Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Blogging Out Loud: Pressure Over The Holidays

Deb and Barbara: Now that we're on the other side, be honest, do you succumb to the holiday pressure? If so, any tricks?




Barbara: Okay, I have to add here that I've developed a coping strategy that I almost forgot to share. I make lists on my computer that I update and tweak every year that help me with my grocery shopping, special recipes (with all the specific tweaks for vegans and meat-eaters), and time management. It makes such a difference to my stress levels and efficiency to have a reference list I can call up (or print out; or email myself: ie my shopping lists) at a moment's notice.

25 comments:

  1. I found the traditions of decorating the house and preparing all the food soothing this year. Initially, I was dreading it because it is my first Christmas without Anne, but the boys delight in the house, the dinners, some other traditions which we changed a bit was infectious and the Christmas that I was dreading turned out to be lovely.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ohhh, so wonderful, Jo! Thrilled to hear it! Just made my day.

      Delete
  2. YOU'LL GET GIFTS BUT I NEED ADDRESSES! Email them to me or PM on Facebook. And then you can expect Indian goodies in a few weeks! No Barb, I'm not listening to you! You are getting gifts. I promised no gifts next year. We didnt have anything about this year in the agreement. BWAHAHAHA. I love giving gifts,*sad music plays* dont deprive me of that joy....Ok I'll stop Im getting dramatic and my accent is changing.

    Even though I dont celebrate Christmas NOW. I have that thing about making it memorable or making it PERFECT!!! as I call it. Yes with the exclamation marks. There are some things that I do to cope with stress.
    One, there are things that we think we'll forget last minute, so before going to sleep think "I want this thing done tomorrow and I want to remember it". It sounds stupid but it works most of the times.
    Two, I set loads of alarms on my phone. And attach notes to them, so no matter what I'm doing the alarm reminds me of things.
    Three, you can see if you have "sticky notes" app on your cell phone or Computer. I have that app and you get a virtual sticky note and you can put some important stuff on it. It will stay on even if you reboot a million times. You have to disable it yourself. And easy to tweak, easy to remember.
    Four, Whenever you feel tooooo much pressure. Stop. Close your eyes, take five deep breaths. Three counts of inhaling and five counts of exhaling in each breath. Open your eyes, look around you, take in every detail from the ticking of a clock to the sound of the vehicle in the street. And after a minute or so get back to work. You'll feel very fresh and you'll think clearly!
    And Five, now this might sound stupid to skeptics but this works....to reduce the pressure. Spend 68 seconds remembering or visualizing the Perfect Christmas. It takes a while to visualize because our negative side keeps popping up and wrecking things so I suggest remembering the best Christmas of your life. Remember every little detail, revel in every aspect, RELIVE IT! Do this for 68 seconds everyday (17 seconds is fine too if you find it boring) and I PROMISE you, it will reduce your stress and the next Christmas time will be soooooo AWESOME, IT'LL KNOCK YOUR SOCKS OFF!

    Ive got more! Lemme know if you wanna hear it!

    And ADDRESSES..PLEASE.. IF YOU WANT GIFTS OFCOURSE! <3

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No gifts, Shalaka ;) And I love your coping strategies. These all sound effective! Thank you!

      Delete
    2. Fine no gifts...I'll rewrite the agreement ;). Lol.

      Delete
  3. No need to cope as I don't celebrate Christmas. I just hang out at a neighbor's and eat my way through their food.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Madge! I'd do the same. You're soooo like me..lol...I LOVE YOU!! haha

      Delete
  4. ...and exhale! While I have found this Christmas to be the most disorganized one ever for me, I keep a very simple idea in my head all the time - It's okay and it doesn't matter - which has gotten me through, emotionally but crap, my body is tired! A last minute switch of dinner being hosted by me to meet the sis' new beau and boys, having some key 'elves' come down sick during set up and delivery of my work's (LAMP CHC) annual toy distribution and trying to continue to make Christmas exciting and unpredictable for my older kids (there is sooo much more fun to be had when they're little!) may have put me over the edge. However, my theme survived and we now have new friends added to the circle, over 400 children received new gifts because of the amazingly generous community I live and work in and I managed to surprise my baby boys! Here's wishing you and your's an amazing year filled with love, health, happiness and adventure!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We were just talking about Christmas changing as the kids get older. It's all about shifting expectations, isn't it? So glad your "almost thwarted" plans literally shifted into place!

      Delete
  5. Oh Deb, begging for presents! Love that!
    I am a last minute kind of gal. I make plans about what I would like to get done, then I do something else. I don't do a lot of baking/cooking thankfully. There is only one family member that I do that for and it's because he can't do it and no one else really seems to care enough to do it for him. I do my best to make sure he has a wonderful Christmas, even on my college student budget.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is so so so heartwarming, Steph. We need more like you xo

      Delete
  6. Deb, isn't my love and adoration enough of a gift? :)

    Most years, my husband, Odin and I navigate our way between each side of the family and eat their food. When Odin was much younger, he became very upset when we tried to decorate (read decorate as "change") the house in any way shape or form (thank you, autism). So, I never really got into that. My family aren't into the sweets, so I don't have to worry about baking.

    This year, Christmas Eve and Day was spent with my in-laws (which included me making a trip to the ER to spend some "quality time" with my sister who was working - but I'm okay!). One of my sister-in-laws came up from Halifax, and her kids came up from Regina. Second Christmas will be on New Years with my family - celebrating with my brother and nephew who are traveling from Vancouver.

    I guess I'm quite fortunate because my family has always indicated that Christmas doesn't need to be perfect. As long as we get together and have a good time, that's what's important. The rest are just frills...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And what's less perfect than spending part of the holidays in the er??? Argh. Thanks for letting us know you're okay!! I never processed that part of autism and decorating a house for the holidays - makes so much sense. Again, you made it what it needed to be for you guys. Love that. Sounds like you have generated lots of "frills", Jo.

      Delete
    2. yup. Low key frills. I like them.

      My trip to the er was because I managed to kneel and break my in-law's sofa while reaching for a lovely Christmas gift (a picture book from a family gathering we had in August - complete with a professional photographer session). Then, I reeled from the broken sofa to stumble over a very lovely Egyptian coffee table (breaking that), and landing on my left hand with style, causing me to be unable to move that thumb. Oh, did I mention that also recovering from carpal tunnel release surgery that I had last week? My left wrist was done...

      X-rays were taken, a visit with my sister when she was between admitting new patients, and 3.5 hours later to learn that nothing looks fractured on the x-ray, and the stitches from the incision are just fine, but come back next week if it still hurts. Here, have a tensor bandage... LOL.

      I guess I'm not like a leaf on the wind. I can't soar. :)

      Now, my new New Year's resolution is to overcome my embarrassment about this.

      Delete
  7. Barb and Deb, as I said before, we did some new traditions this year. Since we celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve, we always made the same dinner. So this year, we went out to eat. I made sure to pick a new restaurant. At first dad, was a bit subdued, but as the courses progressed, he kept going on and on about the food. Let me tell you, it was a fabulous evening. It is not that I don't want my dad to think about my mom, it just breaks my heart when he gets so sad with the memories. This was the reason for starting new traditions this year. It really worked.
    The best part of the evening, was when my dad asked for the check, my brother and I piped up, "but we haven't seen the dessert tray." That sent all three of us into a fit of laughter. The crème brule was divine.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. These posts are just killing me, Heidi (in a very very good way). Man, this is a heart-warmer for how to navigate the "new" holidays. Brilliant, positive, loving. Thank you so much for sharing!! xo

      Delete
  8. My Christmas has been fine. My sister didn't take any part in decorating the tree because she got mad about some little joke her husband told. The next day, Christmas eve, I did the carrot casserole thingy and all she said about it was "not done the way I would have done it". I actually am not sure if she has even participated with decoration or food this year at all. I am pretty sure she might be slightly depressed. I've just kept my mouth shut, watched tv, read a book and been online. So kept the status quo through out Xmas. Tomorrow I will continue working and counting the days I can move again.

    That's my coping mechanism also. Just count for the seconds, minutes, whatever to pass. Next year I will not spend the holidays with family. I need my sanity, so I rather be alone. Compared to my childhood this is nothing. I don't need to choose my favourite gift and I don't need to travel. I don't need to keep a smile on my face if I don't want to. Don't have to pretend to be healthy while actually I'll, so that I could see my dad. So little annoyance from my sister means that I had a good Xmas. I am just not used to living with other people. I have moved out 14,5 years ago and lived truly by myself (no roommates) for 9 years.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think you are very wise to realize it's just not working for you and then coming up with the best solution for those needs. It's really too bad your sister might be struggling with depression. I hope she finds the help she needs. Sending you all the best, Kasku!

      Delete
  9. I really don't feel pressured into doing all the holiday things like baking cookies or putting up a million things. For me, I am kind of like you all. If I get all my holiday things done well then I'm set and if I don't then oh well. I figure when people come over to my home for my home for the holidays it should not be about how my home looks or if I have baked sweets and goodies ,as long as I am with my family that's all that matters. The only thing that I do have to worry about is my Tree. I have two trees up every year. One in the Kitchen and one in the living area. As long as I have both up and decorated I'm good to go.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wish there was a way we could teach this lesson to my mother. "Oh, what would people think if they saw the house this way?" They'd think the people that live there have busy lives and do the best they can, and oh, also have 4 cats, so forgive a cat hair here and there and just be happy we came to see you.

      Delete
    2. Lyndsie, great attitude! Dawn, this is the best possible advice for anyone struggling with "what needs to be done". Hope your mom can get there!

      Delete
  10. I have decided not to feel pressured into doing anything to try to accomplish an impossible mission. I do this because of my mother. She thinks THIS needs to be done and THAT'S necessary and so on and so forth. I will give her credit--she has down-sized a lot. Instead of cooking, she orders fettucini alfredo, eggplant parm, and a couple of other things from a local italian place.

    She still freaks out on gifts. I've discovered and accepted that I CAN'T. I can't say, "I HAVE TO GET THIS DONE TODAY." My mood and personal comfort level dictate when I shop. I had the best time last Saturday at Kohl's, which is on the store food chain between Target and Macy's. (No toys or rakes, so closer to Macy's, merchandise-wise.)

    ANYWAY, Kohl's was open til midnight, so at 11pm, I was calmly wandering the store and commiserating with a fellow customer re: the disgust we both felt when we walked by the VALENTINE wash cloths and hand towels. Grrrrr....

    I pride myself on finding THE perfect gift for the folks I buy for. My dad's gift, was the winner this year, as usual. I found a coffee mug with Henry VIII and his wives pictured on it. When you pour in hot water, the wives disappear and what appears is the date and circumstances under which they died. He LOVES it. Twice he's poured cold coffee into it, microwaved it, and got all tickled when it worked. I am PROUD of that one.

    So I avoid pressure when I can because I HAVE to. The stress can get too overwhelming to do Christmas any other way.

    The fact that I use "Do Christmas" instead of "enjoy" or "celebrate" it is all the explanation that's needed. (And yet, I rolled on.)


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And it also sounds like you found your fun in it -- even if it does come through a new Christmas cup and your dad's delight in it. BTW, that cup sounds brilliant! Thanks, Dawn, I think many people will relate to this.

      Delete
  11. Oh My God what a hoot!!!!!! Love you guys - you are hilarious!!! I don't feel pressure. I do what I can and enjoy it. I was quite bummed this year that because of finances, I had to cut way back on presents for my kids but I didn't let it totally get me down and my kids were just as appreciative and seemingly happy as ever so......YAYYYYY!!!!

    ReplyDelete

We love it when you share your own stories and experiences! Welcome.