Learning For Life, November 2018

Tips for Managing Holiday Stress

Tips for Managing Holiday Stress

The holidays are supposed to be a time of rest and relaxation, a time to reconnect with family and friends, a time to recharge spiritually and emotionally. But so often, we lose sight of the true meaning of the season because we are overwhelmed by it all.

Traveling, cooking, shopping, decorating … these things are impossible to enjoy if they are causing us stress and anxiety. Here are some tips to help you focus on what’s important and catch a little bit of that elusive holiday spirit instead of that holiday letdown.

Don’t over-commit:From family get-togethers to school parties to neighborhood celebrations, you probably have more social obligations that usual. Don’t offer to bake cookies for 40 if you really don’t have time. Do what you can (within your comfort zone) to help others, but it’s also okay to nicely say “no.”

Set a budget and stick to it:Shopping can be extremely exhausting, especially when you’re adding teachers and co-workers to the list. And there’s nothing worse than thinking you’re finished only to keep adding more names to the list. You know your budget. Don’t break the bank just to make everyone happy. Beyond family and close friends, consider simple gifts that aren’t too expensive: a Christmas ornament, home-baked goodies or a special framed photograph.

Practice healthy eating habits:Try not to overindulge on food or alcohol. Treat yourself, of course, but be choosy about what you eat at parties and social events.

Exercise:If you have a fitness plan, it will probably be hard to stick to it during the holidays, but at the very least, take a walk around the block each day to clear your head and get a little fresh air and exercise.

Don’t isolate yourself:For those who have lost loved ones, the holidays often bring up painful memories. Don’t turn down invitations from family and friends — it’s better to be with people when you’re having a difficult time getting through the holidays. And if you don’t have family or friends nearby, volunteer with a church or charitable organization to do something good for others.

August 2018, Publisher's Letter

Knowledge is Power

Publisher Beth Townsend

Knowledge is Power, by Publisher Beth Townsend

People-watching can be an excellent teacher. Recently while working out at the YMCA, I noticed in my peripheral vision a young man preparing for his workout. He racked not one, not two, but three huge weights. Just looking at that bar made me hurt. He wasn’t very big, so I couldn’t help but watch as his activity unfolded.

He walked around the weights, appearing to psych himself up. Once mentally ready, he reached down to lift. No can do. Not going to happen. Leaving them on the floor, he took a longer walk around, turned his music up, danced a bit and tried again. No can do. Another failed attempt. Now I’m hooked, silently rooting for the poor guy but realizing somehow, scientifically, this mathematical equation just does not add up. His third try, after more music and walking, attempting to muster up whatever it was going to take to lift those weights, he fails again. His body language said it all. No more walks. Sagging shoulders. He quietly unpacks the weights, puts them away and leaves. No more pep in his step. He’s defeated, sadly by himself.

Pressure and anxiety are often self-imposed by trying to do too much too quickly. As Christians, patience is necessary in living by faith. While life can be demanding, we must carefully guard against rushing ahead of God’s plan. Pushing towards our potential produces growth. However, we must choose to trust the pace of our circumstances in God’s hands as he grows us into who we can become.

It would be my bet that the guy from the Y struggled the rest of that day. Why didn’t he just reduce the weights and try again? Because he had set his sights too high. The real defeat was present before he racked his weights. Only he couldn’t see it.

As Believers, we must pursue our passion while trusting God with our purpose. Getting ahead of God is much like trying to lift weights that are beyond our strength. It is only in His strength and timing that we can accomplish great things.

Is Knowledge Power? Yes!

That is especially true for those who have invited God into their lives through Christ. We have the spirit of God at work in our lives by way of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, our knowledge is to be based on trust that God is at work in our lives to bring about His will.

That Knowledge is Indeed Power!