Have you ever wondered why there are so many articles on “SURVIVING THE HOLIDAYS”?
There’s this idea that holidays are supposed to be joyful and stress-free.
I mean how much pressure can there be trying to find the perfect gifts, the perfect holiday outfits, the perfect decorations, trying to look perfect, be perfect, serve the perfect meal, and then we have the Hallmark channel telling us that the Holiday season is all about getting your Christmas wish if you believe enough? Oh my, come on. (Side note, I do love the Hallmark channel)
Shoot, Elvis even sings about having”Blue Christmas”.
This year my holidays started off with me getting a wicked cold and my 9-year-old boxer, Ruby Sue, had a cancerous tumor on her tail and had surgery. So, I was already physically run down and my attitude was not so great.
I knew this was not how I wanted Holiday 2016 to be and I was the only one that could change it!
What Causes Holiday Stress?
First, ask yourself this: What about the holidays gets you down? Once you cut through the vague sense of dread about family gatherings and identify specific problems, you can deal with them directly. For many people, holiday stress is triggered by:
- Unhappy memories. Going home for the holidays naturally makes people remember old times, but for you, the memories may be more bitter than sweet. “During the holidays, a lot of childhood memories come back,” says Duckworth, who is also an assistant professor at Harvard University Medical School. “You may find yourself dwelling on what was inadequate about your childhood and what was missing.” If you associate the holidays with a bad time in your life — the loss of a loved one, a previous depression — this time of year will naturally bring those memories back.
- Toxic relatives. Holidays can put you in the same room with relatives you avoid the rest of the year. People struggling with depression may face stigma, too. “Some relatives don’t really believe you’re depressed,” says Gloria Pope, director of advocacy and public policy at the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance in Chicago. “They think you’re just lazy, or that it’s all in your head. It can be really hurtful.”
- What’s changed? The holidays can highlight everything that’s changed in your lives — a divorce, a death in the family, a son who’s making his first trip back home after starting college. Any of these can really unsettle a gathering and add holiday stress.
- What’s stayed the same? For others, it’s the monotonous sameness of family holiday gatherings that depresses them — the same faces, the same jokes, the same food on the same china plates.
- Lowered defenses. During the holiday season, you’re more likely to be stressed out by obligations and errands. It’s cold and flu season and your immune system is under assault. It’s getting dark earlier each day. You’re eating worse, sleeping less, and drinking more. By the time the family gathering rolls around, you’re worn out, tense, and fragile. The holiday stress makes it harder to cope with your family than it might be at other times of the year.
- I hired someone to decorate the cafe and bought all new decorations!
- Planned fun events thru the season. This weekend I am going on a holiday home tour in the Texas Hill Country.
- Scheduled time to spend time with my favorite people.
- Built some awesome outdoor fires and made s’mores, see my recipe below. I don’t know about you but having marshmallow and chocolate all over my face puts me in a very happy state of mind.
- Being mindful of staying in the present moment.
- Physically move more. I am having the hardest time getting an exercise routine, even though I know how much benefit I get from it.
- Watch my sugar intake, not sure what I will do about it, but I am watching it!
- Make a gratitude list every morning and every night.
- Look at my to-do list and see what can be removed completely.
I think I want to start a movement to change all this “Surviving the Holidays”, to “Thriving in the Holidays”! Wow, I like it, I am off to google that….
This is my absolutely favorite new S’mores recipe.
Jumbo Marshmallows, Ritz Crackers, Reese’s peanut butter cups
- Roast your marshmallow over the flame until it is your desired toastiness. Assemble the s’more by sandwiching 1 Reese’s peanut butter cup and 1 toasted marshmallow between 2 Ritz crackers.
- Sit back and enjoy the yumminess of it all!
P.S. Ruby Sue got a clean bill of health!!!! So very grateful.