Count Your Blessings & De-stress!

Prompted by the constant onslaught of “how do you keep so calm with all the holiday stress?” stuff, and updated for 2007. If anything, I’m more relaxed this year, less stressed, enjoying what I have and not worrying about what I don’t.

This year, we’ll be doing a lot of driving at Christmas. The kids are with their dad, and we’re going to visit my sister, and then the BF’s parents – driving over the holiday weekend does not thrill me, but family does!

Is it crazy? Sure. Whose holiday isn’t? But that’s OK. It really is!



Along with the holidays comes the immeasurable stress. The hassles of shopping, cooking, traveling, etc. All the extra people in our homes. Or the crowded homes of relatives. And like many women, I often feel overwhelmed by it all. On a message board I like to frequent, another Mom asked the question, “How do you deal with all the holiday stress?” As I sat back and thought about it for a moment, it occurred to me that I really didn’t feel stressed. On the contrary, I feel rather relaxed this season.

Do I have less to do than usual? No. More, in fact. Is there less stress, less hassle, less anything this year? Again, no. This year is much crazier, much more stressful than years past. So, what is the reason for my calm state? And then it hit me. Here is what I said:

I take a deep breath and remind myself what all the fuss is about! Seriously – I look at the bright side of things, and try to focus on the good stuff.

When family gets overwhelming — I think how much I miss my Grandfather, and how I wish he was still around to see my kids growing up. This year, 2007, I also think about Mom – this is our first Christmas without her. Suddenly, that family that IS around seems all the more precious.

House too full? I remind myself of all the people spending the holidays alone. I visit a nursing home, and see the lonely faces that brighten up at the sight of a stranger. My full house doesn’t seem so cramped anymore.

Stress over whose house to visit? At least there is a choice. Sit back, smile, make a “take turns” schedule and rejoice that you have so much family to choose from. Think of the soldiers, or others, away from home — who don’t HAVE that choice to make, I’m sure they’d be glad to have several places to visit.

All of the other hectic, crazy, holiday insanity? For every piece of negative — I can think of some positive. I can think of some reason to appreciate what I have.

I have a beautiful home (yes, it means decorating.) I have lots of family (a crowded house, lots to buy, cook, etc.) And for all of the hassle — I am thankful.

I miss the loved ones who are no longer here, and I would gladly put yet another plate on my table, another gift under the tree for them.

I don’t love holiday travel — but last year, I would have happily driven all over the country and back to have Mom with us at Christmas. Last year, she was ill and couldn’t travel — and life being what it was I couldn’t take the kids to her. This year, it’s not even an option and guess what? I’d cram my kids, all the food, all the packages and everything into a Mini Cooper with the tree tied on top, then drive across country and back if I could have one more Christmas with Mom.

So — how do I handle the stress? I count the blessings I have! Yes, those blessings mean more stress. But there are so many others who have far less than I.