3 Ways to Combat Holiday Stress This Season

Take time to slow down and combat holiday stress by intentionally focusing on what’s most important in your family this season.

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DEALING WITH HOLIDAY STRESS

Ah, the holidays.

Thanksgiving meals, presents from Santa, Christmas tree decorating, and the relatives.

Being a mom, I am in charge of all the festivities. Who we see, when we see them, who gets what, and how they get it.

It can be wonderful, and at times, a bit overwhelming. I want the holidays to be time well-spent. Time to rest and enjoy the company of others.

But it easily can become a very stressful time when you have to consider everyone else’s needs or meeting your own expectations of creating a perfect holiday experience.

Let’s face it, someone’s going to get upset, you’ll forget something, and there won’t be enough time to do all the things.

So maybe before we jump headfirst into all the holiday things, let’s take minute to be intentional in how we approach the holidays to make them something we actually enjoy and get to be a part of!

3 WAYS TO COMBAT HOLIDAY STRESSES

1. DON’T TRY TO DO IT ALL

I love to make these grand plans for decorating the house, cooking amazing meals, having fun holiday-themed activities. However, when I try to do everything, I either don’t do it well, or I don’t enjoy it because I’m so tired once it’s all set up.

The thing about the holidays are that they aren’t like planning one party. They are an on-going celebration and you don’t want to pack your schedule so tightly that it becomes something you dread once the day arrives.

For example, I created a fall and winter bucket list for my family. If you think we check off everything on those lists, you’re crazy! I use them as a springboard for ideas that we can do throughout the season. I don’t make a big schedule of it, it’s more of a time filler for when we want to enjoy an activity as a family.

Finding your strengths helps too when it comes to holiday prep. My family knows I love to decorate the house and give it a spooky feel for Halloween, a fall-theme for Thanksgiving and a cozy feeling at Christmastime. While I enjoy baking sweets (mostly for myself!), I dread cooking. So a few years ago, I quit trying to do it all and accepted the fact that I’m good at creating a fun atmosphere, and order in the food for special occasions.

2. PLAN DOWN TIME

Sometimes the best thing to plan into your schedule is down-time. Lazy weekends are so beneficial after a hectic work-week and when you have two weeks of kids at home during the holidays, a few good movie marathons are helpful! Pop some popcorn and tell everyone to lay out a palette of blankets and pillows on the floor.

Or better yet, schedule in a daily “rest time” where everyone has to stay in their rooms for an hour after lunch to have some quiet time to recharge.

3. PICK ACTIVITIES YOU KNOW WILL WORK WELL FOR YOUR FAMILY

If you know that trying to hit up three Christmas events in one day is going to be a bad idea, plan ahead and choose one! You are allowed to choose what’s best for your family, and if you know you will end the day fighting because you felt obligated to do all the things, maybe it’s best to limit your commitments upfront. If it’s easier to invite friends over than going to several friends houses, do that!

Look over years past and write down what worked and what didn’t. Did your kids do better going out to an event or when you bought a few crafts from the dollar store and did them at home with friends? Don’t limit yourself to what you think everyone else is doing. The memories you make with your family are yours to choose. Make it a holiday they want to remember.

And lastly, this goes for taking care of yourself. Do those things that energize you or bring your family closer together, and limit those that cause stress.

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Here is a freebie I created for ideas on implementing self care into your routine year round! Click to print:

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You’ve got this!

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Free 30 Day Gratitude Challenge Printable

Gratitude is a practice. I challenge you, especially in this season of Thanksgiving, to write down 30 things you’re thankful for on this free 30 day gratitude challenge printable calendar!

30 days of gratitude

PRACTICING GRATITUDE

Gratitude is a practice. It doesn’t come naturally to most–it takes discipline. I challenge you, especially in this season of Thanksgiving, to practice gratitude for 30 days with me.

I want to make intentional living tangible and practical in your life and mine. So I’m kicking off the month with this 30 Day Challenge that you can print out and use all month long. I am so excited to get started on this and know that if you join me, you will benefit from it as well!

30 days of gratitude

WRITE DOWN SOMETHING YOU’RE THANKFUL FOR EACH DAY THIS MONTH.

If you get behind, it’s ok to play catch up! But try to keep it in a place where you’ll remember to use it each day:

  • In your office
  • By your bed
  • On your mirror
  • On the fridge

Tomorrow is not the day to practice gratitude, it’s right now. Today. This is your chance to look at life in a more positive light. To see hope where you feel hopeless. To feel encouraged where you feel overwhelmed. Start small: a sunset, a good meal, a quiet moment, a text from a friend.

I went through this myself years ago when I was anxious and angry, but over and over in my self-help books was the practice of gratitude. Through these I learned about the power of changing your mindset from negative to positive. I couldn’t think of anything good to write, but I dedicated myself to starting a gratitude journal and slowly but surely my list began to grow.

Now, a few years later, I’m going through treatment again and I’ve learned gratitude motivates me to push through the hard spots. I am focused and ready to be grateful for the little successes. I hope you are too!

If you’re in the trenches, write that you brushed your teeth today–I know it sounds silly, but acknowledging even small successes has a massive impact on your health and well-being.

No matter how small, just write it down!

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I am thankful for you friend! Here are a few more posts like this:

You’ve got this!

30 days of gratitude

WANT TO LIVE YOUR DAYS WITH MORE INTENTION? SIGN UP HERE TO GET INSTANT ACCESS TO MY FREE PRINTABLES: 

How I Went From Survival Mode to Living Intentionally

In my own personal journey with Lyme Disease, here are the things I learned about moving from survival mode to living intentionally.

Living intentional

DROWNING IN DESPAIR

When hard things hit you in life, they either make you or break you. For a long while I let life break me, until I decided this was not who I was or who I wanted to be. I wasn’t going to be defined by the worst thing that happened to me, I was going to be refined by it. Because what choice did I have? It was happening whether I liked it or not.

In 2018, I decided to pick a word to define the new year ahead of me. I had just been through the worst year of my life, trying to figure out what was happening to my body as I found myself stuck in bed and bound to a wheelchair because of intense pain and debilitating tremors. I couldn’t go to the bathroom on my own, drive for almost a year, take care of my own children, and I was in a constant state of panic and anxiety.

When we finally figured out after two years that late stage Lyme disease had taken over my life, I was depressed and didn’t see how I could ever get better. I felt like a burden to everyone around me and was exhausted from simply living.

At my worst, my symptoms ranged from migrating pains, tingling and numbness, extreme crawling skin, nonstop twitching and tremors, night sweats, body aches, dizziness and weakness, fainting, seizures, nausea and vomiting, hair loss, rashes, blurred vision, brain fog, panic attacks and paranoia. At one point I was taking over 80 pills a day.

Living intentional

FOCUSING ON THE GOOD IN MY HARDSHIP

My life was messy and complicated and I was blind to the goodness that surrounded me on all sides. Family came and lived with us. Friends drove over to cheer me up. Strangers brought us food. We hired a nanny to take care of the kids so my husband could keep his job. Donations for medical expenses poured in. Church leaders prayed with us. Advice was given daily, optimism was overflowing. It was irritating. I was a grump. I cried every day, multiple times a day for months.

A week before Christmas, I finally had relief. My pain was diminished and I was walking on my own. Eventually my seizures were managed and the possibility of driving again was a reality. The twitching remained as did my weight gain and night sweats, but it was all about perspective at this point. I felt like I had just escaped a nightmare. That Christmas was filled with laughter and joy and lots of hugs and kisses. We even let our nanny go and I began staying at home with the kids again.

We celebrated the New Year and I picked my word for 2018–INTENTIONAL.

I was going to make the most of this second chance I’d been given. I didn’t know what the future held, I just hoped that it was Lyme-free.

Living intentional

LEARNING TO LIVE INTENTIONALLY

But when February rolled around, our joy was deflated as my husband started showing his own Lyme symptoms. I had “Lymie” friends going through relapses of their own and friends of friends reached out to me to help diagnose their own health problems. As the stress piled on, I lost my view of being intentional and slipped back into my own relapse. I was devastated. I ended up back in bed from pain and seizures, and asked my parents to fly back out to live with us.

My year of living intentionally stopped before it could even start.

My joy was all circumstantial. It was like I had a toolbox ready to go to help me get through the year but I hadn’t put any tools in it. If things were great, I was happy. If things were miserable, I was mad.

I wanted to succeed, but I didn’t know how. I didn’t know how else to live except for survival mode. My relapse only caused me to slip back into fearful, paranoid living. If I wanted to live intentionally and with any kind of joy, I was going to have to learn how. It wasn’t going to just happen.

CHANGING MY MINDSET TO LIVE INTENTIONAL

My symptoms improved again with time and medication changes, but my life was stagnant. I had been living as if I couldn’t do anything until I got better. Completely stuck in survival mode, I was basically telling myself I was useless as a sick person. What if this was the best it was going to get? What if I didn’t get better? Was I okay with living the rest of my life on pause? Of course not.

So I invested in the self-help section at every bookstore in my area. Reading book after book, highlighter in hand, notebook at my side. I filled out self-exploration journals, flipped through meditation magazines, devoured books on how to find hope during a hardship, and read memoirs of people overcoming their own hardship.

This time I was going to live as if I was already healed, and create daily habits of working on the health of my mind. If I could anticipate what I needed, then maybe I could deal my symptoms and anxiety in a healthier way.

Repeated over and over were habits that people would form to better themselves. Exercise, meditation, journaling, making their bed in the morning, waking up early–all things that I wanted to be doing. But first I needed to start with getting out of bed.

Toolbox for lyme

FILLING MY TOOLBOX

If I was going to be intentional this year, I had to make some plans. Give myself some ways to cope instead of living in survival mode. So I started filling my toolbox. And as I did, I felt my mind become clearer, my body more energized and my life more meaningful. It’s now six months since I last had a tremor and even longer since I’ve taken a trip to the hospital. I am happier than I’ve been in years and more prepared for the future than ever.

When Lyme doctors would tell me to try and lower my stress level, I would laugh. I truly believed it was impossible…unless I sat in a bubble and didn’t have bills to pay or children to take care of, and a body that obeyed my every command. I thought it was about control. Turns out it was about letting go.

I’m no longer obsessing about symptoms that may reappear because I’m living as though I’m excited for tomorrow, not fearful of it.

So I hope that this blog will be a helpful resource for you as I take you through some things I have learned about creating healthy habits and finding joy in the every day. Getting through a hardship is not easy, and you have to let go of perfection, but you can do it. I’ve got my toolbox in hand and I’m ready to fill it. Let’s do this thing!

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We all have been through survival mode at one point or another. I would love to help encourage you in your journey!

The place I started in my own path to intentional living was through Goal Setting. This is the process I used to give meaning to my days and ultimately my life’s purpose! You can download it here:

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You’ve got this!

WANT TO LIVE YOUR DAYS WITH MORE INTENTION? SIGN UP HERE TO GET INSTANT ACCESS TO MY FREE PRINTABLES: