Balancing Work, Family, School and Holiday Stress

Holiday StressWith the holiday season upon us and Christmas right around the corner, it’s time to sit back and ponder the true meaning of the season and get a plan in order for dealing with holiday stress and balancing work, family, school and the “most wonderful time of the year.” Holidays should not be stressful, and when we hear people talk about holiday stress and that they cannot wait for the holidays to be over, it makes you wonder what they’re doing that’s so stressful! Think of what we’re celebrating this time of year–this should be a joyous time, not a stressful, dreaded time that you “can’t wait to be over.”

If shopping and sending Christmas cards has become a chore, then you’re not looking at the season for what it really is. Let’s not get caught up in the commercialization of Christmas this year. Let’s pause and remember the true meaning of Christmas and not get bogged down with shopping, spending, indulging and stressing. After all, you will need to be well-rested for the upcoming new semester in January. We don’t want our students to be worn out, stressed out and recuperating from an exhausting month of Christmas celebration. We want our students to be rejuvenated, excited and eager to start a new year, a new semester and a new adventure in Christian education and spirituality.

Here are some tips to help you keep your job, family and school responsibilities in perspective and to help you avoid holiday stress:

Be organized–By keeping your home clean and neat and by following an orderly schedule of work, home and school activities, you can free up time to spend with the kids, on work projects you just couldn’t get to at the office and studying one or two extra chapters to get ahead of the game in an upcoming course. Little things you can do? Pick out your kids’ clothes the night before (and your clothes, too); get your housework finished on the weekend so it’s all done come Monday morning; make sure the kids’ homework is done early so you’re not scrambling in the morning to help them on the way to school; be punctual at work and get your projects finished ahead of time (after all, you are encouraging your children to do the same!)

Minimize Travel Plans–Traveling during the holidays can be stressful, and if family and other loved ones are far away, we understand that you probably can’t avoid traveling during Christmas. If it’s possible, try to keep the family close to home this year because that will allow more quality time together. It’s a bit challenging to bond with family while you’re rushing around packing and catching planes and trains; staying close to home will allow more downtime and more time to relax with loved ones and friends. Maybe you can host a Christmas get-together at your house and provide a safe, comfortable environment for people to celebrate the season.

Allow Yourself Some Down Time–There’s nothing wrong with indulging in a little relaxing “me” time during the holidays when you’re off from both school and work and spending time with family and friends. Treat yourself to a good book, a movie you’ve wanted to see or an adventure outside you’ve been wanting to take like a ski day or a walk in the park with the dogs.

Start a New Tradition–Instead of looking at the holidays as a stressful time, why not look at the holidays as a time to start a new tradition in your family. Maybe you can host Christmas Eve dessert and coffee and make it an annual treat. Or, you can get the kids and entire family involved in a charitable organization, sponsor a needy family or volunteer at a soup kitchen or homeless shelter. This is the perfect time of year to add your name to the list of activities for which you’re able to volunteer once a week or month. With your busy schedule you may feel you just don’t have the time, but wouldn’t spending an hour or two on the weekend with your family helping a less privileged family be a great way to spend your time? Think of one thing that you could scratch off your schedule and replace that with a couple hours of volunteer work. It will do your family and the needy family a world of good.

Be sure to eat healthy, get lots of exercise, go to bed at the same time each night (if possible) and don’t over-indulge in the things you know you’ll regret the next day. Be sure to check out the CAGS Information Session on December 13 from 6-8 p.m. at all CCU locations. Register online today!