How not to stress at the holidays?
Next, settle in here. Right here. Read for awhile.
(Now come on. If you can’t find something here to interest you or make you smile, then you just aren’t thinking outside the box. Click around! Check out the silly sonnets, the parental pondering, the random recipes… the shoes!)
If you prefer, poke around the other discussions on managing stress.
Now, now. I never said I was good at managing my stress, although I’m a little better than I once was, and I have to remind myself – often here – of the many approaches to putting the world back into perspective in order to keep calm and carry on, without, you know… “carrying on.”
If you’re still with me, here comes the substantive part.
Too Much Really Is Too Much!
First, repeat after me: “I cannot do everything. I will not do everything. Too much really is too much! And whatever I get done will be more than enough.”
Now breathe. Do it again. Breathe deeply. One more time. And if you’re standing at the counter in your kitchen and multitasking – you know – reading and working and making your shopping list for holiday dinner (late) while scarfing down something out of a can or a container – STOP. And yes, I had my wheat toast and coffee early this morning while standing partially dressed at the kitchen counter and writing in my head and worrying about whether or not I would get a parking space at the supermarket by the time I got there and, and, and…
Right. So I told myself: STOP. Whatever I get done will be more than enough. (See? I actually do this stuff.)
Then I reminded myself to BREATHE.
Then I lectured. (Luckily, no one else was around.) Step off the hamster wheel! Do it now! The world won’t come to an end if you do!
Then I went to the supermarket. Guess what? There were spaces!
One Thing at a Time
Multitasking breeds stress. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I multitask and most of the time it’s fine and suits both the way my mind works and the activities I’m engaged in. But sometimes it’s the opposite of effective. You know those times. (Admit it. You do. Not so fine!)
And this time of year, we need to nix the endless multitasking and instead:
One. Thing. At. A. Time.
Really. It’s a better plan. Besides, who doesn’t benefit from a little taste of sunlight?
Go READ THIS by Nath at Beautycalypse. Wise words on stressing and multitasking and how NOT to fall into the associated traps.
Incidentally, there is more considered counsel on something I’ve already decided to do – outsourcing a piece of your usual (dare I say it)… holiday pie.
Order This, Make That
For a change, I ordered part of the holiday dinner and will make the rest. In other words, I “outsourced” – and it’s exactly the same cost as if I were doing all the cooking myself, but with less hassle.
Care to hear Part Deux of this little strategy, in which I have never previously indulged?
I now have all the ingredients necessary to make two kinds of desserts should I choose – my usual French Twist mini pecan pies or pineapple upside down cake – but I also baked last weekend, froze the cookies I made, and picked up biscotti as a backup should I not want to deal with either defrosting or baking.
Frankly, biscotti are generally very nice after a heavy meal – not too sweet, and definitely easy on the pocketbook.
This year’s strategy of “order this, make that” looks like a sure-fire win in the non-stressing department.
Read. My. Lips.
Here is another recommendation regarding reducing stress at the holidays.
Read. My. Lips.
You heard me. Grab the person you love and make out – old school, sumptuous, splendiferous smooching.
No special him or her in your life?
Chat with a stranger in one of those lines at Kroger or Whole Foods or Target or wherever. No, don’t grab him! But do talk about anything from the sublime to the ridiculous. If a little laughter ensues, all the better!
My Secret Formula… If Not X, then Y…
When I am (over)stressing in a manner that is disproportionate to the situation, and likely the result of habit or hunger or fatigue or all of the above – I ask myself: “If I don’t do X, what is the worst that can happen?”
If you pose yourself this question and the answer is that the meal you’re serving will be 45 minutes late, or the bathroom floor won’t be as clean as you like, or you will only have candied yams and green beans instead of yams, beans and mashed potatoes, is that really so bad?
If the upside to talking yourself out of the seriousness of the downside is that you may slow down – just a little – isn’t that a desirable result?
A Yen for Zen
Listen. I’m as far from Zen as they come, but stress sucks. It sucks for us, and for the very people we love and we’re working so hard to please.
How not to stress at the holidays?
Remember what it is that we’re celebrating – each other – and like I said, screw appearances, screw the idea of perfection, screw your idealized view of yourself in your shiny life in your imagined version of friends and family.
- Breathe. Read. Put on music.
- Walk 15 minutes in the fresh air.
- Pick up cookies in case you don’t get to your pies.
- Sneak a biscotti. Maybe even two.
- Hug your kids. Even if they moan “Oh, Mom…”
- Hug someone else’s kids.
Now… Linger over that kiss. Deep breath.
Do it again.
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