Here's how to overcome holiday anxiety and stress

“You get gas and I’ll run in for the fruit chews.”

Costco on a Sunday afternoon can be dicey. We only needed one thing – fruit chews, since a kid has apparently been trading them at lunch for a piece of pizza. Why not get gas at the same time? I could Costco-quick-grab and be done by the time they were.

At least that’s what I thought until I raced in and turned the corner. Christmas lights, trees, wreathes and section upon section of well-placed toys filled the up-front aisles normally and formerly filled with snacky items.

Retail-ambush ushers in an assortment of holiday have-to’s that easily overwhelm. The purchases, the décor, the pictures and parties that bring along other issues – like money for must-have’s. And other issues tend to bubble up around the holidays like relationships or circumstances that don’t quite match Norman Rockwell or a well-crafted and captioned Instagram pic.

But of all the year's holidays, Thanksgiving and Christmas are two that at their core center on abundance and life, not overload. There’s no better time than now to get our eyes focused on Truth and grab a little soul-hydration for the Holidays. Because the key to hydration is hitting it before you’re thirsty.

Here are a few soul-hydration tips to practice today, so that when holiday intensity flairs our tanks are already filled. Then we can be free to do what the season celebrates: care for and love others.

Practice Kindness: In every situation, especially those laced with unnecessary rudeness – exemplified as if on cue when a driver laid on their horn at me walking in the parking lot – remember that there’s a person on the other side, a person who is likely dealing with tough situations. So, regardless of what someone dishes out, return a gentle response.

Forget FOMO: FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) invites anxious thoughts to worry us into a race to keep up. Just say no. Kick comparison to the curb. And remember the person walking alongside could use a boost of loved-in since they likely feel left out.

Practice thankfulness TODAY: There’s probably a reason Thanksgiving is before Christmas – to help us focus (with gratitude) on all we already have rather than on what we could, would or should have. Then, when we’re tempted by all the holiday stuff, maybe we will be quick to reach for Truth rather than be duped by do-all, be-all and have-all pressures.

Get Perspective: In the midst of holiday (every day!) mad-dash, recognize that there is sacred in the ordinary. Relish regular so we don’t forget to live today’s day. We might miss something wonderful in the rush for tomorrow.

Practice Joy: Practicing joy that is established in provision (un-ending, exceedingly abundant, ultimate provision - the actual reason for the Christmas season) and that is anchored by faith, experienced through trust, can help us to see above the world’s chaos and quite possibly spot pockets of hope and peace.

Why not grab hold of some soul-hydration today – in the midst of information overload, unfettered discourse, expectations, heartache – so we can sing along tomorrow with honest hearts and true goodwill toward those traveling alongside, and maybe even ourselves.