Don’t Miss Christmas
She couldn’t sleep. Tossing and turning in her warm bed, the growing list of items on her To Do List gnawed at her:
- Purchase Christmas gifts
- Wrap the presents
- Bake cookies for the neighbors
- Fix the rip in the shepherd’s costume for the nativity at church
- Buy a Christmas tree
- Make something for co-workers
- Choir practice
- Send out Christmas cards with the family photo on them
- Plan the dinner and invite her parents
The list rolled on in her mind. 1:00 am, 2:00 am. Too many expectations, not enough money. She wanted to make Christmas fun and meaningful but how was she going to get all of it done amidst the myriad of daily tasks already needing her attention; the groceries, her job, volunteering at the kid’s school, laundry, ugh. 3:00 in the morning. Where was the Christmas joy?
This woman with every good intention, is at risk for missing Christmas. It is all too human for us to be thinking about the next task, the next phase of life. But this constant looking ahead can cause us to miss the life we have before us, right now. Focusing our attention on the present moment can relieve anxiety about getting things done. Reading this you may be thinking “I can’t do that it! There is too much to do. My mind won’t be still.” But your mind is like a muscle which can be strengthened in the practice of mindfulness and calm.
Here are 5 tips to help you not miss Christmas:
1. Focus your attention to the present moment. Notice your thoughts but don’t give them too much power. We have a constant stream of chatter in our minds. Sometimes it is in the background. Sometimes it is louder. But they are just thoughts and they only have as much power as you give them. Imagine your hectic thoughts floating across the canvas in your mind and then dissipating into the air. “I don’t have enough time.” Float and poof, it’s gone. “I can’t wait until December is over.” Float and poof, it’s gone. Refocus on the now without judgment.
2. Prioritize. Make a list and prioritize it. What is most important to you? One way to gage this is to ask yourself ““What do I want to feel at the end of the season? What memories do I want to have created for myself and others? How can I do that?” Prioritize these activities and let some of the others go.
3. Give up the need for perfectionism. The day after Christmas, is anyone really going to care that you had a Pinterest-perfect Christmas? Do you really want to pick up the expectations of others as a guide for your life? Our need for perfectionism is often driven by an inner voice that wants the approval of others. “What will they think?” Let it go.
4. Clear space in your schedule. A friend of mine who is a marathon runner shared with me how stressful his life became while he was training for his first marathon. Adding the extra hours of running into his already packed schedule was overwhelming. He realized that when he decides to add something into his life, it means something else needs to go. Make room for the Christmas season. What can you let go for a few weeks?
5. Remember the Reason for the Season. A cute saying but it is important. Carve out time to reflect, contemplate and embrace the true joy of Christmas. Let the Christmas music sink into your heart. Spend sometime with God and developing your relationship with his Son. Feel and be inspired in the process.
So, breathe. Focus your attention on the present moment. Prioritize and scale down. Let go of perfectionism. Clear space in your schedule and remember the reason for this magical season and allow yourself to be in the present moment.
Wishing you a very, Merry Christmas!
Stacey B. Thacker is a licensed marriage and family therapist, presenter, writer, educator, lifecoach and consultant who has devoted her career to walking with individuals and families during times of transition and growth. She is co-owner of Roubicek & Thacker Counseling in Fresno, CA. where she supervises associates in the art of psychotherapy. She specializes in sex addiction treatment, relationship betrayal trauma and food addiction recovery.
Stacey has provided From Heartache to Hope and Compassion Fatigue workshops for professionals in the helping fields since 1991. Her book Supporting Others From Heartache to Hope, based on these successful workshops, will be released soon. The Art of Ministering From Heartache to Hope for Latter-day Saints was published in 2018.
She has written the My Food Addiction Recovery Plan workbook and its companion My Transformation Journal. These self-help books are designed to be used by individuals beginning their recovery from food addiction. Additionally, Stacey has written the 13-part Lifestyle Transformation Workbooks designed for therapists and life-coaches working with individuals struggling with compulsive-eating. Stacey’s Author Page
Stacey teaches in the marriage and family therapy graduate program at the University of Phoenix and online for Brigham Young University- Idaho. She and her husband John have been married 41 years, raised 6 children and have 7 adorable grandchildren who fill their lives with love.