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If you are involved in leadership or volunteer at your church, the joy of Christmas can be overshadowed by a never-ending “to do” list for stuff at the church. The holidays can heighten anxiety and depression, which can negatively impact your health by lowering your immune system and making you more susceptible to illness.

Add the shopping, cleaning, entertaining, traveling, baking, and a slew of other verbs can weigh down your holiday cheer. But, by altering your mindset and taking steps to minimize stressful scenarios, you’ll feel more present and able to enjoy the beauty and spirit of the season.

1. Your time is more valuable than stuff 

No “thing” is worth more than your time, so think about experiences you can plan with the loved ones on your list. This is especially true for children. Let yourself be silly, because those are the times that your children remember most.

2. Stuff doesn’t equal happiness 

Don’t measure the quality of the holiday season by material gains. Be gracious about the gifts you receive, and don’t make the mistake of equating your net worth with your self-worth.

3. Ignore unpleasant people 

“If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” It goes both ways: if someone says something unpleasant to you, you have every right to tell them to be quiet. Everyone has an opinion, and everyone believes that they are right. No matter what you say, the other person is likely committed to their beliefs. Try to stay positive, express your own opinion, then move on; don’t engage in a confrontation. Pull out a board game and redirect the conversation.

4. Don’t be afraid to say “No” 

Learn to say “no” when you need to, and be brave about saying it, even for church related things. If your child wants a gift that’s inappropriate or if your friend invites you to a party you don’t have time to attend, simply say “no,” and don’t feel guilty about it.

5. Take a time out

Time outs aren’t just for kids. If you need a moment to regroup, get your emotions under control, or just sit with your thoughts, permit yourself a “time out.”

6. Cultivate contentment

It’s easy to compare our lives to others’, but reduce your stress and anxiety by focusing on all that you have, not what you wish you had. This may seem simplistic, but the confidence and self-reassurance you’ll generate will boost your mood.

7. Look for laughter

The joy of the Lord is my strength. Surround yourself with your happier friends and family. A strong social network is important. If you begin to feel stressed or depressed, don’t isolate yourself; find a friendly face and let their merry mood infect you.

8. Tap into your faith

Slow down and remember the reason for the season. As mentioned above, take a time out and pray, pray for others, and let the Holy Spirit speak to you.

9. Show yourself some care

If you are involved in your church, it’s common to be serving others but don’t lose sight of what your body needs during this busy time. Strive to get adequate sleep, make healthy eating choices, exercise to help beat back stress, and surround yourself with a healthy environment by enjoying nature’s seasonal smells, sights, and sounds.

10. Be supportive to your staff

If you’re a pastor or team leader at your church, understand that some of your staff and volunteers may be going through a rough time during the holidays. Be understanding, and reserve your criticism. Everyone can use an extra dose of empathy this year.

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Merry Christmas from the staff at StreamingChurch.tv