Where is your Stress Coming From?

I finally got those Christmas cards out last week.

As in yesterday. Saturday.

I suspect some of my recipients won’t get theirs until after the holiday. At first, this bothered me, but then I remembered that I always get a few after Christmas each year, and I really don’t think much about it, so no big deal.

2009's Christmas Card - my favorite!

2009’s Christmas Card – my favorite!

Christmas cards are one of those things that it turned out I stressed about more than I needed to. I used to design mine myself, did up some really cool ones in years past. But this year, none of us had any cool pictures taken (my family is not a big photo-taking bunch) so I couldn’t think of anything cool to do with them, nor did I have any special photos to use on a Shutterfly card (which I’ve also done in the past). So I kept putting it off, hoping something would come to me.

Nothing did. Finally, early this week I threw something together with a picture of our dogs that we’d used before. I wasn’t thrilled with it, so I printed one out and set it aside.

By Wednesday, I knew I had to do something. I’d also realized that I wasn’t quite done with shopping, and I mentioned to DH that I was feeling really stressed. Awesome guy that he is, he asked what he could do. I told him to make moonshine (not real moonshine, just store-bought stuff with flavoring added, but very good), which I’d promised to some of my coworkers. He then took a big load off. He said the Christmas card I’d printed out was fine, so why not send them out.

You see, he was the one who’d always made a big deal of the designed cards, and had been disappointed the year I used Shutterfly. So that was a lot.

I printed them out. Then realized I only had eight envelopes for 8-1/2 x 11 paper folded in quarters. Not a size I can just run down to the corner drugstore to buy. ::headdesk::

So I took off work a couple hours early on Friday, bought a box of cards, and sent those out, along with eight of the homemade cards.

But it all makes me wonder, how much of our stress comes from our own expectations of ourselves? How many of us put a ridiculous effort into extensive decorating, fixing the perfect holiday dinner, buying the perfect gifts–when those they’re supposed to be for don’t expect it, and are just happy we’ve done whatever it is for them?

ROW80Logo175Which brings me around to the rest of my ROW80 goals. I certainly expected too much of myself, thinking I’d get any writing done with everything else that needed to be done. Here’s the details:

  • 2,500 words on combined WIPs – No
  • Keep up with writing workshop assignments – Done (and the workshop is done)!
  • Website: figure out custom programming needed on product page – No
  • Fitness 4 times – Done!
  • Get Christmas cards out, complete rest of shopping – Done!

I figure I did well to get done what I did. This week will be better. I still have to wrap gifts, am hosting dinner, and my house is a disaster, but I have help if I need it, i.e. DD is home from college. I need to put in a few hours at work tomorrow, but am otherwise taking off until after New Year’s–my yearly present to myself. 😀 I think this Round officially ends on Christmas, but my goals are weekly, and I plan to work on the non-holiday goals Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, so here goes:

  • Wrap Christmas presents, and finish everything else needed for the holiday
  • 2,500 words on combined WIPs
  • Website: figure out custom programming needed on product page

What about you–do you expect more of yourself than others, once you think about it (or ask)? If you celebrate Christmas, are you ready for it? And if you’re doing ROW80, did/are you hitting your goals? 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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