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  • Writer's pictureKristy Barkley

Sanity Through Christmas

From January to November, you wear so many hats. Spouse, parent, child, friend, chauffeur, ATM, business owner, event planner, chef and keeper of the calendar are just a few that you may wear on the regular.

But in December, it’s as if your hat collection explodes, am I right? Now you are a personal shopper, over-spender on a budget, charitable giver, dressed up party goer, home decorator, wish list manager, gift giver extraordinaire, and family photo coordinator; all while making sure everyone in your family shows up on time, in the appropriate clothing and with a good attitude, to ALL OF THE THINGS!

It is no wonder you find yourself asking each morning and night, “What Gives?” You were barely getting everything done in November, how in the world are you supposed to do it all, plus a million other things, with a smile and charitable spirit in December?

First things first, allow yourself to recognize that you are not alone, everyone around you feels like they can’t keep up either. So let’s give what we all would love to have more of…grace and patience.

That car that cut you off this morning? They may be running to drop off the teacher gifts that their kid forgot to grab, knowing that they will now be late for the house showing appointment.

That man that glared at you in the Kroger self checkout line? He is probably freaking out because he sees bags of gifts come into his house everyday and has no clue how all of this extra spending will be covered.

That lady staring at her phone and not paying attention to the line moving forward at TJ Maxx? She may be stressing out about finding the perfect gift for her in-laws, knowing that she also has to hang out with the same in-laws and listen to their judgment about everything she and the kids do wrong, and trying to escape on Instagram.

I could go on and on with hundreds of examples, but my hope with these few is that you slow down during the chaos of December and look around. Most people are behaving poorly, because they are just as stressed and exhausted as you. Let’s give others and ourselves some grace and patience over the next few weeks.

Tips to help you feel a little more in control during the holidays:

  1. It is okay to say you can’t make it, can’t help out, or can’t show up. Remember, “No.” is a complete sentence. “Thank you for the opportunity, but I can’t at this time.” is a polite complete sentence.

  2. Take a breath and practice gratitude, especially when you feel things getting crazy. Deep breath in, deep breath out, think of something you are grateful for. Do this ten times. Next, with the same deep breaths, thank your higher power for the gift of that breath. Never forget, each breath you take, is another gift and opportunity to go forward in this world.

  3. Release the idea of perfection. Very few things will meet your expectations this season, especially others behavior. You cannot control the humans, even the ones you gave birth too, and especially not the ones who gave birth to you. Will your kids get too loud and cause your in-laws to roll their eyes and shake their heads? My guess is, yes. Unless your kids spend all of their time staring at their devices and making no noise at all. And then guess what? They will still roll their eyes and shake their heads. Acknowledging that you will be judged for having kids that are too loud or too unengaged, allows you to recognize that you will be judged either way. Let their opinions roll off your back.

  4. Control the controllables. Taking care of yourself during this time is more critical than ever. Do your workouts, take your vitamins, eat healthy when you aren’t at the parties, get your steps in and don’t forget to sleep.

  5. Remember that at the end of the day, December is about celebrating the birth of Christ, if you are a believer, putting him at the center of all you do is critical.

“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself.” - Luke 10:27

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