The Christmas season is fast approaching, which means a busy time of year for those who work in the local church. Our responsibilities to lead our families and shepherd our flock can put a lot on our plate. If we’re not careful, this time of year—which should be full of joy—can become overwhelming and lead us toward burnout.
With that in mind, here are five strategies to help you keep your sanity during the busy holiday season.
- Find Time to Rest
It’s important that you make time for yourself and find time to rest. This tip might seem counterintuitive when you’re already short on time, but it’s amazing how taking time to slow down can sometimes create a spike in productivity. While you’re at it, make sure you’re finding time for exercise and eating healthy.
- Make a To-Do List
Writing down all the things you need to do can close the open loops in your head. Open loops, also called the Zeigarnik effect, is a state where you remember uncompleted or interrupted tasks better than completed tasks. This can cause feelings of anxiety and stress. Writing tasks down allows you to free up mental space to focus on the task at hand without the fear of forgetting everything you need to do.
- Let Go of Perfection
Whether trying to get your Christmas sermon just right or making sure you have the perfect gift for your family members or significant other, the stress of perfection can add to the holiday blues. Realize that doing your best is what’s important, not perfection. When you let go and create space for God to work, he’ll honor that effort. The endless details are not worth losing sleep over. Take stock of what really matters—spending time with loved ones—and don’t compare yourself to anyone else.
- Establish Boundaries
Often it’s other people’s demands on our time along with unrealistic expectations that cause us Christmastime stress. Don’t be afraid to (gently) remind others of your current commitments and what they can expect from you. Don’t be afraid to let others know that you’re a bit overwhelmed and that you need their help to find peace during the busy season.
- Get Professional Help
If you feel like you’re losing hope, you can’t go on, or any other desperate thought, it might be time to get some professional help. Talk to a counselor or coach who can help you during this time of stress.
Chuck Scoggins is Communications Director for Full Strength Network and a coach to churches across America.