Have Yourself a “Stress-free” Little Christmas!

wendy mcnealChristmas is coming….ready or not! The Christmas holiday in itself is something that we look forward to all year long. We enjoy our family time, community Christmas activities, parties, and everything associated with the Christmas season. However, with all the “hustle and bustle” of DOING we stop BEING. I have heard Rick Warren say many times that people who are under stress become human doings instead of human beings. This can be translated into ….”OH MY, CHRISTMAS IS HERE AND I AM FEELING STRESSED OUT!” It is no wonder families feel the pressure…the planning, cooking, shopping, multiple family gatherings, paying bills, work schedules..it is enough to cause Santa Claus to be a “hot mess.” Parents try to figure out how to make Christmas special for their children by buying all of the things they want. Consider giving them something they didn’t ask for….peaceful evenings at home with their family during this busy time.

What if we downsized our expectations of the Christmas Holiday? Do we really have to attend all of the functions that we are invited to? Maybe we need to reflect on the greatest gift ever given to us, Jesus Christ. This celebration of our Savior’s birthday was never meant to be so stressful…remember, it really isn’t about us anyway. We need to teach our children what Christmas is really about: Peace, Love, Joy, and Good Will towards everyone.  

Here are some tips on reducing stress during this busy season: 

  1. Plan at least one evening each week of the month of December to stay home with the family. Activities may include watching a Christmas movie, or writing Christmas cards, wrapping gifts. Division of labor can help reduce stress.    
  2. Determine the events that are important for you to attend and eliminate the ones that are not. Saying “no thank you” is huge in reducing stress.
  3. Start new traditions as a family (baking cookies/candy, Christmas caroling, volunteering in the community, attend a candlelight service at a local church).
  4. Get 8-9 hours of sleep.
  5. Develop an exercise regime.
  6. Implement deep breathing exercises each time you are feeling overwhelmed with stress.

By Wendy McNeal

eParisExtra columnist, of Oasis

Wendy McNeal is the owner and therapist of Oasis Counseling & Consulting (Synergy C&C, LLC). Wendy isa Licensed Clinical Social Worker who provides counseling services to individuals, couples, families, and groups using Christian values and principles. She also provides consultation services that include seminars, retreats workshops to clinicians, industry, agencies, and professional organizations. Wendy received her BSW in 2000, and MSW in 2008 from Texas A&M University-Commerce. She is a member of the American Associations of Christian Counselors. Wendy has worked in community mental health for more than a decade. She has clinical experience in child/adolescents, geriatrics, and community based based outreach.








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