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 that difficult person on your shopping list or who's house we will go to for the Christmas Day feast. No, it's not whether to have a real or artificial tree or 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, every day, day in and day out 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 stressors, we'll find even adding the smallest pieces of fuel to that fire just too much, let alone the complexity of family dynamics during the Christmas season.

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 now in the hopes that I will have some magic answer that will keep you from shooting the rude 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 it. If it's not fun and your heart is not in it, does anyone really gain from that 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 you your favorite charity.

Hate shopping? Hey it's the 21st century; why not utilize some of that technology to help you save your sanity? Most internet stores will gift wrap and mail your selections directly, including a greeting nametag.

Last, but not least, remember to smile and laugh. Laughter is infectious; 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!

Happy Holidays to all my readers, Rebecca

Uploaded to The Zephyr Online December 11, 2001

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