My sister called me this morning and told me she needed some of that "work/life balance stuff." Sick kid, broken computer, school deadlines, rude Starbucks clerk, yada, yada, yada. Yikes - poor thing was ready to go right over the edge.
As I told her that true life balance is internal, I realised I was reminding myself of these words as much as I was saying them to her.
Still, the holidays are practically synonymous with the "slippery slope." So many potential pitfalls. Nevermind the usual stress of work, school and home. (Does anyone take a vacation anymore?) Now there are shopping crowds, poorly timed man colds, holiday traffic, cooking nightmares, screaming kids who are not yours so you can't beat them (j/k), too many dysfunctional family members in one place at one time.
Let's face it - crazy is the gift that keeps on giving!
All this in mind, last year I wrote this list of things which can help anyone stay cool as a cucumber over the next couple of weeks. Cuz ya know, Santa would probably frown upon us taking a hostage or something.
1. Attitude of Gratitude. Thank you. Thank You. Thank You. Say it early and often. Another thing I've been working on is when someone says "thank you," to respond with "my pleasure." Okay, so I got this from the mom on 19 Kids & Counting. It's still valid. Try it.
2. Square Breathing. This is one of my favorite stress relievers. Breathe in for four slow counts (1....2....3....4). Hold the breath for four slow counts (1....2....3....4). Breathe out for four slow counts (1....2....3....4). Hold for four slow counts (1....2....3....4). Do this cycle several times until the urge to scream goes away. Keep it calm and slow. If you find yourself breathing in and out too quickly, count to eight. Hyperventilating and passing out is not the goal. No blue people.
3. Heart Glow. Another meditative technique which I love, love, love. Close your eyes. Take slow, deep, calm breaths. As you breathe in, imagine a little glow in your chest near your heart. Like a pilot light or the flame of a match. As you breathe out, picture the light getting bigger. As it grows, imagine feelings of peace and happiness also growing. Keep breathing as the light and happiness fills your whole body. Then, the glow completely surrounds you. Finally, imagine that you are a beacon of light and happiness radiating out into the world. Rinse. Repeat.
4. Smile Dammit! Go ahead. Turn that frown upside down. Smiling has been called "free therapy." There is a scientific theory that smiling actually "provides enough peripheral information to drive positive emotional experience." Basically, faking it helps make it. For me, it also helps me if I see other people smiling and laughing, especially my kids. So give a tickle, tell a joke, sit on a whoopee cushion. Yuck it up. It's all good.
5. Let Go & Grow. Send that inner control freak on vacation. If you've ever planned any big occasion or event, you should know by now that things often don't go as planned. I tend to be overly organized as a coping mechanism. So when someone messes with my best laid plans, I really have to remind myself to go with the flow.
The bottom line is this:
Regardless of religious beliefs, holidays are about being together, appreciating, enjoying and rejoicing. Getting all stressed out somewhat defeats the purpose, right?
Wishing you health, happiness & prosperity!