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Surviving the Christmas Fatigue-by Heidi McLaughlin

Posted: December 11, 2022

It’s not always the big stuff that can push us over the Christmas edge; sometimes it’s an accumulation of multiple little things that cause fatigue. For example: Saturday I was going to start my Christmas baking of cookies and my never fail butter tarts. But I didn’t check my flour supply and forgot about the corn syrup for the filling. So in the middle of a big mess, with no makeup and without brushing my hair, I’m driving down snowy, slippery roads to my closest store; Wal-Mart. But they were out of corn syrup. So were two other stores.  By the time I navigated all the parking, ran up and down a zillion aisles, stood in line to pay for one item, I’m struggling to keep smiling. Not to mention cancelled events, (for which I prepared) and wall-to-wall people in the mall.

Each year I am determined to have a wonderful Christmas season, but a store is out of our favourite items, people get sick, there are cancellations and disappointments. No wonder we get frustrated. We try to cram one year’s celebrations of dinner parties, gift giving and getting together with friends within about 22 days. And each year I have to re-check my motives, my energy, money and time. Aside from regular and daily frustrations, there are 3 things that help me survive the ugly Christmas fatigue.

  1. Have an exit plan. I discovered this beautiful gem whilst going through my PTSD after my husband Jack’s death. Friends offered to take me along to a house party and because of their kindness I was graciously accepted. After half an hour I had to get out of there, the anxiety was overwhelming, I felt trapped and I was stuck. It’s taught me to think ahead and have a plan if I need an escape.
  2. No is not an ugly word. If Covid has taught me one thing it’s that I need to treasure my alone time with God and nurture my creativity. So I have to say NO to those things that I know will over time deplete me. The Bible tells us to: “…above all else guard your heart for it is the wellspring of life” (Proverbs 4:23). Nobody but you and I can guard our hearts to prevent fatigue that can turn to anger and resentment. We need to learn how to use that word.
  3. Move on. Things don’t turn out the way we planned. We run out of flour, important plans change, we misplace our phone, we get sick, tree lights get tangled and on and on. Some days life gets really nasty but we can’t do a “do over.” Shake it off and do the next thing.

We put so much pressure on ourselves during this season and it has nothing to do with Christ. Christ was born in a simple, dirty stable in a manger. How did our Christmas story get so warped? Which of the top 3 items do you need to incorporate into your Christmas season? I would love to hear from you.

Posted in: anger, Anticipation, anxiety, Christmas fatigue, Christmas joy, disappointments, Exit plans, Expectations, Freedom from Busyness, frustrations, Move on, relationships, Resentment, rest, Say no, Simple, Solitude, take care of your heart

2 responses to “Surviving the Christmas Fatigue-by Heidi McLaughlin”

  1. Donna Elliott says:

    Very timely reminder! Family conflict, health concerns, expectations (I should…I should….I should) Appreciate the wisdom behind the “ No is a complete sentence” and I don’t have to give an explanation why I am making the “No” statement as long as my tone of voice and my facial expression/posture are not abrasive. Thank you so much for doing this “wonderful heart connection, Heidi!!!

  2. JANET BAYMAN says:

    Dear friend Heidi, I love your timely advice re: “moving on.” I am grieving for my brother who appears to be stuck in the Korean war. After all these years he has been diagnosed with PTSD, which is taking a huge toll on him and his marriage. He is getting help now and we are praying that he will be able to “move on” to health and happiness.

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