Are you approaching this season with a longing for a “silent night” where all is calm and bright? Are the sights and sounds of the season overpowering your senses? Are you losing your cool and even your common sense? Have feelings of stress and exhaustion left you scatterbrained, in need of real rest and refreshment? I know these feelings too well!
That is why I am being more intentional this Christmas to create a calmer experience. Amid the chaos of Christmas, it is possible to create a peaceful and meaningful celebration. We can reduce the clutter. We can silence the clamor. We can simplify. How? Start today with these twelve simple steps. Let them bring us back to the basics.
1. Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff. Remember, good enough is good enough. Let go of the pressure of perfectionism.
2. Press the Pause Button. Build intervals of calm into your day. Stop. Sit. Soak up the beauty of a moment. Take time to breathe slowly and stretch to release tension. Enjoy the rest and renewal it brings to your body and mind.
3. Practice Conscious Consuming. Take note of your purchases. Stick to your budget and limit last-minute spending. Be mindful of what your body consumes. Practice intuitive eating to avoid binging on food or alcohol. Be careful of what you feed your mind. Do not succumb to subtle messages that spin a negative narrative to destroy your peace of mind.
4. Create a Calm Environment. Do a quick declutter of your home. Diffuse calming essential oils like Lavender. Make space for stillness and quietness. Turn off the television as background noise. It can be annoying before you even realize it. When your environment is calm you will be calm.
5. Set Boundaries. Learn to say NO. Sometimes rather than chanting, “Ho Ho Ho”, our mantra should be, “No No No.” We can overdo it in so many ways if we don’t set limits. Why do we have to attend every social party? Why do we feel guilty if we don’t give more? We are not inexhaustible. Live in the reality of that fact. Be free from the curse of excessive actions in anything.
6. Disconnect to Connect. Turn off technology and tune in to people. Give others your undivided attention. BE present with them. Cultivate your relationships by spending time with those dear to you. Do enjoyable and nurturing things together.
The same holds true for our relationship with God. Christmas is a perfect time to renew and nurture your connection with the Christ child. Spend time in prayer connecting with Jesus. Reserve time in your day, away from digital distractions, to sit quietly with Him. His presence will draw near when you welcome Him.
7. Practice Gratitude. A thankful heart does not lack anything. It knows the joy of contentment. Gratitude contributes to our peace of mind and frees us from the trap of comparison and striving.
8. Being Over Doing. In a season with so much “doing” it is challenging to focus on “being.” But we are human beings, and we must be present in each moment as our authentic selves. It is in our best interest to reflect on the type of person we wish to become and nurture the character traits that will grow us into the person God created us to be.
9. Enjoy the Wonder of Nature. There is nothing better than fresh air to give a fresh perspective. It detoxes the mind and refreshes the body. Go for a walk. Take time to gaze into the beauty of a starlit night sky. It will lift your spirit.
10. Create an Inspirational Playlist. Listen to songs that inspire and motivate you. Sing along!! Then dance like no one is watching. Music has the power to soothe the soul.
11. Play. Do not take yourself too seriously. Have fun. Embrace your inner child. Engage in a snowball fight, go sliding, play family charades, or have a casual games night. Play initiates laughter and laughter does the heart good like a medicine.
12. Keep Christ in Christmas. Above all other things, celebrate the real reason for this season. I recently read a quote by author, Beth Vice, and it spoke volumes to me. She said, Finding the calm of Christmas is not about having stress-free lives, but recognizing the fact that light has come into our needy world.”
The world is needy, and that is why we find ourselves pushing through the season searching for the “magic.” We want calm. We want connections. We want happiness. However, our search often leaves us empty and disappointed. But there is a remedy for that. Rather than searching for the magic of Christmas let us look to the “miracle” of Christmas. Christ came to give us peace, love, joy, and hope. When we connect with Christ, we can truly keep calm, cool, and connected in ways we never thought possible.