I got a little stressed yesterday. I was feeling under the weather. Several grandchildren and one or two daughters have a stomach bug and we were all together just as it began, so it’s working its way through the family. I thought I had it too, but illnesses move so fast through my system, they’re usually gone almost before I know I have them.
But for a while yesterday I felt exhausted; throbbing head, crazy tummy. And then, because like attracts like, I got news about a great big additional holiday task I need to handle and then stress set in. Because when you’re off, you’re off and when it rains, it pours.
I Know What to Do on Such Days
I have a practiced system in place when times like this occur, and it’s become second nature to me. I know just what to do.
RELAX. Take a nap. Watch a Hallmark movie. Eat comfort food. Let it all go.
As my brain got back into its natural positive place, and only then, did I let myself think more about the new task, and how much fun I can make it be for me. I started planning a menu, a grocery list, decided on treats and other details. And now I’m actually excited and looking forward to it.
And then I thought about all the women I know who don’t have a process in place, and who get stressed at holiday time, and how that stress is like a snowball rolling down a mountain because they don’t have a system to stop it in its tracks. And I thought, I should share mine with them.
My Stress-Busting Process
- Wherever you are when stress starts to hit, stop what you’re doing. Just stop. Take several full, deep breaths–all your lungs can hold! Exhale completely and slowly. Feel your muscles unclench. This alone can help immensely. Try it. You’ll see.
- Look around you, still breathing slowly and deeply, and seek beauty. You’ll find it if you look for it. It might be in the face of a child, in the holiday lights, in the snow on a pine bough, in a decorated shop window. Just seek beauty and bask in it for just a moment.
- Take a few seconds then, to acknowledge the most wonderful parts of your life. Just give them a little air time your mind. Your home, your family, your dog or cat, your favorite slippers, your bed at night. Anything that gives you pleasure. Don’t let any worries or challenges come in. Just acknowledge the very best things in your life right now.
- Take a few more deep breaths.
- Remind yourself remind yourself that any task can be fun if you decide to make it fun.
- Remind yourself there’s no such thing as perfection. Truly, there isn’t.
- Remind yourself there is help to be had for the asking. If you’re open to it, it will appear.
- Remind yourself we’ll all croak with an unfinished to-do list anyway.
Look For Meaning....
Most of all, remind yourself of the deep spiritual meanings associated with this season, how its abiding promise is that no matter how dark or long or cold the night is, the sun’s warmth and light will always return.