Saving your sanity during the holidays

There is one thing most of us will agree on this holiday season­­ and no it isn't what to buy Uncle Harry or who's house we will be going to for the Christmas Day feast (nobody is expected to agree on that!). No, it's not whether to have a real or artificial tree or to nail the darn thing to the wall when the cat scales it for the 15th time. It's not the hour you make the kids go to bed or who's gonna hold their head when they're throwing up. No, and it's not about fruit cake or plum pudding, holiday plays or the existence of old Saint Nick. It's about the fact that we're STRESSED­­ stressed to the max is the most recent coined phrase. Why?

The answers can be as easy or complex as we want to make them. Here's one way of looking at things. All of life, everyday, day in-day out, life is a series of events that stress us. Some things are good stressors; some are not. If our everyday stressors add up to be mostly bad ones, we'll find even adding the smallest pieces of fuel to that fire just too much­­ let alone the complexity of family dynamics around the Christmas day feast.

There are several ways to deal with stress around the time of the holidays but it would be preferable if you dealt with some of your "daily unfavorable stressors" before the big event. Why didn't I write this article in September? Because you wouldn't have listened! You're reading this because you're looking for ways to help you keep from shooting the sales clerk at the mall and spending the rest of your days in jail­­ children fatherless, wife homeless.

Of course some of your stressors you won't have control over; we all have to eat, which means work, bosses, time schedules, balanced with other commitments to family and friends. But we can learn to say no to other less important things when our hearts are not in it. If it's not fun and your heart is not in it, does anyone really gain from the experience?

If our health is good and energies are high we deal better with stress. So, provide your body with the fuel it needs, simple nutritious foods, clean water, enough sleep and light exercise.

Spend some time in care and feeding of the soul and spirit. Read something inspirational, go to church one extra time or give an extra gift to your favorite charity.

Hate shopping? Hey it's the nineties; why not utilize some of that technology to help you save your sanity. Have you seen what you can buy right from your home sitting in front of the computer? You can now shop Eddie Bauer, Macy's, Lands End, The GapŠ the list is endless. Most stores will gift wrap and mail your package directly, including a greeting name tag.

And last, but not least, remember to smile and laugh. Laughter is infectious and a smile costs nothing and is beyond price.

Take care of yourself and remember to be thankful for your health if nothing else. Even if it's not perfect it can usually be improved upon!

To all my readers out there Happy Holidays!

Till next time, Rebecca.

Posted to Zephyr Online December 18, 1998
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