband– to recharge me from everyday life, much less the increased pressure of the holiday season. Figure out what you need to recharge and how much of it. Schedule it. Know your limits: If I have commitments 2 nights in a row I’m about comatose by noon the 3rd day.
How to Avoid Exhaustion
Know what your emotional drainers are.
Large crowds, noise, (even if it’s fun!) being on my feet a long time, rushing, missing my morning ritual– all these things set me up for stress. They just suck the life right out of me. Identify what stresses you out, and schedule those things sparingly. If the holidays increase the pressure at your job, don’t forget to add that in the balance.
Know what your emotional rebuilders are.
Down time at home is one of mine. So is looking at flowers, watching the old movie “Enchanted April,” and napping. Balance your stressors with your rebuilders. If you are drained by certain people you can’t avoid, be sure you spend time with those who will build you back up.
Every time you say “yes” to something, you say “no” to something else.
And you must also get to and from every event. I had an opportunity to sing in a chorus that I REALLY wanted to be part of, but when you add in the hour and a half of travel time it made it more of a commitment than I’m willing to take on right now.
So as you are planning for the holidays, be realistic. Talk with your spouse before you take on more commitments. Don’t neglect the most important person in your life so you can make another batch of cookies or exchange one more gift just because you don’t want to let your friends down.
This post is part of our Surviving the Holidays With Your Marriage Intact series! Come back all month long for tips, advice, giveaways, and a FREE eBook on the Holidays here at A Biblical Marriage. You can find the rest of the series HERE.