Welcome to our 10 Days of 10 Things series. When it seems that our wallet, time and energy is as stretched as far as it can go, here are 10 things that you can do to avoid going into Overload this Christmas season.
1. Quiet Time. As parents it is vital that we have some time in prayer and in the Word, by ourselves. No children and no spouses, just one on one time with our Father. I find that my day runs so much better and I am able to control my impatience and attitude. I am also so much more peaceful.
During Christmas quiet time seems even more important. We are running back and forth trying to get everything done and we tend to over stretch ourselves. During this time we also tend to put our time with the Lord on the back burner. That is not what we are supposed to be doing. We need to make sure to make prayer and Bible reading a priority in our lives.
I know that I have failed in this area many times but I am coming to find that when I don’t make the effort I am not setting a very good example for my children. It doesn’t show them that I view my relationship with the Lord as important. It makes it look that I see this other stuff as so much more important than Him. And I definitely don’t want that. This is one of the most important relationships I have in my life and by making my “quiet time” a priority in front of my children, they will learn that I not only tell them this truth but that I actually practice what I preach.
2. Mommy-time. Like “quiet time” this is also a good thing to set aside every day. Even if its just a 15 minute time period to let you catch your breath and gather your thoughts. I grab mine whenever I can. It’s not always at the same time everyday either. It’s whenever I am able to set aside just a few minutes of my time just for me. Take a break, and do something fun. Go online and play a game, read a couple pages of a book, listen to a few songs on the radio. Do something that helps you to relax just make sure you set a timer, especially if you like to play games online so you don’t spend way too much time on the computer. But do make sure that it is something that helps you to be calm and relaxed.
3. Don’t Overschedule. During this season of the year there is always something going on: Church events, work parties, family gatherings and not to mention school functions, or in my case; homeschool functions. It is very easy to overstretch yourself because of these events. And if you are like me you feel obligated to go. However, you have to limit yourself or else you will burn out very quickly.
You need to figure out what events you absolutely must attend and schedule those. Then write down the events you would like to attend. Keep in mind that just because you would “like” to attend something doesn’t mean you should, or will attend it. Be realistic about your time. It’s okay to say no to some things. It took me a long time to learn this.
This season is so much nicer when I feel I don’t “have” to go to every party or event that happens. Most of the time your friends and the hosts understand because they also have to limit what they are doing this time of the year as well. When you have scheduled your “must do’s” and “would likes” on your calendar that work without overstressing then you will feel much more relaxed because now you have a game plan. Also make sure to send the hosts of the events you are unable to attend a nice card to tell them that you can not attend their event but you do appreciate them inviting you.
4. Remember what this season is really about. This is a time for families to gather and show God’s love to the world in honor of the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. When we stop to remember the real reason for this season all the other stuff seems to be less important and we start to think of what matters most. When we realize this most of the other things will become easier to do and even to say no to, if necessary.
5. Family Time. This is another must do. Make sure that you set aside some time, at least once a week, to do a family time for your immediate family. Go bowling, play indoor mini golf and/or laser tag, OR stay in and watch a movie or select a board game. It’s times like this that memories are made. Try to make everyone understand that this time is for you to have fun not be competitive with each other. It’s about the time spent together not who wins or loses. Make sure to cheer each other on. It’s all about encouraging each other and spending time together.
6. Play a Game. Like mommy-time, playing a quick game of something can actually help you relax but find a game that is relaxing to you and doesn’t get you frustrated. For me I love word games like Words with Friends, Scrabble, or Bananagrams. However, that may not sound like fun to you. Choose something that you find relaxing. Maybe you’re a solitaire person or would rather play a game on the Wii. Maybe you sports so you would rather shoot baskets, or throw a football is much more to your liking. Anyway, find a game that you enjoy and play it and just RELAX.
7. Go on a date. How many of you get so caught up with the kids and family gatherings that you forget about time with your husband? It’s sad but true. You should set aside at least one night during this season to go out with your husband and enjoy each other’s company. My husband and I always have a good time doing this. We get a time of refreshing, a time to talk, and a time to laugh. My husband and I do lots of different things together when we go out. Sometimes we go to the movies, or out to eat, and even to an arcade or bowling. And then sometimes we just go shopping together. Not for any reason in particular but just to look and browse, something we don’t always get to do with the kids.
Of course if you can’t go out, maybe you can find someone to watch the kids and you and your hubby can have a quiet night in with a movie or game. You can always volunteer to watch your friends kids and let them have a night out in exchange for watching yours.
8. Breathe. Take a moment to stop and breathe. When you feel overwhelmed stop whatever your doing, close your eyes, take a deep breath and then slowly let it out. Remember, why you do what you do. Remember who you are doing it for. Remember no matter what, God is always there right by your side to help you through this time of the year.
9. Find joy in the little things. When your child reaches up and hugs you and says “mommy I love you” revel in the moment. When you see the first snowflakes of the season, enjoy the feeling it gives. When you smell the baked goodies, remember what its all about. When you decorate, remember the joy it brings and the feelings of accomplishment. When your children are playing nicely together enjoy it. Find the peace and love in holding your husbands hand or the look of contentment on his face. Look for the joy in all the little things that come your way. You will find there are more joyful moments during the season than difficult ones.
10. Schedule a light work load. (This one is for the homeschoolers.) During this season there are learning experiences in everything we do. Schedule lite work loads in the book department and focus on English and Math. There are always history and science learning experiences going on through out the season and this is a good time to encourage independent learning in those areas. It’s also a good time to get some of those artistic juices flowing and be creative. You can use those artistic pieces as gifts for extended family and friends, as well as décor for your home. Enjoy Christmas together and find some “Christmas” themed projects to do in your schooling.
Those are some of the tips I’ve learned to use but remember that the ultimate thing to do when you start to feel overwhelmed is to pray. Ask the Lord for help and remember that everything we do should be for His glory.
I hope you have an awesome Christmas season. Keep checking back for more in my 10 Things series.