The holidays are stressful. For everyone. I think they are even stressful for kids, even if it’s just emanating from their parents and attaching to their psyche. As wonderful and happy as the holidays are, at times they just suck. Here is a standard train of thought in my brain around the holidays: I need to remember to buy ingredients for neighbor treats, my portion of the Christmas dinner, and Boxing Day brunch and dinner. But before I do that, I better make a list and plan the meal. Next weekend I’ll go shopping for gifts for my husband, two boys, parents, grandparents, in-laws, brothers, sister-in-law, and niece (so excited to buy a girl gift)! And we can’t forget our wonderful trash collector! Additionally, my husband’s office will most likely do some sort of meal that he needs to contribute to, and we can’t have him arriving with a store-bought layer dip, can we? When should we visit Santa? And we promised the boys we would go on a carriage ride at the plaza, better put that on the calendar. I also need to get the Christmas card picture taken, and that might take an entire day with two toddlers. After that, I need to order the cards and have them addressed and mailed by December 1! But wait – I don’t have all the addresses I need this year! I better make some phone calls. Did I ever do thank you notes for the first birthday party? Great, those people are probably checking their mailboxes every day and becoming more disappointed with every day that passes by with no thank you note. I’ll do that tomorrow. I should probably also try on every outfit in my closet so I have something to wear for the office Christmas party, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve. Whew. Time for some wine.
And honestly, with toddlers, my mind isn’t even racing nearly as much as parents with children in school! Inevitably, I will end up crying on New Year’s Day, just out of pure relief that IT’S OVER. Oh wait. Another birthday January 5. Better get my thank you notes started now!
So what to do? My first response would be to eliminate unnecessary items. But I am a creature of habit, and I feel very strongly about traditions. So that might only stress me out more. Instead, I just need to find ways to stay calm and relax. I wrote about this a couple of weeks ago, suggesting yoga, aromatherapy and deep breathing for a few ways to calm down. And I stand by those ideas for the holidays as well, as none of them take too much time and can be done while you’re wrapping presents (yes, even yoga). But I might also suggest taking some time to yourself. Around the holidays, we all spend so much time focusing on others, which is WONDERFUL. But unless we take care of ourselves, we cannot accomplish everything we want to. Even if it means pretending you need to grab something from the basement, but actually just sitting down there in the dark for a few minutes while your husband deals with the crying boys. Wait, what?
I have not done either of those things. Promise.
But in all seriousness, at the end of my yoga classes, the instructor always thanks us for coming to class and doing something FOR OURSELVES. I always feel such a sense of calm when they say that, because it reminds me of how important it is to take care of me in order to take care of others. It also makes me feel less guilty for taking an hour away from the family for something other than grocery shopping.
So this holiday season, between the giving and creating, stay healthy and happy by taking some time for you! Even if that means grabbing a Starbucks and taking a leisurely stroll around Target while you’re shopping instead of racing from one place to the next trying to cross everything off your list in record time. Because if you’re like me, you might even prefer this over the beach: