Seven Simple Ways to Relieve Stress During the Christmas Season

woman lying on couch with hands over her face, stressed

Seven Simple Ways to Relieve Stress During the Christmas Season

If you’ve already begun to feel stressed with extra things on your to-do list this Christmas season, I invite you to pause and evaluate what you can do to relieve the stress on your emotional, spiritual, and physical well-being so that you can be fully present and enjoy the month of December.

All the extra things to do that come with the Christmas season - decorating, buying gifts, sending out Christmas cards, attending Christmas parties and programs, cooking special foods, baking yummy treats - in an effort to enjoy the holiday and create special memories and traditions within your family. Extra time, extra energy, extra money - all of these things pulling at your calendar and your purse strings. Life is already busy and now there are extra things to do and extra places to be. When your to-do list is longer than the hours available in a given day or week, it can be overwhelming and create stress, a state of emotional and physical strain that results when you perceive demands placed on you are greater than the resources you have available to meet those demands. Stress can take a toll on your emotional, spiritual, and physical well-being.

Where does the stress come from?

Who’s putting pressure on you to do all of these things?

Sometimes we create our own stress and put pressure on ourselves to do all of the things. If you’ve already begun to feel stressed with extra things on your to-do list this Christmas season, I invite you to pause and evaluate what you can do to relieve the stress on your emotional, spiritual, and physical well-being so that you can be fully present and enjoy the month of December.

It all starts with YOU caring for yourself - emotionally, spiritually, and physically.

Here are seven simple ways to relieve stress during the Christmas season:

1. Brain Dump

Gather a pen, paper, and timer.

Set the timer for 15 minutes.

Write down all of the things in your head that you have to do or want to do during December that are centered around celebrating Christmas.

By writing all of these things on paper, brain-dumping, you have now freed up space in your thoughts and don’t have to expend energy trying to remember what you need or want to do.

2. Decide What’s Important

What is the most important thing to you about Christmas?

When December is over, what do you want to make sure that you did?

Write down what’s important to you emotionally (spending time with certain people, creating family bonding moments, having downtime, making space to journal), spiritually (doing an Advent Bible study, reading Bible passages and gaining new insight into the Christmas story), and physically (eating healthy meals, exercising every week, having self-control with sweets) during this season.

Circle the important things from your brain dump listed in #1.

3. Schedule Your Priorities

Visually you can see the important things that you have circled and the important things that you have written down.

Set aside thirty minutes to schedule these things on your December calendar. 

Take the important things circled in #1 and the important things listed in #2 and allocate time for them on your weekly schedule.

These are your priorities and you have now made space for them. You can have peace knowing that you planned for the things that matter to you.

4. Practice Taking a Sabbath

To do more, you have to do less. I know that sounds counterintuitive.

In order to do the things that are important to you during December, you have to make time for rest so that you can be refreshed and recharged. 

Choosing a day to slow down, quiet the noise, and spend time doing things that nourish you emotionally, spiritually, and physically is life-giving.

If you want more information on why Sabbath is so important and how to incorporate it into your life, Robert Morris’ Take the Day Off is excellent!

5. Laugh Out Loud

You can certainly watch a funny video or read a funny joke, but it’s not necessary.

You can just laugh out loud. So simple!

6. Be Quiet and Still for 15-30 Minutes

Close your eyes if you want... and just BE.

You can take some deep breaths during this time also.

Put your cell phone in another area while you do this exercise.

7. Recite a Bible Verse OUT LOUD

This one requires a little prep work. 

Prepare verses that speak to your current situation.

What do you need to be reminded of regarding your identity in Christ? What are you experiencing or where are you struggling?

If you are struggling with fear or feeling extra busy, search for Bible verses about peace. If you are struggling with despair, search for Bible verses about hope.

It will be helpful to write or type the Bible verse on paper and put copies in places where you can see them throughout the day.

The goal is to fill your mind with God’s Word. 

Speaking God’s Word out loud has so many benefits. In Take the Day Off, Robert Morris states, “When you declare the truth about God out loud, you hear it; and in hearing it, faith and trust rise within you. Your born-again spirit responds. And it’s not only you who hears it. The angels of God and demonic spirits hear your voice as well. The angels snap to attention and demons tremble.”

How do these “Seven Simple Ways to Relieve Stress During the Christmas Season” benefit you emotionally, spiritually, and physically?

Some of the MANY BENEFITS You May Receive:

  • Improved focus and concentration

  • Released endorphins, which are natural stress reducers

  • Boosted immune system

  • Lowered blood pressure (benefited by an enhanced intake of oxygen-rich air)

  • Renewed mind and sense of purpose

According to the American Institute of Stress, “77 percent of people in the United States experience stress that affects their physical health and 73 percent of people experience stress that impacts their emotional health.” Although these are high percentages, and the world we live in does provide daily stress-inducing circumstances and the Christmas season can increase those stress levels, you can be intentional to reduce your stress levels. Because we are all uniquely created in God’s image, each person is unique in the way they handle stress and in what they need to do to de-stress. The first step in de-stressing is to be aware that you are stressed. What physical symptoms do you experience? Does your chest tighten up? Is it harder to breathe? Emotionally, what are you feeling? Is overwhelmed a word that comes to mind? What’s going on in your spiritual life? Are you serving others but have no joy?

I have created a resource, “5 Questions to Ask When Life is Stressful,” that can bring awareness to what works for you to de-stress. 

While you can’t escape this hectic season that arrives at the same time every year, you can be proactive to decide what extra things are important to you and schedule those on your calendar. Eliminating stress in your life during Christmas starts with YOU caring for your emotional, spiritual, and physical wellbeing.

Lord, thank you that I don’t have to be anxious about anything. Thank you that I can come to you and share all the things that need to be done. Gratefully, I can release them all to you and ask for wisdom to know what’s important. Thank you for your promise of peace that passes all human understanding and for guarding my heart and my mind in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

Photo Credit: iStock/Getty Images Plus/fizkes

Renee Bethel, author of Finding Me: A Woman’s Guide to Learning More About Herself is a Christian identity coach and whole body wellness advocate. She helps Chistian women learn more about who God created them to be using a Needs and Values Discovery process and the Enneagram through the lens of the gospel.

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