This is my first ever attempt at doing daily writing for public consumption. I’ve written in journals before and for classes in college, but never consistently EVERY single day and absolutely not for other people to read. I tend to do things whole hog and likely too intensely, but as someone who loves creative expression, I thought daily blogging about my favorite time of year would come easily. I’m almost halfway in and I’ve come to a screeching halt.
I found myself Googling and Pinterest searching “Blogmas Ideas” and once I was perusing lists, I realized that I don’t want to knowingly copy other authors. Of course, I know I am. Gift Ideas? Menus and Recipes? I wrote these because I loved reading them on other platforms. There aren’t an endless amount of novel ideas for Blogmas, so inherently, I will repeat, but I know I don’t want to do it in a way that isn’t inspired by my real time life.
As I’ve hit this road block, I’d like to share with you how I handle holiday stress. Yes, even those of us who bask in the glow of Christmas lights experience stress around this time of year. For me, it’s blog ideas, sometimes financial, the challenge of Instagram-worthy decor, needing to be in the moment, and making sure I’m planning ahead.
By nature, I am a high anxiety person. I’m a type A, firstborn perfectionist. I’m working on it. But I am not uncomfortable with a certain level of stress; it’s when it feels out of control that I tend to cycle into what one may call a nag. And Marc always bears the burden of my anger/stress. Again, I’m working on it and the first step is awareness of the emotion. I know can pinpoint when I’m overly anxious and more often than not, why I feel that way. Having this self awareness allows me to take a step back and see my actions. It doesn’t always happen this way, but the following tips help me in not exploding.
1. Go Outside
I know it’s cold. Actually, I think that helps me. If you can be outdoors in the sunlight before the sun sets at noon every day, the better off you’ll be. I also love to look at Christmas lights, so I don’t mind evening strolls. Bundling up, seeing my breath, and moving around a little outdoors ALWAYS helps.
2. Planning Ahead
So this is a double edged sword. Sometimes I experience stress about how I’m behind in planning, but as a list-lover, thinking ahead allows me to budget my resources. I also LOVE to look back on the last few years of “data” (what I served for dinner, who we sent cards to, what I bought as gifts). I break down each major event, like cooking or gift buying, and figure out what I need and when I can do them. That way, I’m not overwhelmed. Also, bonus points if you do this in a cute bullet journal format!
3. Turn Off Your Phone
Okay, so maybe just set it to vibrate, but give yourself at least 30 minutes daily without it (preferably at night/before bed). I am also not using mine at family events (unless for taking photos to edit and post LATER). So far, I’ve been able to put it away for the Christmas Parade and the holiday movies we’ve been watching at home. I love it. I wish it was socially acceptable to never use it (hyperbole?).
4. Book a Date
With a sibling, partner, or friend – make a date! The best gift you can give is time, so put it to good use! For my mom’s birthday – see Blogmas Day 7: Dear Mom – my sister and I took her to a spa. The luxury of riding in the car, having lunch, and unwinding together is something I don’t take for granted. Of course the spa was relaxing, but the conversation and laughter was even better.
Marc and I also have a fancy Christmas Dinner Date annually. I am already looking forward to it!
5. Take a Bath
This is my option of choice. I love me a super hot bath with all the goodies: bath bombs, bath oil, bubbles, wine, and a book. I could do this for hours and turn into a prune. I just received eye masks and new essential oils that I’ll be adding to the mix of heaven. Outside of reading, I do prop up a laptop or iPad on a stool and watch holiday movies. Try this. It’s relaxing and festive!
All of these can be done without the specification of Christmas, but I find I look to them more during this season. I truly enjoy these activities, so I know they will help me when I need to unwind or decompress.
Do you have any go-to anxiety busters in December (or any time of year)? Please share!