December can be a challenging month for church staff. You'd like to enjoy the holiday season, yet your schedule is packed with planning Christmas services and outreaches while trying to prepare your family's holiday celebrations.

Your dedication to serving others is wonderful and greatly appreciated. However, please take time for yourself and your loved ones this Christmas. Here are four tips to help that don't require much time or energy to accomplish:

1. Attend a service — just attend, don’t work

It's easy to get so busy trying to make Christmas happen for everyone else that you forget to really celebrate it yourself. Find a way to attend a Christmas service with your family that you don't have to work.

This should be a time for you to simply sit with them and enjoy the service. If you have a hard time checking out of work mode, then attend another church's Christmas service (it's OK, I won't tell).

2. Relax

Take time off to completely unplug from the office and focus on your family and friends. Even if it's just for a couple of days, don't check your email or take any work-related phone calls. Most requests can wait until you get back.

3. Have fun!

Make a snowman, curl up by the fire with a good book, go to the movies, go on a date with your spouse, meet a friend for coffee, etc. Do whatever activities are fun and refreshing for you.

4. Think and spend time with God

Get completely still with a notebook nearby and think. Ask God for wisdom and direction. Reflect on where you're at in comparison with your goals. What do you want to accomplish and who do you want to become over the next year? What is God leading you toward? Write down your thoughts and plan any needed adjustments.

You have a lot on your plate and the workload certainly doesn’t decrease this time of year. That reality, combined with the fact that your work is rooted in your faith, may make it harder for you to feel OK with taking time to relax.

Remember: The world will get along just fine while you recharge. God can keep the Earth spinning while you take a breather. The work will still be there when you get back, and you'll be better equipped to tackle the new year when you're refreshed.