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December Blog: 5 Tips for Handling Holiday Stress

Why is the most beautiful time of the year also the most stressful? The hustle and bustle of the holidays can leave us feeling run down or run over. However, this holiday season, why not make a change? Remember, you can choose how you want to spend your holiday season. 


1. Focus on what matters most 

"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." — Maya Angelou. 

Life is short, and we never know when our last day or holiday will be. We don't know who may not be celebrating with us next year. The people in our lives are more important than gifts, homemade cookies, and traditions. If your partner, friend, or family member needs your attention, but you're supposed to make something for a party, buy something at the store instead. If one more event will leave you feeling too depleted to be present for your most important relationships, skip the event and focus on the relationship. 


2. Understand your limitations 

With the holiday season, there are so many extra things to do. We tend to want to do it all. But you're a human being with limited time and capacity. Instead, set reasonable

goals and expectations by listing 3-5 of the most important things you want to accomplish this holiday season. Perhaps it's making treats for your co-workers, exploring Christmas lights with your kids, or vacationing with family if it is possible to do all those things, but give yourself some grace if you can't accomplish them all. 


3. Be kind. "Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always." — Brad Meltzer 

You don't know what this year held for everyone. The young person who just cut you off in traffic could have gotten the news his brother is terminally ill. The woman rude to you in Starbucks could be going through a divorce. The man walking mindlessly at the store blocking the aisle could have just lost his wife, and he's still trying to make Christmas memorable for his kids. 


Zig Ziglar once said: "If you treat everyone as though they are hurting, you will be treating the majority of people properly." It is always good to be kind. When you refresh others, you will be restored. 


Because of what we do, we can't help but make this note here. The holiday season can also be a challenging time for those who have recently had an abortion or are struggling with a past decision. If you know someone who has, they may be silently grieving. Reach out. Let her know you see her and she is loved. If this is you, we provide free and confidential abortion recovery counseling and support. 


4. Choose gratitude 

When we choose to be grateful, it puts things in perspective and our attitude in check. Instead of focusing on the few things you don't have, start writing down and giving thanks for the things you do have. Suddenly, you will realize you were complaining about the 10% you don't have instead of the 90% you do have. 


Difficulties and disappointments can often rob us of our ability to feel thankful. In moments or seasons of great hardship, gratitude is much more critical. Gratitude allows us to be joyful in the present while looking to a future filled with hope, not misery or dread. 


An unexpected pregnancy can do this to us. It morphs our vision into a singular focus: this wasn't supposed to happen. We can quickly feel overwhelmed, the stress of the holiday season creating a storm of emotions that often don't tell us the truth. 

If you need help navigating such a season or the stress of a pregnancy decision, we've got your back. We offer free services, support, and resources, but we can also help you see the past today and envision the future you want. 


5. Be generous. "No one has ever become poor by giving." — Anne Frank 

Generosity is never a waste. It does something in you that bolsters your mood. The spirit of giving can also have a ripple effect, making positive changes all around you. When you give, do not give out of obligation but out of genuine gratitude and joy. It will always bless you more than you bless others. 

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