How to Deal with Holiday Anxiety Like an Adult

It’s only Tuesday and I’ve already seen at least 5 articles this week on how to get through the holidays with your sanity intact. And I’ve read every one of them because I’m already feeling the strain.  No doubt, ’tis the season for all of our anxieties to come shining through like a flashlight in the face!

But doesn’t this seem wrong, somehow? Why do we feel obligated to put ourselves through this year after year? Yes I get that traditions are important but does being super stressed out have to be a tradition too?

Truth be told, I don’t enjoy the holidays any more. I have a hard time finding the joy in it all when it all just feels TOO MUCH. Too much pressure, too much money, too much food, too many things to do, people to see, places to go…and for what? So we can post some Norman Rockwellesque photos on social media? So we don’t disappoint someone in our family? So we can feel like we did it “right”? I feel like the whole thing needs to be reworked.

But until I’m able to escape to the Caribbean for the months of November and December (someday!), I’m going to have to suck it up and deal. And here’s how I plan to deal with it:

  • Radical Acceptance – these holidays are happening whether I like it or not. They just are. So I can accept that I am going to have to do things I’d really rather not do, but since I am an adult I will handle myself with maturity and grace. And then I’m going to reward myself for Adulting so well.
  • Cope Ahead – I can make a plan and do things ahead of time that will make the actual event easier to deal with. That might mean cooking a few dishes ahead of time, getting in some exercise so I feel better, getting more rest, or watching for things I need to go on sale (so I feel like I have at least a little bit of control over my money).
  • Improve the Moment – sadly the only thing I can think of here is having a nice glass of wine or some spiked punch. But maybe it also means having some neutral discussion topics on hand – movies, books, etc – so that if the conversation takes a ridiculous turn, I can steer it back to common ground (this could also be considered Coping Ahead, I think). Retreating to another room for five minutes to watch a funny cat video is also a good way to improve the moment and my mood if I feel like it’s getting to be too much.
  • Find Joy in the Little Things – when my kids all pull together to get the house clean while I’m at work on Wednesday, noshing on my mom’s Thanksgiving stuffing, that glorious nap that comes after the meal, Christmas music on the radio during my daily commute, A Charlie Brown Christmas (along with ALL the Christmas classics), driving around and looking at Christmas lights, baking treats with my kids, making that first batch of the peanut butter balls that makes my husband so happy…these are the things I’m going to focus on. These are the things I’m going to look forward to.
  • Writing – I’m going to write, write, write, either here or privately because I already feel better about everything since I sat down to write this post.

If you love this time of year and you feel like you are on top of it, more power to you (and also, I envy you)! But for the rest of us who tend to feel like we’re caught in the undercurrent of TOO MUCH, let’s just take it easy on ourselves, okay? Let’s agree to do what we can and let that be good enough. Let’s agree to take spectacular care of ourselves and maybe, just maybe we’ll surprise ourselves and come out on the other side of this with some good times and warm memories.

 

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Holiday Gift Ideas (Subtitled: Things I want that you might want, too)

Dear Holiday Season: WE ARE IN YOU.

With Black Friday and Cyber Monday only days away, now is the time to start thinking about what to get your loved ones, your liked ones, and your barely tolerated ones for Christmas. I love this time of year when my anxieties about money shoot through the roof! Which is why I tend to avoid Oprah’s Favorite Things because I don’t know about you, but I can’t afford to buy an $800 mattress for anyone on my list. And is that really the kind of thing you buy for someone else??? I prefer to choose my own mattress, thankyouverymuch.

Anyway, I thought I’d share some of MY favorite things…things that are totally affordable and practical. Because wouldn’t that be embarrassing if we all showed up to the Christmas Eve party with a $400 cookware set??? (Incidentally, there is a list of Oprah’s Favorite Things for Under $50 that has some pretty cool stuff on it too.)

So let’s begin, shall we?

BOOKS

Beautiful You: A Daily Guide to Radical Self-Acceptance

 

I haven’t read this, but I think it looks fun. And it’s so preeeeetty!

 

And look at this cute lil fox!! Isn’t he adorable? Because sometimes you need to jot your ideas down in a cute lil notebook!
If foxes aren’t your thing, there are lots of other designs as well.

 

I don’t know…I just feel like this would be perfect for your 12 year old nephew or for that Millennial guy in your office whose name you drew for the Secret Santa.

FACE & BODY

I love this stuff so bad. Actually I kind of like the whole Tarte line, but this stuff is my favorite. And why not make it a set? I’ve had my eye on this Tarte eyeshadow palette for awhile now.

 

I canNOT STAND to wake up with mascara on my eyes, so every night before bed, I swipe my eyes with these. These would be great for Santa to put in someone’s stocking.

 

Oh man. THIS. This is my favorite favorite favorite body lotion. It smells like luxury and feels like rich Corinthian leather. I have the perfume that goes with this lotion and it smells divine also.

 

FOR THE GUYS

For those times when he wants a hammock but can’t find any trees:

You don’t even have to blow it up – just wave it around like you do a trash bag and it fills up with air instantly!

 

My 20 year old son has had a full beard since he was a senior in high school. Why it never occurred to me to get him something like this before is beyond me. (But he’ll be getting it this year for sure!)  Gotta keep that beard looking fresh for the ladies!

HOME STUFF

My BFF got these for me for my birthday and I absolutely love them! If you love Tyler candles, then you will love these thick card stock sheets that make your clothes smell beautiful, and they last quite a while.  The Glam Wash is excellent too (I was my robe and my favorite pjs in it), but it is a little pricier.

 

I am in love with this little clock! The cute fluffy birds, the old time-y font of the numbers, the slate gray color…this would be perfect on my night stand. (hint hint)

 

These are just a few ideas to get your started on your shopping.  I have a lot more ideas to add to this list, but frankly, I have run out of steam for today.  What are your go-to gift ideas? Have you started your shopping yet? Are you a Black Friday shopper or do you wait until Cyber Monday? Or are you more of the panic-at-the-last-minute shopper? I aspire to be finished by December 15th but I always seem to be shopping til December 23rd. Oh well, it all gets done eventually.

 

Amazon links are affiliate links. 

I have let myself go

It’s not that I didn’t already know this, but I’ve never really said those exact words to myself before.

I made this realization as I was standing in the dressing room of my local The Walmarts last week (and that sad fact right there should be proof enough) when I sort of caught a glimpse of myself and thought “Wow, I have really let myself go.”

It wasn’t a sad thought or a Mean Girl thought – it was just the realization of a fact. I have indeed let myself go.

When I was little, I remember looking at photographs of older family members and seeing how thin they were when they were young women and then seeing more photos of when they were older and plumper.I thought it was sad that they had once been so beautiful and young and then later they just “let themselves go”.  I vowed to myself that I would never let that happen to me because when I was a kid, fat was not something you wanted to grow up to be.

I am the perfect example of fear manifesting itself into reality.

I can laugh at this now because it’s sort of the same thing as having a friend with no kids trying to tell you how to raise yours. If I could go back to my younger self I’d laugh and say “Oh just you wait, kiddo. You have no idea. You have no idea how often you will eat your feelings or how you’ll be too exhausted from chasing toddlers to work out or how later perimenopause will screw with your metabolism. You have no idea how fast those pounds will pack on once you get a boring desk job and how lunch and snack time will be the highlight of your day for those 8 hours. And to soothe yourself after a long frustrating day at work, you’ll partake in a 1,000+ calorie binge and still eat dinner an hour and a half later. You just really have no idea.”

I let myself go. But honestly, it’s not something I could have stopped even if I wanted to (but I really, really wanted to – hello, 20 years of dieting) because I just didn’t know what I didn’t know: that an hour of talking on the phone with my best friend is way more satisfying than eating a dozen cookies; that taking a walk after work is more fulfilling than a binge; that letting my husband and kids help out does lower my stress level because ultimately it’s not “just easier to do it myself”.

Little by little, day by day, I’m learning more and reclaiming what I lost. I’m learning to love vegetables, I’m learning to cook, I’m learning to love exercise more for what it can do for my brain than my body. I’m learning that taking time for myself yields some serious dividends and that once in a while you really do just need to Treat Yo’Self.

So yeah, I let myself go, but I’m getting myself back.

Stupid Black & White Swimsuit

Happy Post Labor Day!! Who’s still exhausted from the weekend? *Raises hand*

I had a great weekend, but man…it seems like having fun wears me out and it takes a while to recover. But it’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make. 🙂

So, an interesting situation happened on Saturday. The fam and I went out in the boat for a little joyride and we found a nice little cove that was perfect for swimming. So we’re out there swimming and chilling and being all relaxed when another boat pulls into the cove. Then another boat. And another. And another. Pretty soon there were 6 or 8 boats in our cove and it was obvious they had planned to gather there and have a little Labor Day Weekend party. Coincidentally, my husband knew some of these people so we decided to join them, which was fine…at first.

The group was made up of 30-something couples (married or dating) and there were a few little kids running around splashing and swimming. I noticed that several of the women were wearing bikinis…not tankinis…but itty bitty bikinis and they didn’t look awful in them. They all actually looked pretty darn good. Dammit.

Remember, I’m 44 and roughly 60 pounds overweight.

Yeaahhhhhhhh.

Wanna recipe for disaster? Here ya go:

How to Make Yourself Feel Like a Beached Whale in 4 Easy Steps

  1. Be 60 pounds overweight
  2. Wear a black and white one piece swimsuit similar to this:shamu
  3. Surround yourself with hot mamas who are 15 years younger than yourself
  4. Wait for Greenpeace to show up and haul your arse back into the water

Tada!!

My husband could tell that my mood had shifted, so when he came to check on me, I decided to tell him why. I rarely tell him when things like this bother me, but I decided to be honest about it and I said “all these women in bikinis are making me feel bad”, to which he said some very sweet things which I will keep private, but I felt much better after our little talk. I realized that for whatever reason, my husband really does only have eyes for me. ❤

Unfortunately, I didn’t practice having self compassion that day.  But I realize this is a process and it will get easier. Giving myself a break will get easier and believing that I am worthy NO MATTER WHAT will get easier too.

But I’m DEFINITELY getting a different swimsuit next year.

🙂