Thursday, December 15, 2011

5 Ways to Fight the Weariness of the Holiday Season

My husband will tell you that I've been a grouch the past week.  I know.  Actually, it's been more like a month.  The holidays are one of my favorite times of the year, and yet this year I've felt consumed, much like I did when I was a PhD student cranking out paper after paper, studying for exam after exam, at the end of the semester.  The level of stress and anxiety has taken its toll; the joy of the Christmas season has been knocked violently out of me.  I could point my finger at commercialism (Black Friday, Cyber Monday, daily newspaper ads and emails offering "The BEST Christmas gift deals") or the number of parties and social gatherings this time of year brings (translation: more cooking, more gifts to buy, more work).

But, alas, the blame can only be placed on me.  I have allowed myself to become a victim, succumbing to Satan's lies, instead of trusting God to guide my days, to prioritize my daily agenda, and to help me persevere.  Thankfully, I have come to a realization that the weariness I have been experiencing does not have to consume me.  Here are 5 ways to fight the weariness of this holiday season.  My hope is that this list will encourage and uplift you too.

(1) Start each day with the Author and Perfecter of Life.  If you can, set your alarm for fifteen minutes earlier, but even if you only have five short minutes before the kids are up, shut yourself in your room and pray.  Commit your day to the Lord and ask Him to guide you in all the day's endeavors.  Find a good devotional book or just open your Bible to find inspiration from the Lord.  (I am always drawn to the beauty and simplicity of the Psalms.)  When we commit our days to the Lord, we find strength to persevere even during the busy holiday season.
"Commit your way to the Lord, 
Trust also in him, and He will do it."

Psalm 37:5
 (2) Limit Your Daily Priorities.  A large part of my stress lately has been my horrific, page-long list of daily "priorities."  With all those things to do tugging at me, I've neglected my real priorities: my husband and children.  As you plan your day--whether the night before or morning of--pick out five or six things that HAVE to be done and stick to accomplishing just those.  Of course there will be other little things you'll have to do throughout your day, but don't be overwhelmed by them.  If you see the filthiness of your floors but that item isn't on your daily "to-do" list, make a mental note to add it to tomorrow's.

Here's today's list:

  1. Finish blog post and publish.
  2. Clean the bathroom.
  3. Make salsa for party tonight.
  4. Finish laundry from yesterday.
  5. Prep for and fix supper.
(3) Stop & Give Special Attention to Each Member of Your Family.  I have been a negligent and unhappy Mommy lately, passing my husband and kids, plopping a little kiss on their heads, and running on to finish my "to-do" list with a huff. As a result, I've had some cranky, clingy kids and a husband who's tried to stay low on the radar to avoid my wrath.  No wonder!  I haven't sat down and spent real time with my girls, and they've noticed.

Stop.  Look your precious children in the eyes.  Kiss and hug them.  Talk to them.  Read books together.  Share activities together (even if it means using a store-bought gingerbread kit instead of making gingerbread and icing from scratch--my original intention).  Focus on the blessings God has placed in your care and under your protection.  These times are so fleeting!  Trust me: the floors will ALWAYS be dirty, and there will ALWAYS be another present you should buy.

(4) Count Your Blessings.  Give God praise for His great love and mercy, and be grateful for all those blessings--large and small--in your life.  The world constantly tells us we need more stuff, that our kids have to have the latest and greatest toys.  But do "things" show them how much we love them?

"I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus..."
I Corinthians 1:4

Let the people in your lives know they are special to you. Thank your Mom for watching the kids so you could do some Christmas shopping ALONE.  Thank your Husband for limiting your Christmas spending.  Thank your kids for being respectful or generous to others. Show your gratitude, and tell the special people in your lives that you're praying for them.  When we're weary, we have only to count our blessings to see how much God has done for us.  His Mercy Endures FOREVER!

 (5) Persevere, Persevere, Persevere!!  You know the saying, "When the going gets tough, the tough get going"?  Well, the holidays are a TOUGH time for many of us: the stress, the weariness, the sleep-deprivation, it all weighs us down.  But only if we let it!  Instead of giving in, shift your priorities.  Put family first.  Excuse yourself from some of those Christmas parties.  Dial down on the gifts.  Buy prepackaged cookie dough and decorate Christmas cookies with the kids.  Fight the weariness in your life with the Lord's help.

"Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary."
Galatians 6:9

While they should be fun-filled times, the holidays often leave many--including myself--depressed, gloomy, grumpy, and weary.  That attitude affects everyone in our lives, especially our kids and husbands.  Don't succumb to Satan's lies: he wants you to lose hope.  Commit your days to the Lord.  Limit your daily "priorities."  Give undivided attention to your husband and children.  Count your many blessings, and persevere!  Get the joy back into your life this holiday season by fighting the weariness and keeping first things first!

Praying God's richest blessings on you this holiday season and that yours will be one of peace, joy, and love!  Merry Christmas!



1 comment:

  1. What a great post and something we all need to be reminded of. Thank you for sharing and for linking up with us. :)