Every year, I mean well.
But during the week of Thanksgiving, I have a little talk with myself and remind said self that I am not going to lose perspective and become a Martha during the Advent season.
Said self listens and nods in all the right places then . . . becomes a Martha. And a worse-off Martha than the one depicted in Luke 10.
My mind on overload, I could be in the middle of completing something on my list only to have to rise abruptly and address another item because it came to my mind and, friends, if I don’t act on what comes to my mind at the moment during the holidays, I might never think of it again until it’s too late. I call it “Seasonal ADHD.”
Perhaps you suffer from it, too?
So for those of us who have been diagnosed with Seasonal ADHD, here are ten ways to keep your cool during the holidays (and of course, you know I’ve learned this stuff the hard way, right?):
1. Adjust your expectations. I was such a better mother before I had children. I once envisioned a crackling fire and freshly-bathed children who didn’t fight and listened to the Christmas story I was reading on the couch. We would bake cut-out cookies and take them to the neighbors and have oodles of traditions we would remember for the rest of our lives. The reality is, I’m not sure this scenario has ever happened. Once upon a time, I would get bent-out-of-shape when things weren’t “Norman Rockwellian” enough but you know what? The problem was me. I had set impossibly high expectations that would never be filled because they weren’t based in reality. A special thanks to The Waltons for that one.
2. Enjoy those decorations you work so hard to put-up. I love to decorate for the holidays. This year, the Snapp’s officially became the Griswold’s because everything that could possibly go wrong in our holiday decorating did. After three days of fiascos, we were done. However, it occurred to me that I so often check this task off my list and rarely do I sit down to enjoy the very decorations I worked so hard to display.
3. Check the lights before you put them up. Now you know why it took us three days to decorate. Learn from me, people.
4. Yoohoo . . . Seasonal ADHD Sufferer!!!! Lists, grids, notebooks and spreadsheets are your friends. Use them. When that fleeting thought comes to your mind, write it down so you can continue doing what you’re doing. This will result in stuff actually getting DONE and not half-way done because you got distracted in the middle of what you were doing by something shiny.
5. Look me in the eye. Say. No. I speak from experience, sisters. Yes, there are going to be things you will want to do. However, keep a realistic tab on your schedule and remember you are one woman. Only one woman. I know when I’m starting to get nervous about my commitments because I start to feel a little dizzy and I have the urge to run for my bed. There’s your indicator – you’re overscheduled, and for the good of your family and you, you must decline. Without guilt.
6. Get enough rest. I know, I know . . . this is the standard advice doled out for everything. But there’s a reason why this is so. I don’t know about you but when I’m sleep-deprived AND overscheduled, everyone better take cover. Accept there will be things that will have to be done the next day and go to bed already.
7. Keep your perspective and your gratitude. In your own city or town, there are people who don’t know where they’ll get their next meal. They can’t purchase Christmas presents for their children who believe Santa is coming. And they’ve suffered such hardships that perhaps they’ve lost hope. Suddenly, my lights that don’t work just seems so, well, ridiculously trivial.
8. Vow to choose love no matter what when interacting with family. I know this is difficult at times. However, while we can’t control the words that are spoken over us or the passive aggressive implications that arise, we can control how we react to it. Choose love. Peace. Decide to just let some things go and trust that the Lord is guiding your offender on a journey as well. Give out an abundance of grace. To yourself, too.
9. For crying out loud, have fun! Life is not a “to do.” Enjoy this special time because even if those memories aren’t Rockwellian, they’re being made. I don’t want my children remembering me as the grouch with bags under her eyes when they reflect upon walking through the living nativity when they’re adults. When we model an enjoyment of what God has given us, our children appreciate it all that much more, too.
10. Most importantly, remember what we are celebrating. Though it’s cliche, Jesus IS the reason for the season. I’ve so often been guilty of pushing my time with Him aside when I get too busy because He’ll be there, right? He’s not going anywhere so I can focus on what I need to do then re-connect with Him when it’s all done. But here’s the thing: it’s never all done. Not to mention that when I DO keep my time with Him a priority, I’m so much more focused and way nicer. We wouldn’t prepare for the birthday of someone special but then ignore them for a month before the party and at the party would we? He craves your focus.
Go to Him and let Him have it.
Peace, sisters. Let perfection go.