9 Habits to Handling Holiday Stress

Marvae EikanasStress

Oh to be a child again! Children anticipate the holidays with great enthusiasm! The months leading up to Christmas made for some squirrely times with my oldest son. His excitement leaked out – he could barely contain himself!

There is no doubt that the holidays are full of meaning. Time with treasured friends and family as well as so much to be grateful for!

The holidays can also be a very stressful time. There are extra obligations that must fit into an already full life. If you have experienced loss, you feel it more deeply at this time of year. There is the pressure of wanting things to be perfect both at home and within your children’s ministry. Teachers and helpers may be unavailable as they travel so you find yourself scrambling to cover their slots. If you are not prepared, the holiday season can take a toll on you!

How can you approach this season with a grateful heart and honest cheer?

1. Connect with God.

It can be easy during the holidays to skip your time with God. If you trust Him to order your day, you will take the time to engage with Him. Lay your concerns, worries, and cares at His feet. Let Him show you how to approach the challenges you face. Ask Him to show you what’s most important today.

2. Be Thankful

Rather than getting frustrated because a teacher will be out of town, be thankful that they are willing to teach most of the time. Your heart is revealed in these tough moments. Genuine appreciation is easy to discern. Trust that God is still in control and that He will work out the details

3. Stick to your Priorities

What do you want this holiday season to be like? What is most important to you? Once you know those things, it is easy to determine what to devote your time to. It also makes it easier to resist those things that don’t fit into those priorities.  In order to stick to your priorities it may necessitate you saying “no” to opportunities that are good, but too much for this season.

4. Be Present

Unless you are intentional, the holidays will fly by in a blur. Be intentional about being present in this season. Really savoring the moments! That means no multitasking! No hurrying. And it may mean you need to adjust your expectations.

5. Get Creative

They say that “necessity is the mother of invention.” How can you get more creative as you address the various challenges that pop up?

When you are short on help it is the ideal time to get creative and think outside of the box. Who have you overlooked that might make an excellent teacher or helper? Is there someone who taught in the past that might be willing to fill in for one class? Can you combine classes for one Sunday? Would your youth leaders be willing to make teaching a class a project for one Sunday? Trust that God has a creative solution and resist the temptation to get resentful towards those who will be gone.

6. Simplify

The tendency is to add things to make the holiday season extra special. What if you eliminated things leaving time for what’s most important at home and in your ministry? Being able to invest more time into fewer areas will not only lesson the stress, but make you more effective, and your experience more positive.

7. Delegate

The holidays are the perfect time to enlist the help of others and to delegate. What can you delegate? Who can you delegate to?

8. Refresh

When life gets stressful the first thing to go are often the things that refresh you the most. Things like your quiet time, exercise, eating healthy, spending time with people you love, reading in the tub, enjoying a massage – whatever it is that refreshes you. These things will help combat stress so fight to keep them in your life! If these things are already lacking in your life than you are probably already experiencing more stress than necessary!

9. Check the Climate of your Culture

The culture in your ministry starts with you. Your heart and attitude are will trickle down and spread. Be determined to promote a stress free culture brimming with appreciation, teamwork, and positive affirmation. That kind of culture will pay back handsomely in stressful times!

The holidays are a particularly full season. Without frequently evaluating how sustainable what you are doing is during the holidays and all year around, the potential exists to experience more stress than necessary. Who needs that? You are much more effective when you are operating from a relaxed and creative place. Then you can face any time of year, including the holidays, with child-like enthusiasm!

How will you lesson the stress in your life and ministry?