There’s anxiety . . . and then there’s holiday anxiety.

On top of quarantine anxiety.

On top of everything else on our plates.

And that perfect storm can quickly turn the most wonderful time of the year into something else entirely. 

Family traditions and feasting and twinkling lights make this season my very favorite. I become a kid again as I repeat the same Christmas carols I grew up singing. “Joy to the world. The Lord has come.”

Yet, even as I claim “peace on the Earth” I struggle to keep peace in my heart as my anxiety grows with each list I make. And then there’s all the hurrying and hiding gifts, the spending, the sick symptoms, and all the things that need my attention. 

And fears creep in.

And second-guessing. 

And planning.

And protecting.

And doing our best to keep our loved ones healthy and safe during this quarantine year.

There are the empty seats. 

And the easily hurt feelings.

The quick reactions when we’re spinning too fast to think straight.

The frustrations.

And forgetting what being patient with each other even means.

The fact is, we know this holiday season will be unlike any other. But we can’t let the chaos consume us. We can’t let differences in opinions split us up.

We must remember to slow down. And know it’s OK to say no to some things. And make changes to plans. And agree to disagree. And still love each other deeply. 

It’s OK to need a break and a shoulder to cry on.

It’s OK to vent and ask for help. 

I’m certain I’m not the only one already feeling some overwhelm as I wonder how the rest of this year might turn out. And I want you to know you aren’t either. 

If you know someone struggling with anxiety already, be extra sensitive with his/her heart this season.

Hug more. Give grace. Listen closely. 

Instead of aiming for perfection this Christmas, let’s come together and choose peace.

Peace in our hearts. Peace in our homes. Peace in our communities. 

Peace on the Earth. Goodwill to men.

To the mom feeling stressed this Christmas . . . I see you. 

Jaclyn Warren

Stay-at-home mommy of four on mission to encourage parents to savor the meaningful in the midst of the messy. Take your 15 minutes; it’s your turn for timeout. You can find her at www.mommys15minutes.com or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Mommys15Minutes-543229312706302/.