Stressed during the holidays? You betcha! Were it not for the Zovirax pills I keep on hand, I’d look like a monster right about now.
Besides stocking up on cold sore medication, what would you recommend as an antidote for the anxiety that sometimes coincides with December?
My number one piece of advice is to exercise. Even if you’ve never lifted a weight or run more than a block in your life, start NOW. For instance, when your ten-year-old buys a snow globe for her sister – the last one they had of its kind in the store – and then proceeds to drop it so it breaks in the bag and gets everything else wet and then you have to drive back to the store and return everything at nine o’clock at night because that other stuff in the bag is what you need for the next morning – you’re going to want to line up shots of Sauza and that’s counterproductive. (Think of how you’ll feel the next morning.) Instead, go into another room and do jumping jacks, as many and as fast as you can. Work up a sweat while thinking of people with real problems. The only reason I’ve survived the past twelve Christmas seasons with three children, deadlines, obligations, etc. is because I run and crank up the mileage. Consider this advice seriously. Get some exercise; when you’re done…
…drink water. Lots of it. I don’t know about you, but my skin looks and feels like an alligator’s this month. I’m lucky no one wants to make me into a pair of boots. Whenever I’m near the faucet or I see a bottle of water, I drink. Even if I don’t feel thirsty, I fill up my cup and slug it back. Our bodies function so much better when we’re hydrated. I cannot overemphasize this. Your muscles will thank you. Your brain will thank you. Your skin will thank you. I thank you.
Get or stay organized. I do this by making lists and checking them twice. At my advanced age, I’m often scattered and more so in December than at any other time of the year. There’s so much to do and we’re bound to forget something – you just don’t want to remember Christmas Eve at eleven at night when all the stores in the small town where the grandparents live are closed and now your six-year-old isn’t going to get that number four present on her list because Santa can’t keep everything straight in his head. Whether you’re throwing a party or handing out presents to fifty people, it’s important to stay organized. Make a list and cross off items as they’re accomplished.
Avoid persons who brag about having finished and wrapped all of their gifts before Thanksgiving. We hate them. (Or maybe we love them, but we hate them, too.) Now is not the time to be comparing yourself to others.
You know all the red and green M&Ms lying around in bowls, and the Hershey’s Kisses, and the candy canes, and the cookies? Each time you go to grab some, stop and remember that you just grabbed some a minute ago. You can go another hour without putting something sweet in your mouth. This may be the hardest advice to heed but trust me, all that sugar doesn’t ease the stress you’re feeling. When my jeans start feeling a little tight over the holidays, I want to punch someone. It’s a weird reaction, I know, but extra weight makes me anxious. Pace yourself on the Russian teacakes, the gingerbread cookies, the coffee cake.
Put air in your tires. Weren’t expecting that one, were you? I was driving around in the swagger wagon the other day and just felt deflated. Then I realized it wasn’t me, it was the car. I pulled into a gas station and gave the guy a couple of bucks to inflate my embarrassingly squishy tires. Afterwards, I felt lifted and strangely energized.
When all else fails, just say “Screw it” or “Whatever” and let it go. If it doesn’t have to do with making sure Santa Claus fulfills his duty to your children, or getting to the airport early, chances are the world will survive your oversight. If you’re Christian, keep in mind that we’re celebrating the birth of Jesus and put things in perspective to that. If you celebrate Hanukkah, or Bodhi Day, or Kwanzaa, or just revel in December lights, remember that it’s about JOY. Find some, even if it’s as small as the head of a pin.
Check out Simple Steps for Staying Organized Through the Holiday Season from the LIFE Well Lived blog at BlogHer.com.