Five Ways To Harness Holiday Stress!

SG_HolidayStress Sometimes it can feel like if we look up the word “holiday” in the dictionary, we’ll find the word “stress” next to it. It’s like a given.

But it doesn’t have to be, and today I’m going to list five ways to avoid holiday stress.

1. MEDITATE.  Meditation is different things for each individual.  I don’t think of it as necessarily getting into the lotus position and chanting an “oooohm”, although this does work for millions of people (truth is, I couldn’t get in the lotus position if my life depended on it – lol). For me, I remember what I was taught in DBT, which is based on mindfulness. I try to train my eyes on something. Then I focus on my breathing. That’s it. I might even say the words to myself as I breath: “iiiiin,” and “ouuuut.” Thoughts will come into my head while I’m trying to focus on my breathing, but I let them pass like clouds in the sky (this takes practice). Try it.

2. BREATHE. I am generally an anxious person, as a rule. If there is nothing to worry about, I will find something. Trust me. And sometimes, under stress, I think we can forget to take the deep breaths we need. We get oxygen-deprived. It leads to fatigue and irritability. It’s one of the reasons you find yourself yawning and thinking, “What’s wrong with me? I got a perfectly good night’s sleep!”

3. SHOP ONLINE. Monday, December 17th is Free Shipping Day online! That’s pretty fantastic. Over 1,000 merchants are on board right now to ship packages right to your door free of charge so you can stay at home and shop in your pajamas. No need to fight the crowds at the malls, no need to go out in the cold/heat/snow/rain.  How cool is that? Just click on Free Shipping Day, say “I want to stay home!” and there you have it: the magic ingredients to a happy ending.

4. LIGHT A CANDLE. Aromatherapy is excellent for calming frayed nerves. Try Vanilla, jasmine, and patchouli especially. Right now there are candles that smell like evergreen trees at Bed, Bath and Beyond. Go crazy, just be sure to keep them away from anything flammable and blow them out before you leave the house or go to sleep. 😉

5. GO EASY ON YOURSELF. There is no such thing as a perfect anything, most especially a perfect holiday. Someone is always late, or early, a recipe doesn’t look like the picture, or doesn’t taste like great grandma Edna’s, the dog gets into the snacks that are set out for company, and you don’t have enough time to do everything you wanted to do… There are many things that can go wrong. There is one thing that can go right. How you respond to all the things that go wrong. How you take it in. Go easy on yourself . . . don’t internalize. It’s NOT the end of the world. It’s one day, or one of eight days, or one of six days or whatever . . . it’s a moment in a bajillion moments in time. You will always be you. Fantastic, a miracle, one in a million.

Peace out.

Feeling Blue? Some Things To Do!

One reason a dog can be such a comfort when you’re feeling blue is that he doesn’t try to find out why. –unknown

Ever have one of those days where you just feel down and blue for no real reason you can pinpoint? Or maybe you know the reasons but you don’t want to talk about it. Guess what? I’ve been there. I think we all have.

These are some things I do when I’m feeling blue, and maybe they will help you:

1. Play with the irrepressible Lucy. Lucy is my dog, as most of you know. Just cuddling for ten minutes, just PETTING an animal, can raise serotonin levels in our bodies. It’s a fact.

2. Aromatherapy. Lighting candles, especially lavender, jasmine, or vanilla scented, are calming and naturally help the senses go to a better place. I always turn to candles when I’m not well.

3. Puzzles! It doesn’t necessarily have to be a jigsaw, but it can be, if it’s something you enjoy. I enjoy them, but I can never find enough room for them. 😉 Something puzzling can take your mind off your own problems even if for ten minutes and it’s fun to boot! Rubik’s Cube, Sudoku, Crosswords, Origami . . . anything which strikes your fancy. Go for it!

4. Help someone else. Compliments work wonders. Open the door for someone else today, or help an elderly woman load groceries into her car. You don’t know this, but you help people in so many ways that you don’t even know about. 🙂 You’d be surprised at how many people you help. If you ever get to feeling blue again, why don’t you ask someone, just for kicks, “What do I do that matters to you?” (Or whatever way you want to word it)

I do hope you are having a lovely day and aren’t feeling a bit blue. Peace out.

Fear and its Antidote: Faith

Fear

Often, around the tables, we will hear the acronym F*E*A*R defined as “F*ck Everything And Run.” 😉

I’m sorry if that offended anyone, but lately it is more my intention to be honest and as upfront as I can . . . I try also to be kind, but sometimes they do not go hand-in-hand, when the truth is so very important.

Yesterday, just before I left for my meeting, I received heartbreaking, devastating family news. My heart literally broke into pieces at the same time I could feel my pulse begin to race and mouth dried up like the desert.

I had two choices. I could stay home and wait by the phone for further news, or I could go ahead to the meeting where I knew I would get help.

I had my phone with me. I told my mom it was turned on, that I would take it into the meeting with me (normally a strict “no-no”, but this was a looser meeting) and duck out to answer it if she called. I prayed so hard for my family member that day on the way to the meeting, for a future forever changed by one choice. I prayed for protection, for guidance, for comfort against fear . . . all the things that people pray when they are concerned.

My biggest fear, one that I need to turn over many times a day to God, because I keep doubting, and having to grab onto faith again, is that my loved one will forever hate me. Because I am changed today, because I make different choices due in much gratitude to the Al-Anon program, there is one big thing I did not do yesterday . . . to rescue.

I am in constant prayer. I keep a candle lit. They have no idea how much we love them and how difficult these choices are. It’s not just a flip I switched in my mind and was like “Oh, I think I’ll torment someone today. I think I’ll make them spend the night in hell. See how that feels.” It’s not like that at all.

Faith doesn’t pull any punches, though. Faith knows what it knows and it still believes . . . and acts.

Peace out.