#11 – Dangers of Christmas – Self-Care

A few years ago the Huffington Post featured an article on the 12 dangers of Christmas.  The article focused on fire safety during the holiday season.  They covered everything from your Christmas tree drying out and catching the drapes on fire to burning down your home while preparing your roast beast.

The article had me thinking, what if there were other dangers during Christmas?  What if, aside from falling off your roof while working on your light display and over roasting your chestnuts, there were hidden dangers during the season of advent that most of us overlook. So I decided to write about the dangers of Christmas we often ignore.

Now, a few years later, I want look at a few more dangers of Christmas we might ignore or be unaware of. So here we go, another 12 Dangers of Christmas.


Lack of Self-Care

Danger #11 comes to us from my friend Steve Austin.

If Christmas is less-than the most wonderful time of the year for you, I get it. Christmastime in Alabama is rarely ever physically cold, but getting together with people who just don’t get you can send a chill down the warmest of veins. If you have trouble surviving Santa, here’s a few things that have helped me brave the cold during the holidays.

  1. Slow down. The hustle and bustle of the season can make you feel like you are the one who was run over by a reindeer. Be intentional with your schedule. Give yourself space to breath. Maybe wake up a few minutes before the rest of your family and take a few quiet moments on the back porch. Or join a gym. Or grab coffee with the kind of friend who doesn’t force conversation. Or meditate. Or go for a walk around the block. However you slow your pace of life, make time to do it now more than ever.
  2. Give yourself permission to say “no.” You don’t have to accept every invitation. You can be honest and just say, “I’ve got too much going on and I’m not going to be able to make it this year.” Most people will understand.
  3. Take off the mask. You don’t have to pretend everything is okay, even around your extended family, even at Christmas. I’m not encouraging you to be overly dramatic, but what I am saying is that you have permission to acknowledge what is going on in your world at the present time and to be honest about it.
  4. Be present. Take a deep breath, and observe your actual physical surroundings. If it’s coffee with a friend, do your very best to stop running through your mental “to-do” list, make eye contact, and listen. Practice some active listening, in order to keep yourself engaged. When they tell you something, repeat what they just said to you in a slightly different way, to let them know you are paying attention.
  5. Walk away. If the adults start talking about religion or politics or football and you can’t stomach another minute, go play with the kids! Hang out with your children or nieces and nephews and listen to their conversations. They are far less concerned with the President-Elect or the “War on Christmas” than any of the adults at Grandma’s house.
  6. Play. Do your best to find a few moments to enjoy the holidays. Don’t be so concerned with perfectionism that you let the holidays pass by and completely miss them. Don’t be so busy meeting obligations that you never make time to look at the Christmas lights, listen to the carolers, or take in a movie.

Bio: Steve Austin is a writer, speaker, and worship pastor. He’s also the author of Self-Care for the Wounded Soul: 21 Days of Messy Grace, which you can get in e-book or paperback at MySelfCareBook.com. Steve lives in Birmingham, Alabama, with his wife and two hilarious kids.