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posted: 11/21/2012 12:41 PM

Take some steps to reduce stress this season

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By Annettee Budzban

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God."

-- Philippians 4:16 (NIV)

Does preparing for the holidays have you tied up in knots?

As the holiday stress mounts, let's look at ways to be blessed rather than stressed.

I learned a long time ago as a nurse manager that in order to manage my stress I needed to make a list.

Defining and refining our priorities could help us determine what our priorities really are. I know making a list takes time, but it can save time in the long run.

If you don't know where to start, just jot down a few things that come quickly to mind. God instructs us to be good stewards of our time. Listing everything from the tree decorating to baking projects, signing and mailing cards, parties and church festivities could help us see all the activities we are involved in.

Experts advise placing a priority number from one to 10 next to each thing on our list so when time gets tight, we can look at what we might be able to eliminate.

As we look at our list, pondering the important question, "What is the worst thing that could happen if I don't get all of this done?" can help keep things in proper perspective.

When out doing our Christmas shopping, searching for the prime parking spot can eat up precious time as we circle the lot for a prime spot. By the fifth time around we have used up some of our limited time. If feasible for our health, why not park at the back of the lot and get some exercise? We could save a trip to the gym and get some shopping done at the same time.

Next, let's look at how much time we're spending at trimming the tree. At difficult times in my life, I had to use a little ingenuity. I let go of the tradition of a large tree and selected something half the size.

It saved me time on tree decorating, and sitting on my table top with a festive tree skirt, you could hardly notice the difference. I even received many compliments from my friends regarding my ingenuity.

When low on cash or time, we may consider cutting back on some of the cards we send by making a priority list of family and friends. We can hand deliver some cards and dwindle our expense down a bit.

We can pray and ask God to help us decide over our gift list as well. We should give out of heart motivation not just obligation. When anxieties and thoughts threaten to overwhelm us, we should remind ourselves of the Scripture we were given by the apostle Paul: "Be anxious for nothing" and ask God for his help and wisdom in our tasks.

May you find the blessing and enjoyment in all your holiday preparations this Christmas season.

• Annettee Budzban will be speaking to jobseekers from 6:30-7:30 p.m. Monday Nov. 26, at the jobseekers support group at Trinity Lutheran Church, 25519 W. Route 134 in Ingleside. For details, call Trinity Church at (847) 546- 2109. Contact Annettee to speak at your church meeting or community event

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