Welcome aboard, train wreck.
If you’re like me (and you most likely are since you’re here) you just recovered from Thanksgiving. Your house finally looks fairly normal. The dishes are mostly done. And you’ve been able to put lights on your laundry pile and call it festive. You can finally take a breath and relax.
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As the song says, there ain’t no rest for the wicked. You have presents to buy and wrap. Don’t forget the office Secret Santa and your kids’ teachers. Budgeting. Kids’ Christmas parties. Did I mention they get out a whole week before Christmas so now you have to figure out what to do with them? A Christmas cookie exchange? Why not? And dammit, she’s bringing those eggs again! (This is a running joke. If you’re new here, I’m sorry.)
It’s enough to make me turn into the protagonist of a mystery novel. You know the one where the main character lives by themselves in a remote location and only like three people know how to contact them.
OK. Before this train derails permanently and you wind up the topic of a true crime podcast, let’s take a breath. Put the Benadryl and duct tape away. We got this. I’ve got six ways to help your stress not wreck the holidays.
- Set your intention to enjoy the holidays as much as you can. I know. What hippy dippy trippy nonsense is that? But seriously. I set intentions all the time and they work out more than not. If you just take a moment, take a breath and say, “I intend to enjoy this holiday season,” it gets in your brain. It’s no different than waking up and saying, “Thank you,” or making a to do list. This is just another item for your to do list. And it’s super easily cross off-able.
- Savor any moments of well-being when they’re here. This is something my oldest and I do, a lot. We both have anxiety and depression. Something I was taught is to take note of when you feel good. Use your senses. What’s going on? What do you hear/see/smell/feel/taste? Who is around you. What are you doing? Make all these mental notes or keep a journal so you can go back when your blues turn indigo. Revisiting when you’re having a good moment can help pull you out of the rabbit hole. That’s good advise for anytime, not just the holidays.
- Take a break, regain your focus. You can’t do it all. Ima say it again so you can hear me over the washer, dryer, dishwasher, TV, vacuum, and kids’ tablets. YOU CAN’T DO IT ALL YOURSELF! Did you hear me that time? Even the Flylady recommends fifteen minute breaks once an hour. http://www.flylady.net/ I keep getting on the Flylady bandwagon and I keep falling off but maybe it’s for you. Anyway. You’ve worked all day. Whether you’re a stay at, work at home, or work outside the home mom. You have done work. (Listen, there’s a whole blog coming about mom work, give me some time to get it together.) The fact of the matter is, the world we live in was designed to have one person work and one person stay home to take care of the domestic stuff. If you’re single momming it, or two working parents, or more than one jobbing it, then something is going to have to give. If that means having to say no to one more volunteer thing, then do it. Now is a great time to set and keep boundaries. But in the end, take a breath and re-evaluate. What’s working? What’s not? Ask for help. And remember, it’s OK to take a moment, lock the bathroom door, run the shower, and eat the chocolate alone.
- Practice gratitude. I’m a big fan of gratitude. Lately, I’ve been surrounded with first world problems. I had to step back and look at everything and remember what my life looked like five years ago, ten years ago. fifteen years ago. Gratitude for me may be different from gratitude for you. Your gratitude may vary. I tend to rephrase things. Instead of “I have to” I’ve started saying “I get to.” I get to wrap presents. I get to hug my kids. I get to talk to my parents. I get to pay my bills. I get to go to my job. These are all things I haven’t been able to do before. Sometimes, I forget those moments. I’m grateful that I get to remind myself of those times.
- Practice generosity. Psychology time, train wrecks. I’m the kind of creepy person who stares at you while you’re opening your gift. I randomly leave notes on my co-workers’ desk encouraging them or motivating them. I’m that person. I literally have the worst time at any gift giving event. Because about fifteen minutes after buying something, I’m like, “I bought you something. Wanna see it?” Why do I do that? Because gift giving and words of affirmation are part of my love language. I love seeing people happy. And whether it means a pair of slipper socks or a hat I made or a cup of coffee, I want you to know I love, honor, value, and appreciate you.
- Play and have fun. Whether at work or at home or even in the store. Make it fun. Trust me, I know. It can be a little more work to make it fun. But it’s worth it. I made cookies. They did not work out. I could have flipped the pan and my shit. But my T Rex was standing there. We made cookie balls instead. Then I let him decorate them. We’ve been playing Mariahaltion and Whamageddon at work. When I’m in the store, maybe I’m the one singing and dancing to the bad elevator music. The point is, when you’re having fun, you don’t have time to be stressed. And you’re making memories. And maybe you’ll wind up on a TikTok. All magic comes at a price.
- Toss that creepy ass elf out the door. You heard me. That little bugger causes more stress than magic. Yeet him into a canyon. Rocket the canyon into the sun. Then hurl the sun into a black hole. No one needs to add more stress to their lives. If that elf makes you lose sleep, put him in the garbage disposal, drop him in the cat box, send him to your ex. You’re welcome.
Well, there you have it. Hopefully this helps you bust your stress down. And remember, train wrecks, cookies are not just for Santa. And there’s no shame of hiding in the closet doing a line of Oreos. Again, if you like what I post, please like, comment, share, and subscribe. Please consider donating to help keep this going. $1 and I’ll ask you what your favorite book is so we can talk about it. $5 and I’ll write a review of a book you suggest. $10 and I’ll write a blog suggested by you. That’s all I’ve got for today, train wrecks. All aboard.
Speaking of stress. I know these are supposed to be for kids, but. Listen, here’s the thing. Playdough is a thing for stress in my office. We are an odd bunch of neurodivergent individuals. I may pick this up as gifts for my cubicle crew.