Easing the Holiday Stress

“Crazy busy week. But I think the fact that I’ve been humming ‘Feliz Navidad’ for the last hour means I’m seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.”

This was my husband’s status update on Facebook yesterday evening and it made me laugh and also gave me hope because I. am. tired. This week (actually the past month) has been a marathon of busyness. Between birthdays, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, travel, visits from out of town friends, school events, crunch time at my husband’s work, and, oh yeah, that keeping-a-brand-new-business-going thing life has been pretty rushed. But as I take a moment to breathe and acknowledge that my to-do list to end all to-do lists is increasingly a collection of crossed off tasks rather than things left to be done, I am grateful.

gingerbread man

I am also acknowledging that there is something different about this year for me. In years past, by this time in the season my husband and I would have had a huge blow-up fight about who was doing what. I would have been resentful about having taken on so much of the present buying and logistics planning and he would be frustrated because he was willing to take on some of the tasks but just wanted to know what was expected (this is the busiest time of year for him at work, which always adds a wrinkle to the dynamic). But this year we haven’t had that fight and I haven’t had the resentment. And there are three reasons for this that I think are helpful things for all of us to keep in mind:

1)   I have asked for help. In the past I have always felt guilty asking him to do things because I know that work is completely insane and I didn’t want to put more on him. This year I let go of that and asked for the help. And, not surprisingly at all, he totally stepped up.

2)   Self-care. While I am not making time for massages or pedicures, I have made sure that each day there is some time for me. Whether it is working up a little earlier to start the day with a work out or ending it with some quiet time reading, I have made sure to not let that slip. It is amazing how much of a difference that can make! I mean, I always tell others to do it, but I never have been so good at consistently doing it myself. But now I get it!

3)   Not everything needs to be perfect. The house has been messier than it usually is. The boys have watched a little bit more video than they usually do. I have resorted to grilled cheese sandwiches or quesadillas a bit more than usual. And on some other nights, dinner has been later than usual. And letting go of that need for the best has really helped to take the edge off and has given me time to enjoy what I am doing more- whether it is my work, playing with my boys, or spending time with my husband. And that makes it worth it. It is sort of like that gingerbread man- sure, he’s missing an eye and his hands are in his armpits, but he’s happy! I mean, just look at that smile…


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