Be Kind to Yourself for the Holidays

The holidays are the most stressful time of year for many of us, with all of the extra things to do on top of our already too-full to-do lists, plus all those things we want to (or have to) tie up by year-end.

Adrenal fatigue is largely caused by stress, whether a single event, or more commonly, chronic overdoing it, so those of us who’ve reached this state need to be extra mindful when dealing with more stress. So, the best way to begin to heal from adrenal fatigue (or prevent it in the first place) is to avoid unnecessary stress whenever possible.

So to that end, here are some things I’m doing to be kind to myself–and reduce stress–for the holidays:

  • Decorating: stop worrying about outdoing or impressing anyone, and just put up those decorations that are meaningful to us and those we care for. Less is more!
  • Cooking: Nothing wrong with simplifying! Again, stick to those dishes that are particularly enjoyed, and skip the stuff we’ve been doing just because we’ve been doing it for years.
  • Parties: Go to the ones we enjoy, skip the ones we just feel obligated to attend when at all possible. And do we need to bring something? If not, don’t. If so (or if we really want to), get something easy we can just pick up. No need to bring a “famous” homemade dish that takes a lot of time and effort, unless it’s one of those things those we care about will really miss.
  • This year's Christmas card photo

    This year’s Christmas card photo

    Shopping: I hate crowds and traffic, so I do as much as possible online. And whether we go out or online, planning ahead helps us not only do the job faster and with less stress, but also helps us to spend less money we didn’t intend to (another source of stress).

  • Cards: This used to be one of the most stressful aspects of the holidays for me, because I used to design fancy, custom ones and printed my own. Invariably, the designing took far longer than necessary, and the printer would jam several times before I got them all printed, and maybe would run out of ink, too. I now just upload a few photos to Shutterfly and order them there. Not cheap, even with the special offers, but still uniquely ours and sooooo much easier.
  • Addressing cards: I buy Avery shipping labels (or similar) and use Word templates and a mail merge to fill ’em in. Much easier than hand writing!
  • Gift wrapping: I still can’t stomach paying Amazon $3.49 to wrap a gift, but my wrapping has gotten much simpler over the years. When I was in school and had much less stress (not to mention no job), I loved to wrap fancy gifts with tons of extra ribbons and bows. Now they get wrapped, and maybe a bow, and about half just go into a gift bag. I remember one high school friend whose parents used to wrap each kid’s presents in a one specific paper. No gift tags; everyone knew which was theirs just from the paper. And it was the gift that mattered, not the wrapping job. Brilliant!
  • Treating yourself: I got a haircut this week. That may be no big deal to many of you, but I hadn’t taken the time to do this one simple thing for over six months! So I went to Square One Salon, where they include a mini-facial with the cut, which was so relaxing and worth it. I will not wait so long to go back.
  • And yes, I also spent plenty of time reading!

Speak of LoveWhat I read this week: I finished the novel Speak of Love by Linda Madl. This is a historical romance set in the 17th century Scottish isles. The characters were well-drawn, interesting, and believable for the time period while still sympathetic, but what I especially liked about this book was the real history that was worked in. This did not have a lot of steamy stuff in it, but was definitely not a “sweet” romance either–IMO the sensuality level was just right for the story, the characters, and the other things going on. If you enjoy historical romance, pick this one up!

ROW80Logo175ROW80 Update: I’m going to consider this week a “failing successfully” week. I was completely not thinking when I set a goal of making the big picture changes in the rest of my WIP. Turns out it needs two more scenes, which I realized as I reworked the last one, not to mention that making the big-picture changes is more of a job than I thought, given the scope of the major change introduced 3/4 through the first draft. So my goal for this week is to complete one of the new scenes, or 1500 words–a reasonable goal, as I also still need to finish Christmas shopping, and I have a party to attend that I am really looking forward to.

What about you–do you find yourself stressed over the holidays, or are you good at being kind to yourself? And in what was do you do that? Got any additional tips or ideas? How are you doing on whatever goals you might be working toward, whether writing-related or not? Please share–I’d love to hear from you!

Jennette Marie Powell writes stories about ordinary people in ordinary places, who do extraordinary things and learn that those ordinary places are anything but. In her Saturn Society novels, unwilling time travelers do what they must to make things right... and change more than they expect. You can find her books at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Kobo, iTunes, and more.

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