Happy Belated Holidays!
I hope you had a wonderful holiday full of love and laughter. I know I have been a bit MIA this past week. Sorry! It wasn’t exactly planned but I ended up taking some much-needed time off from cyber land and work/life in general. See, at the end of last week I was in a full-blown holiday melt down. Usually I am pretty organized and try not to sweat the small stuff at the holidays but between the horrendous traffic, holiday gift shipping issues, working two jobs and maxing out on holiday social commitments – I had hit my limit. The stress snuck up on me and reeled it’s ugly head in a tantrum directed at a store manager for a mistake she didn’t make and an awful case of TMJ – I have not been able to close my jaw and chew for the past 2 weeks. This all came to light last week and I immediately recognized the symptoms from the holiday meltdowns my mother has had over the years. HM (holiday meltdown) has become a running family joke. We all know as soon as the signs appearing it’s time to duck and cover. Was I on track to repeat the sins of my mother? I immediately realized it had to be nipped in the butt immediately before more innocent retailers were taken out and I took up permanent residence in my chiropractor office as he is tries to fix my jaw.
Why do we do this to ourselves? Who’s to blame? Is it Martha Stewart for putting upon us this need for an idealized world and perfection? Why do we all strive for a perfect holiday when we know chances are it will end up more like a Griswold Christmas? I can’t really blame Martha as I know my Mom was striving for this perfection long before she came along. How do we avoid the holiday trap?
I wish I had the answers!
As I sit here post holiday and post craziness (although my jaw is still all screwed up and I could seriously use a massage), I decided it is best to strategize and make note of some of the adjustments I made, or should have made, this year to help get through.
Holiday Baking – This was the first thing to come off my list. I just did not have time for it and honestly with the amount of sweets I floating around my office and home it was not worth it. The world was not going to come to an end if I made fudge or not. I am thinking a random cold winter weekend after the holidays will be a better time for baking. Plus the recipients might better enjoy the fruits of my labor a bit more in February after everyone is over their new year’s resolution diet and the sweets aren’t as abundant.
Christmas Cards – My well thought out holiday cards did not come in time for Christmas. Ugh!! What was I to do? The artist who worked on them took WAY longer then she had originally promised and that 3 day turn around advertised by the printer was more like 4 or 5 days. The best laid plans…. So now everyone is getting them as New Years cards. I am thinking next year I might do Valentine’s Day cards instead of holiday cards. Whatchya think?
The Gift of Time – I did go a bit retail happy for my nephew this year. It was hard to resist as I work part-time at Pottery Barn Kids. It also meant I was able to do most of my shopping in and around working so it did not add extra stress to my life. For other family members I decided the gift of time and experiences would be more appreciated and a better return on my investment then things I could buy in a store. For my brother and Dad I turned to Living Social and ordered them (along with myself) the Mario Andretti race car experience. For my mom, I got her and I tickets to a Broadway show. These gifts all were easy to get on the internet freeing me up from shopping or dealing with deliver dates. But most of all they give me time to spend doing something fun with each of my family members. A win, win as far as I am concerned and a strategy I think I will keep in the future.
Cutting Back On Commitments – As we were sitting in the car driving to a friend’s Open House in the middle of a snow storm, a group of friends and I were all talking about the abundance of social commitments we had and how we were feeling overwhelmed trying to fit them all in. On one hand I was grateful to have wonderful people in my life that include me in so many fun celebrations but on the other had I was running around with my head cut off trying to squeeze in four commitments in one day. In the end I had an abundance of cab charges and a ragging hangover. My friend Leah offered some great advice I plan to take next year. First – she did not go out and buy outfits for all the different holiday events she was going to. Instead she got a fab statement necklace that added a bit of holiday sparkle to her existing wardrobe. Second – she shared she does not commit more than one night a week for social events. GENIUS! Having that steadfast rule for yourself eliminates the stress and guilt of trying to do too much. Now if I can only get over my FOMO (fear of missing out).
But most of all…
Self Care – This is the first thing that goes out the window at the holidays. Getting to the gym gets harder and harder. My diet last week ended up consisting of lots of wine, cheese and crackers. Most of all I find it the hardest giving myself a break – not being so hard on myself. Hence, the holiday meltdown. So, next year I am going to spend the holidays being kind to myself, as kind to myself as I am to others (except for that retail manager – opps). There should be no guilt in deciding to “Fuck It” for the sake of my own self care and the people around me.
Rather than having baking, shopping and gift giving at the top of my to do list next year, I will have:
– Weekly Yoga – it was the minute I skipped my weekly yoga class and started ditching the gym that my TMJ issues started. I NEED to have this in my life for not just my body but my own mental health.
– A Holiday Massage – Next year I will skip one of those obligations, buy one less present and instead will schedule a treat of a massage.
– Daily 30 Minute Walks With My Dog – Poor Sammy took the brunt of my schedule this year and was a bit neglected to the point where he and I were both craving some play time together. Luckily I have an amazing dog walker and roommate who helped pick up my slack but next year I need to make our time together more of a priority.
– Just Say NO to one obligation or commitment once a week and instead schedule something in the vein of self-care (i.e. see massage).
I hope you haven’t read this and think I had a horrible holiday. I didn’t! I had a nice time with my family and it was wonderful seeing my little nephew discover Christmas. I am grateful to have had this time with my fabulous friends and family celebrating but know a little self-reflection is never a bad thing.
Here is to an amazing year ahead. Cheers!