It’s tempting to go, “On x date, I will do all my baking/holiday shopping/etc.” This is particularly troublesome for me, because I was hardwired from my school days to go, “I can wait until the last minute and pass. No problem.” But life isn’t reading “Lord of the Flies” the night before a test. There’s more to it. Break down your tasks into small bite-sized pieces and work a little each day. That way, if x date rolls around and you can’t do ALL THE THINGS, you’re not left in the lurch. Your brain also builds up a momentum, and you can actually get more done rather than doing nothing and then trying to cram it all together. Don’t get overwhelmed. You got this.
Yesterday, our power went out very unexpectedly. And it wasn’t just the ‘oh 5 minutes weh’ kind of outage. It was hours of darkness. However, this made things all the more inspiring because it made me realize that you can’t plan for everything this time of year. All you can do is pick back up once the dust settles. Fight back against discouragement. It’s going to be okay. The light will return.
December is interesting because not only do we have the holidays but there’s the double-whammy of ‘this is the end of the year.’ There’s a feeling of finality. And that’s not always good, because it’s easy to go, “God, I didn’t get done x, y or z.” We come across that list of resolutions and realize that maybe we’re the same weight or we still don’t do our laundry before we run out of clean clothes. Don’t get lost in the past. Be present in this moment. Make it count.
Your mental or physical illness won’t take a break around the holidays, so you might as well make a place for it at your table and on your schedule. There will be times when you can’t even bring yourself to work on the laundry list of items that need done before the 25th or whenever you observe your special time. That’s okay. Try not to be too hard on yourself. Sometimes doing the best you can means just waking up. Stressing yourself out will only make it worse. Take care.
Why does it always feel like the holidays are some kind of competition? A contest to see who is charitable enough, who is good enough, who has enough money and time to be the best gift-giver or receiver out there? But the fact is this: you don’t have a thing to prove. Do as much as you’re able, and if you give from your heart, be satisfied. The people who matter will already love you, and you deserve that love. Let it in.
It’s easy to let your emotions get the best of you. Everyone is moving a mile a minute, completely engrossed in their own needs, desires and ambitions. Even as they all rush around you, take a few extra seconds to notice where you are and what is happening. Give others the benefit of the doubt, and remember that only you get to decide how you are going to handle a given situation. Don’t take the stress and burdens of others on your own shoulders.
Not every day is going to be packed with good will or even productivity. There will be bad days, even during the season where it seems like everything should be red and green and silver and gold 24/7. Try to be present. When bad things happen, acknowledge them for what they are – seconds, minutes, hours – and then, move on and make the decision to feel the way you want to feel.
During December, I’m going to share 30 small affirmations/mantras/whatever you want to call them to help people feel good during this time of year. I love the holidays, but I also know it can be fraught with stress and anxiety and not-so-great tidings. I hope these help you. You deserve it.
It’s okay to not be “in the spirit” as soon as December rolls around. You don’t have to immediately be in the ‘deck the halls’ mode, nor do you have to compete against anyone else for how important the holiday season is. You do you, at your pace. You get to decide what this all means, ultimately.
If there is one thing I always feel like imparting to people, that I try to tell people that they can do, that I wish I could have told myself some number of years back, it’s this: chill.
It’s December, and I live near a very popular mall in the Pittsburgh area. As I was driving home from getting my car inspected, I watched a long line of cars get progressively longer on the way down the highway, heading toward the exit. I could read in the way people were driving – with stiff jerks, quick breaks, and wiggly swerves – that tensions were growing between two groups: the people trying to get to the mall and the people trying to get away from it.
If you let people get under your skin, you’ll never survive. Not right now and not in the future.
If you allow the persnickety voices in your head to snipe at you, you’ll lose your mind.
If you refuse to take a breath and remember that none of this will kill you and all of this shall pass, you’re going to die.
Okay, that last one is a bit dramatic. But have you seen the studies about getting stressed to death? Scary stuff!
And don’t think me a paragon of virtue (or do — and tell me all about it, in flowery detail!). This topic came to me because while I sat in the Ford waiting room – one of my favorite waiting rooms; does that sound crazy? – I took out a notebook to try to diagram out what was making me feel so overwhelmed recently. I had been feeling aimless. Stuck. I didn’t know why. So of course I was expecting needing some great amount of time to dissect all my inner turmoil and problematic scramble of ideas, mismanaged priorities and opportunities that had fallen to the wayside.
I was done in about…twenty minutes. And I was left, laughing to myself as I loaded up Hulu, going, “Uh. I was really built up over nothing.”
None of it is a big deal.
So there we go, folks. Which are you going to be? The serene Ford Focus that passed its inspection and is taking its time heading home while listening to Pinkerton, even if it make take an extra ten minutes? Or the honk-happy Buick who almost slammed into an elderly couple because if it had to wait through the light one more time, it was going to have a hernia?
Hi, guys. Did Thanksgiving zip by you, too? Because it did for me. All of a sudden I looked up and it was Monday. Now, I’m out of leftovers and losing my mind. Also, doing these things:
1. Christmas. Christmas, Christmas, Christmas, Christmas. I love this time of the year. Everything about it makes me a warm buttery ball of happy. I am working on gifts and donations and foodieness and decorations and, and, and, and!! So much Christmas, so little time.
2. Rats. I am adopting three rats. I’ve settled on the names Moby, Oreo (shut up, Brett*) and Chu. They are adorable and I am so very excited to have them joining my family. And I found this short essay which explains why you need rat people in your life, too.
3. I’m going to a talk about positivity tonight with one of my best friends. It’s all about creating a more vibrant life and feeling powerful and alive. I’m looking forward to going.
4. Tomorrow starts a special holiday series of How to Have a Day Job. It’s not too late to join the fun and figure out how to:
- Enjoy the holidays without getting burned out.
- Juggle festivities with responsibilities.
- Take stock of what is important about this festive time of the year without losing sight of it behind a massive pile of work.
5. Christmas! Did I mention that already?! It’s enough to count for two!
*Brett is a dear friend of mine who has been around through a few pets, one of the first being a guinea pig named Cheeto. He does not approve of these food-based names. And to that I say ‘nyah.’