Two weeks ago, I shared some thoughts on the effects of busyness on the heart . When I’m too busy for my own good, everything—and those closest to me—suffers.
A too-busy heart—a too-busy life—has no room in it for connections . . . with Jesus, or with those around us. We respond to people and situations on a surface level, because there’s nothing in us that can dig any deeper.
We’re in the midst of celebrating two of the biggest holidays of the year. I know most of us want to savor, not rush through them. How do we do this?
The following list is a compilation of my ideas interspersed with some friends’.
Managing the busy on a heart level:
- Make time with Jesus a priority. Be intentional about getting to bed early to spend time with Jesus every morning.
- Work time for stillness into your daily schedule. Even if it’s only five minutes, take time to be still. Whether it’s in prayer, or just sitting, with music blanketing you. Eyes closed, maybe (I know, that could lead to a nap . . . )?
- Make time in each day where you are screen-free. Turn screens off. Engage with family or friends. Spend a little time reading from a book, or resting your eyes.
- Choose to be present in each moment. Be intentional about making eye contact with people. Don’t let a mental to-do list dictate where thoughts dwell when talking with other people.
- Susan Kistler encourages us to let go of perfectionism. This can be hard. Think about what’s most important for your Christmas celebration. Focusing on those things will help us let go of the need to have everything perfect. Karla Dome adds, “Even Martha Stewart went to prison once.”
- My friend Lisa Marie suggests: determine what’s important to your family for celebrating Thanksgiving and Christmas, and pick the activities that help you accomplish those things. Hubby and I hope to teach our boys what we’re really celebrating at Thanksgiving and Christmas. We try to choose activities that reaffirm this for them.
Managing the busy at the thought level:
- Author Lisa Jordan and Shirlee Abbott encourage us to keep our expectations in check. We tend to build up the expectations for what we think we can do/should do for the holiday. When we strive to meet all those expectations, we fall short and end up weary and disappointed. We’ll be a lot more at peace if we lower our expectations.
- Author Krista Phillips says don’t sweat the small stuff. “Do what you can, have fun while you’re doing it, but be willing to shrug your shoulders at the things you can’t accomplish.”
- Author Jill Weatherholt recommends enjoying each moment, even the crazy ones. We never know what the next year will bring.
Managing the busy at the schedule level:
- It’s okay to say no to some of the invitations you receive. ‘Nuff said.
- Author Michelle Ule and Shelli Littleton suggest doing as much ahead of time as you can. Whether it’s food prep, writing blogs, or something else, completing it in advance frees up time and mental space during the holidays.
- Author Sondra Kraak suggests being willing to give something up. Know your non-negotiable activities, and be okay with saying No to the negotiable activities . . . if you need to.
- If there is an activity or tradition that’s stressing you out, evaluate if that activity needs to be done this year.
- Diana Zatarain recommends making a list of the things you need to do, and then marking the priorities. Focus on these first, and tackle one thing at a time.
- Author Robin Bayne recommends starting preparations for our holidays early. October’s not too soon (Well, it may be for this year). When we give ourselves enough time to prepare for the season, it alleviates stress.
When we’re intentional in setting our priorities, we can thrive, not just survive the holiday season. Our hearts will be ready to celebrate Jesus, His birth, and the amazing gift He’s given us.
Here’s to having hearts that are ready to embrace the holiday season and those around us!
What about you? What would you add to this list? What is your number one tip for enjoying, not rushing through the holiday season?