Christmas has always been my favorite time of the year. . .theoretically.
In actuality, it’s making me feel kind of sick. Lately, whenever I start to think about what I have still to do—-all the posts I still need to write for work, the holiday activities I’ve promised to do with the kids, the Christmas cards, the gift shopping, the cookie making, the “making merry and bright” . . .I feel like I’m about to spiral out of control. Or just lie on the ground and weep.
Even the little Christmas Countdown app I have on my iPhone makes my hands break out in a cold sweat. Two weeks?????
I need more time. More. Time.
Though, I’m sure that’s not the only problem. Part of it is the overload of a to-do list that will not quit. Part of it is some weird expectations I have on myself for what the holidays “should” be like and what we “should” do. Even though some of those things aren’t even things the kids care about doing. (Seeing Santa? They could care less. I want the photo.)
But, I’m trying to de-stress in ways that don’t involve eating a jar of Nutella, guzzling wine, or yelling at the kids. How?
* Getting outside. Honestly? I’d probably never do this if I didn’t have a big dog with soft eyes who looks at me as if she’s saying, “PLEASE take me for a walk” And, while it’s One. More. Thing I have to do a few times a day, once I start walking down the street with her, I feel the burdens of the day lifting from my shoulders. I always try to walk at least a half a mile (or so—I don’t measure it!), and breathe really deeply while I walk. I’ve had a few freezing walks the past few days, and while I sometimes wish I didn’t have to go outside (especially at 10pm!), I never regret it afterward.
* Zzzzzzzzz. 15 minutes on the couch and—wow—so much better. Reminds me of when I was in college and would arrive at the library at 7pm most nights, put my books down, my head on the desk, and fall promptly asleep for a short while. Just like then, I wake up ready to handle the next bunch of tasks. (don’t tell my former bosses, but I did the same thing when I worked in an office.)
* Magnesium. I started taking a magnesium supplement a few months ago on the suggestion of my doctor who said it might help me with those mood swings that come up every month. (YOU know what I mean) I’m supposed to vary the dosage based on where I am on my “cycle” but I’m lazy and just take 250mg every night. I can’t say that this is good for everyone (and you should always talk to your doctor before you take any supplements!), but I swear I’ve been a little more even-keeled this fall and winter.
* Just stop and go to bed. I’m a morning person and though I’d love to be productive at 10pm, I’m really just staring at my computer screen, getting nowhere. I don’t expect to get “enough” sleep this month, but I’m trying to get as much as possible.
* Lowered expectations. I will never have a house neighbors wants to visit for my decorating tips. I don’t make 10 different kinds of Christmas cookies or write a note on each Christmas card. And if we don’t see Santa this year, we’ll be okay. I think.
I’m doing okay and trying to remember why I love this holiday so much, though there is always room for improvement. How are you doing? Any other things I could be doing?
This is my last of three sponsored posts with Harvard Pilgrim (here are links to the first one and second one.) All the thoughts, opinions, and advice expressed are my very own. Want to find even more ways to be well? Check out HarvardPilgrim.org/CountUsIn.