Having mixed feeling about the approaching holidays? You are not alone. Based on an article from Harvard Medical School, Sixty-two percent of respondents to a survey conducted by Heartline, a consumer health information cite, described their stress level as “very or somewhat” elevated during the holidays, while only 10 percent reported no stress during the season.
Anxiety and stress through the holidays can be hard to manage. Financial worries, unrealistic expectations, and social anxieties can take a toll on emotions. Having a lot of people in the house can create stressful situations. Food and fellowships are in abundance and the temptation to temporarily set aside our wellness commitments will be stronger than ever. Not only do we face strong temptation, but it is socially acceptable to overindulge with food and drink during the holidays.
With a few simple strategies we can avoid some of the heartache during the holiday season. It will take intentional focus and preparation to be ready. Fear not! Here’s a plan on how to be prepared for the days ahead.
- Fight for your quiet time. With a house full of guests, you may have to adjust your living space and be flexible with your time. Regardless of who is sleeping on the couch we need to stay connect to the Father during this time for peace. I enjoy the holidays much more if I don’t miss my quiet time. Make plans to get up earlier or take a walk away from the house to pray. I will never forget my first Thanksgiving and Christmas as a believer. The holidays had a whole new meaning for me. The things God may reveal to you during that special time with Him will be worth fighting for.
- Focus on friends and family more than food. There was a time in my life when I daydreamed about the food I would over consume during the holidays. While there is nothing wrong with enjoying the special treats in sensible and proper portions, it is wrong to lust and focus on food! There are so many opportunities to bless others with a kind word, a meal, or the gift of a long conversation. During these coming holiday gatherings seek out a new friend or deepen an existing friendship.
- Pray the Armor of God found in Ephesians Chapter 6, especially the belt of truth. The Bible says in Ephesians 6:14 “Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, …”. The belt of truth will gird up our inner man, the seat of our emotions. Thanksgiving and Christmas can hold many different memories for us and spark different emotions, some good and some not so good. Buckling up with the belt of truth will help us walk in the spirit so we will not fulfill the desires of the flesh. Gal. 5:16. It will also help us set personal boundaries with our time and energy. Wearing a belt buckled snuggle around my wait (instead of my big jeans) will be a literal way of remembering that I don’t want my food choices to be dictated by the way I feel. Instead, I want my choices to be based on what would be best for me and my body.
- Stay in community. We all need a little help from our friends. I have friends who pray for me, cook for me, care for me, and most of all understand me. These are my First Place for Health people. They understand the faithful effort of staying healthy. We have virtual classes open right now for holiday studies. Community can make all the difference. I’m staying connected with my FP4H people. Click here to find a group for you: Virtual Groups
We at First Place for Health hope you enjoy every minute of the holiday season with a heart of thanksgiving. Here it comes, ready or not.
Vicki Heath is a certified fitness instructor for the American Council on Exercise, and a certified life coach. Vicki is author of the books My First Place , Don’t Quit Get Fit and Wellness Journey of a Lifetime . Vicki is passionate about Christ and has a desire to help others understand the value of caring for their bodies as temples of the Holy Spirit.