Holiday Grace Means Reducing Stress
Christmas and New Years are times for that bane of all good people – temptation in the guise of Good. St. Ignatius Loyola is well known for this insight into the primary way good people fall from grace. One of the fool proof temptations is to get people so wound up in getting everything right, that they get it all wrong.
Here are some ideas:
Budget your time, money, and calories. Becoming exhausted, financially stressed, and sending your blood sugar into outer space are all great ways to make you feel down, miserable, and ready for a fight.
Prioritize you activities. Turn off the Christmas machine! It’s a time for celebration. Select activities you and your family really want to do. Get help. Delegate tasks. Indulge in just relaxing, breathing, praying.
Don’t try and solve family issues over the holidays. It can happen, but usually it only happens in greeting cards and holiday movies. Be peaceful and prayerful. Take care of yourself and avoid toxic people and situations. You have a much better chance of being successful in handling difficult relationships during less stressful times and occasions.
Decorations and “house beautiful” have nothing to do with a manger in Bethlehem. You and your loved ones will remember and cherish the warmth and the love that come from imperfect decor, meals, and people. The greatest gift you can give yourself and your loved ones is relaxation. Banish the junk food devil. Holiness is in simple slow food – nothing elaborate – just healthy and good.
Your daily examination of conscience should include rest, wholesome food, plenty of water, and exercise. Remember it’s supposed to be a holiday, not two weeks on a forced march. Make sacred time for yourself – alone with God or at least a good book.
Remember, the truest sign of grace and holiness is laughter. It is a time to have fun. Laughter brings us closer to our family and friends, boosts the immune system, and relieves stress.
Watch out for impulse anything — eating, spending, drinking, or decision making.
If you feel out of sorts, it is time to watch out for the four horseman of the holiday apocalypse: Hunger, Anger, Loneliness, Fatigue. Be peacefully aware of your moods and feelings. You determine how you will respond to people, situations, moods, and feelings. Live in God’s grace and so will the others around you.