By prioritizing quiet time with God, you will find the true meaning and value of the holiday season.
Working moms face a unique set of challenges during the holiday season. These challenges can include increased responsibilities, social expectations, and financial pressures. Some of the specific challenges that working moms may face during the holidays include pressure to decorate their homes for the holidays, which can be time-consuming and stressful. Another pressure is sending family holiday cards. Many families send out holiday cards, which can require a significant amount of time and effort to organize and create. They may also feel pressure to find the perfect gifts for their children, family members, and friends, which can be time-consuming and stressful.
The end of the year can also be a busy time at work for a working mom, with year-end goals and projects that need to be completed. You may also put pressure on yourself as a working mom to complete additional tasks like organizing family photos or creating a calendar for the new year.
These challenges can be overwhelming and lead to stress, anxiety, and burnout. You need to take steps to manage your holiday stress and prioritize your well-being during this busy time. According to Ecclesiastes 3:1, "to everything, there is a season and a time for every purpose under heaven." By accepting this truth, we can approach the holiday season with a sense of balance, understanding that certain tasks may need to take priority over others.
Understanding Holiday Stress
Holiday stress is the stress that people experience during the holiday season. It is a type of stress that is unique to this time of year and can be caused by various factors. Working moms, in particular, can experience significant holiday stress due to the increased responsibilities faced during this time. Some of the factors that contribute to holiday stress for working moms include:
Increased responsibilities: As a working mom, you often have to balance your work responsibilities with additional responsibilities related to the holiday season, such as shopping, cooking, and decorating.
Social expectations: There can be a lot of pressure to create the perfect holiday experience for family and friends, which can be stressful for you as a working mom already juggling multiple responsibilities.
Financial pressures: The holiday season can be expensive, and as a working mom, you may feel pressure to buy gifts and participate in other activities that can strain your budget. All these factors can contribute to your holiday stress and eventually hurt your physical and mental health and your relationship with your family members and colleagues.
Therefore, you need to take steps to manage the holiday stress and prioritize your well-being during this busy time.
Practical Steps to Effectively Manage Holiday Stress
As a working mom, you must balance your professional and personal lives and often face high expectations and demands from families, workplaces, and society. Therefore, you must find ways to cope with this stress and enjoy the holidays without feeling overwhelmed.
Here are some actionable tips for effectively managing holiday stress as a working mom:
Set realistic expectations for the holiday season. Sometimes, you might idealize the holidays and expect everything to be perfect. You may even feel pressured to create a memorable and magical experience for your children, to host a flawless and lavish party for relatives and friends, or to buy expensive and impressive gifts for everyone. However, this can lead to disappointment and frustration when things do not go as planned.
So, instead of striving to meet unrealistic standards, it is better to be flexible and accept that things may not always go smoothly. For example, instead of stressing over finding the perfect gift for everyone, you can focus on giving meaningful and thoughtful gifts that fit your budget. Or, instead of trying to attend every social event, you can choose the most important and enjoyable ones.
By setting realistic expectations, you will avoid unnecessary stress and enjoy the holiday season more.
Prioritize self-care and find ways to care for yourself. During the holidays, it is easy for working moms to neglect their own needs and well-being, especially when they have to juggle multiple roles and responsibilities. You may feel guilty or selfish for taking time for yourself or that you must do everything for everyone.
However, self-care is not selfish; it's essential for maintaining health and happiness. Therefore, as a working mom, you should make time for yourself and find ways to relax and recharge. For example, get enough sleep, eat well, exercise regularly, meditate, read a book, listen to music, or do any other activity that brings joy and peace.
You are expected to care for others as you do yourself, not more than yourself. Mark 12:30-31 says, "And the second is like, namely this: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these." By taking care of yourself, you can also care for others better and cope with stress more effectively.
Say no to unnecessary commitments and set healthy boundaries. Another source of stress during the holidays for a working mom is the feeling of obligation and guilt that comes from saying yes to everything and everyone. You may feel that you should please everyone and fulfill everyone's expectations, or you may fear missing out on opportunities and experiences. However, saying yes to everything can mean saying no to yourself and your priorities.
Therefore, learn to say "no" to unnecessary commitments and set healthy boundaries with others. For example, you can decline invitations that are not meaningful or enjoyable or delegate tasks that are not essential or urgent.
You can also communicate your needs and preferences clearly and respectfully and ask for help and support when you need it. By saying no to what is not important, you can say yes to what is and create more space and time for yourself and your loved ones.
Live one day at a time and focus on what is most important. Sometimes, you might get so caught up in the future and the past that you forget to live in the present. You may worry about what will happen next or regret what has happened before. You may also compare yourself to others and feel inadequate or dissatisfied.
However, the present is the only moment you can control and enjoy. Therefore, strive to live one day at a time and focus on what is most important. For example, practice gratitude for what you have rather than worrying about what you lack. Or, savor the moments of joy and connection rather than dwelling on the moments of sadness and conflict.
You can also prioritize your values and goals and align your actions with them. By living one day at a time, you reduce anxiety and increase happiness.
Finally, one of the best ways to manage stress during the holidays is to prioritize quiet time with God. As a working mom, you may feel too busy or tired to spend time with God or feel that you are not worthy or deserving of God's love and grace.
Well, this is not true! Spending time with God can help you connect with your faith and purpose and receive the peace and strength that only God can provide. Therefore, make time for God and find ways to grow closer to Him.
You can achieve this by praying, reading the Bible, worshiping, or joining a fellowship group. You can also listen to God's voice and follow His guidance. By prioritizing quiet time with God, you will find the true meaning and value of the holiday season.
Focus on What Truly Matters
Sometimes, we get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holidays that we forget the real reason why we celebrate them. We may spend more time and money on things that are not essential or meaningful and less time and energy on things that are. We may also compare ourselves to others and feel inadequate or neglected in terms of our needs and well-being. However, these things can only rob us of the joy and peace the holiday season can bring.
Therefore, I encourage you to remember your priorities and focus on what truly matters during the holiday season. Here are some questions to help you do that:
1. What is the purpose of the holiday season for you?
Different people may have different reasons for celebrating the holidays, such as religious beliefs, cultural traditions, family values, or personal preferences. Whatever your reason is, make sure that it aligns with your faith and purpose and brings you joy and fulfillment.
Knowing the purpose of the holiday season for you will help you avoid being distracted by things that are not relevant or important to you.
2. What are the most important things for you during the holiday season?
Once you know the purpose of the holiday season, you can identify the most important things for you during this time. These may include your relationship with God, your family, your friends, your community, your health, your happiness, or your goals.
Whatever they are, make sure that you prioritize them and give them your attention and care. For example, you may want to spend more quality time with your loved ones, or you may want to serve others in need, or you may want to practice gratitude and generosity, or you may want to pursue your passions and dreams.
You can avoid wasting time and energy on things that are not essential or meaningful to you during the holiday season if you know what is most important to you.
3. What are the best ways for you to enjoy the holiday season?
Once you know the most important things for you during the holiday season, you can find the best ways to enjoy this time. These may include activities or experiences that bring you joy and peace and reflect your values and goals.
Whatever they are, make sure that you do them and savor them. For example, you may want to decorate your home, or you may want to cook a special meal, or you may want to exchange gifts, or you may want to watch a movie, or you may want to travel to a new place, or you may want to do something else. By knowing the best ways to enjoy the holiday season, you can avoid doing things you don't find enjoyable or satisfying.
I wish you a happy and blessed holiday season!
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/nicoletaionescu
Emmanuel Abimbola is a creative freelance writer, blogger, and web designer. He is a devout Christian with an uncompromising faith who hails from Ondo State in Nigeria, West Africa. As a lover of kids, Emmanuel runs a small elementary school in Arigidi, Nigeria.