I remember my first year of college, getting completely overwhelmed fall semester during finals. I had never had so many things to do all at once in my young life.
My dad came to see me and I was lamenting to him about my feelings and the resulting “overload paralysis” I was experiencing! (At least that’s what I’ve come to call it.)
It’s what happens when I’m overloaded with a long, nebulous to-do list in my mind. I just stop. It’s as if the cogs are trying to turn, but there is just too much simultaneous input to handle. Do you know what I’m talking about?
And isn’t that the perfect-storm description of how December can feel? Do you have an abundance of ideas and projects and a vision of all the loveliness you’re going to create…only the baby still isn’t sleeping well and the people at your house still need to eat and wear clean clothes and you need to do dishes etc etc etc?
Well, sitting there in my dorm kitchen, my dad told me to get out a piece of paper and write down the assignments and projects I had left to do and the finals that I still needed to prepare for and then number them in timing and priority.
That suggestion saved my health and sanity that semester and has come in handy many times since. And though I wish I could say I’ve never been paralyzed by that kind of overwhelm since, the memory of that experience has helped!
Another extremely important tactic for times like December, is to take more mini breaks, not less, even if they are five minutes sitting in a lawn chair out next to the dog, soaking up the morning sun, even if you have to wear a coat to do it!
Or a break could be listening to a five minute meditation (remember the Lioness relaxation meditation?) or going into the bathroom to do some deep breathing.
It could be a hot bath after the kids are in bed or an early bedtime for you all! (Because is there really anything online or otherwise that is worth staying up too late, and giving up your sleep and health and sanity? No! And we are responsible for that choice!)
Because, isn’t it true that our children feel and respond to our stress and don’t they often receive the brunt of our exhaustion?
For their sake and ours, we need to
1 take responsibility for ourselves
2 make decisions and prioritized lists
3 make mandatory self-care efforts (eating, sleeping, drinking enough water, etc) so that we can be not only awake, but also loving and kind through the holidays.
If we are to truly celebrate Love Personified coming to the world, it may be better if we aren’t stressed and yelling at people to make the welcome party happen!
Because of Jesus, we know we are loved and valued no matter what. His love and grace are always there (even when we may have lost our cool and perspective for a minute) and with His help, we can get our thinking and emotions back into reality and learn to truly show our love by taking responsibility for our decisions, self-care habits and behavior.
(I’m linking last week’s Lioness podcast below, where my friend Amy and I talk about Christmas and December. See what you think! We hope you find it encouraging.)
My love to you,