My Zen

Family Time and Decompressing

The holidays are here. Let us consider that for a moment.

Yes, it is a wonderful time of year where we get to see family and friends that we may not see any other time. It is a time for enjoying wonderful food and carrying on traditions; for sharing joy and happiness with everyone surrounding us.

The holidays are a little different for me this year. I am of course living in an area where snow doesn’t really happen and the temperature hasn’t dropped below 40 degrees (and that is in the middle of the night). I am used to blizzards and bundling up to go outside. So it does not feel like Christmas will be here in 4 weeks. Nonetheless, it is still coming. And soon.

That also means my anxiety is increasing. The simple environmental stimulation from being in a crowd of people can be incredibly overwhelming. Maybe you aren’t aware of that. If that is the case, a part of me envies you.

The past few days my father has been visiting. I love that and I am absolutely enjoying him being here, but I also notice that my sensitivity is heightened.

I am frustrated easily.

I am quick to get emotional.

I am hard on myself for fear of not impressing those around me.

Today, I baked my so-not-famous pumpkin pie from scratch. All was well until I had to cover the edges with aluminum foil to prevent it from burning!!!!! Who knew such a small, minor detail could cause so much frustration and tears. Thank goodness my sister was not so anxious at the moment and fixed it for me. It could have been disastrous…(dramatic much, Moll?)

So here is my advice. To you and to myself.

1) Learn how to decompress. Whatever that means for you. For me, it is yoga. And I highly recommend that. Yoga doesn’t mean that you have to do some ridiculous series of poses. It may mean that you sit in a room, alone, in child’s pose and close your eyes for 5 minutes. You breathe. Focus on that breath. Put your energy there and take your mind off of everything going on around you. It will help. I swear. If yoga and breathing is not your thing…try something else. Reading.Taking a walk. Cooking. Taking a bath. I’ve taken up knitting. It doesn’t matter what it is. What matters is that you are taking a moment completely for yourself to get away from everything else and giving your mind a break.

2) Enjoy your meal, but don’t over-do it. For the simple reason that eating too much and being over-stuffed can make you feel gassy and bloated. And when people physically don’t feel well, they tend to be anxious and not great company.

3) Know when to walk away from the situation and let someone else take over. Cooking? Baking? This is the moment right before you completely sabotage all the hard work you have done for something silly like getting the aluminum foil to stay on your pie pan. Just ask for help. Don’t be proud.

4) Find time for activity, especially if it is part of your daily routine. Many people travel and that means being completely out of a normal routine. If you are really ambitious…find a yoga class. Find a gym and jump on the elliptical or lift weights. If you are less ambitious..stretch in your guest-room; go for a 20-minute jog. Utilize pinterest and find a 15-minute workout to jump-start your day. Its good for you physically AND will release some endorphins to help stabilize your mood.

5) Enjoy the moment and don’t take anything too seriously. The holidays are supposed to be a happy time. No matter what has happened or how things turn out…you are surrounded by people who love you and are happy to just be spending time with you. The food; the presents. They are all consolation prizes.

And for those of you who were worried about my pie…it turned out great and I can give you the recipe if you’d like 🙂

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