“I just hate this time of year because I’m always so stressed out!”
Have you found yourself saying or just thinking this during the holiday season? I heard it recently from the mother of three kids facing the crowds at the mall and trying to pull off the perfect Christmas for her family.
I started thinking about Christmas and all the hustle and bustle that surrounds this time of year. I love the beautiful lights, the music, the spirit of people and of course, all the extra goodies we seem to get everywhere we go, from handfuls of candy to Secret Santa gifts at the office. It has always been my favorite time of the year.
As a counselor though, I do encounter many people who dread this special season for a host of different reasons. Some are facing their first holiday without a loved one, others have moved far from family and will not make it home, and some with depression or other mental illnesses can feel especially lonely and even forgotten at this time of year.
I thought about all these things and then I told that mother this; “It won’t be long before your kids are all gone off to their lives and you will be wishing for all the chaos you are experiencing right now!”
I think as we look toward Christmas next week, it is important to keep that in mind. No matter how overwhelmed and busy you feel, try to remember there are so many people who would love to have your set of stress for the holidays, because it would mean their kids are still close by, their parents are still alive, or they actually have a good paying job right now. It is so easy to lose sight of these things as the furious countdown to Christmas goes on.
It is interesting that we tend to let ourselves get overly stressed at exactly the time of year we should be most focused on the things that truly matter—family, time together, special gifts, simple things.
My hope for you this season is that you will find a way to enjoy all the activity of this special time of year and see it all not as stress, but as tremendous and enviable blessings we are so fortunate to enjoy.