5 Tips for Coping with Holiday Grief and Stress

Already the Hallmark Channel is playing it’s marathon of Christmas movies. They are nostalgic, sweet stories. It’s an easy escape and some of the plot lines are a little cliche but after a difficult work day it can really help me decompress.

While there are certainly characters with problems during the holiday season, Christmas is presented in a positive, peaceful, magical light. However, I was reminded recently that this season is often times difficult for some families. I’ll be the first to admit it can be an overwhelming, stressful time for me between work, children, family functions, social functions, financial strain and gift planning. It can be a reminder of a person you loved and lost, a death or bring out conflict in some families. So how do you manage grief and stress during the holidays? Here are a few tips to help you along.

1. Slow down: prioritize your social functions, take time to breath and remind yourself of what it’s about. It’s about God sending his Son to the world and reconciling our relationship, it’s about peace, it’s about time with your loved ones.
2. Set your limits financially : make a budget, say no to functions if there are too many on your schedule, don’t over-extend yourself financially.
3. Find supporters that you can talk about your feelings with; friends, spouse, a counselor.
4. Give yourself permission to have feelings, both the ups and the downs.
5. Create reminders of the hope that is in you around the house, such as a nativity scene, and advent calendar, symbols that mean peace to you.

These are just a few tips on managing holiday related stress and grief.

What helps you manage stress and grief during the holiday season? Leave a comment below and join the conversations!

6 Steps to Practicing Self Care

girl homeworkMediumHere lately the practice of self care has been on my mind and a focus for me. It’s been especially important recently with a newborn, a 5 year old, a career, and a husband in school. My life is pretty crazy and I can easily get frazzled and worn out if I let it.

To be honest there are days where I struggle to balance my own needs with the needs of others in my life, especially when it involves my kids and my clients. Self care is talked about frequently between myself and my colleagues, and there are even whole professional workshops on it!  The following are things that I do to helps me to practice self care and I hope it will give you some encouragement to take care of yourself as well.

1. Journal.

I was struggling to find time to journal so I downloaded a free journaling app on m iPad which helps me since I’m usually using my iPad anyway (especially when nursing my daughter). Journaling helps me to process my day, what I’m feeling, and areas I struggle with. I use “My Wonderful Days lite.”

2. Read a day to day devotional.

I love in depth, deep devotionals I can dive into, but I don’t always have the time to spend on them so I use a day to day devotional for times where I’m needing to spend prayer/devotional time but I don’t have a lot of time by myself.

3. Ask for help when I need it.

This one is especially difficult for me because I’m an independent person and I’m so used to helping others and doing things myself. But I find that delegating and knowing my limits help ease the pressure.

4. Seek out social interaction.

Social media is great and there are many ways to connect with people via Facebook, twitter, google+ or the social media platform of your choice. However, they cannot replace face to face interaction with people in real life. This can be through church, professional associations, or just calling up a friend to chat and meet for lunch.

5. Set realistic goals for yourself.

When I get overwhelmed I tend to want everything done right now! (Like, I need to clean my house!). but I find when I break it down into smaller steps (My goal today is to finish the dishes) I feel much more accomplished and can focus on one thing at a time.

6. Take time to sit down and unwind, even if it’s only 5 minutes.

I find after a long day of seeing clients, or even days I’m home with my children that taking time to wind down by sitting in my favorite chair, drinking a glass of water or herbal tea (my favorite is tranquil dreams from Teavana) it helps me to sleep better and get re-focused.

These are just a few ways I practice self care in my life. If you have your own tips, please join the conversation and leave a comment below. Let’s support each other on our journey of self care.

32 That evening after sunset the people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed. 33 The whole town gathered at the door, 34 and Jesus healed many who had various diseases. He also drove out many demons, but he would not let the demons speak because they knew who he was.

35 Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.