Nothing this year is the same as it was before. Covid is spreading rapidly so that many of us will be celebrating the holidays within our own households. The good news is that this year we won’t have to worry about preparing vast quantities of food, polishing silver, or checking for spots on our water glasses—and if our family would prefer celebrating Thanksgiving with take-out pizza—so be it!
Some people love decorating for the holidays, but this year we may have limited energy or financial resources and might find it exhausting. A few pumpkins, a pot of red poinsettias, an heirloom menorah, or a lovely kinara are all that are required to set a holiday theme and if we have kids, we can put them in charge.
If we insist on setting a proper holiday table, we can set one place as an example and then have our kids—including teens—do the rest. After all, it is our job to prepare the next generation for adulthood, and if no one is willing to help, order a complete meal from a grocery store or restaurant—or at least threaten your gang that that’s what you intend to do, then stand back and see what happens!
Relax. When our feelings are out of control, our body releases adrenaline which stresses us out even more. Unclench your jaw, unstick your tongue from the roof of your mouth and let your shoulders sag. It’s okay to take a break when we are overwhelmed. Something as simple as stepping outdoors and hugging a tree can help us focus and increase our ability to attend to problems that may seem overwhelming.
A little reward is a nice distraction; it’s fine to allow ourselves a treat when we feel as if we are stretched to the max. A soothing cup of hot tea, a sniff of calming fragrance, or a square of dark chocolate are soothing to the reward centers in our brain. Then ask if what we are stressing over will even matter a few years from now because stepping back and putting things into perspective can help a lot.
To boost our confidence, we can do the hardest jobs first and get them out of the way so that when we are tired, we will already have the worst jobs done and will only have simpler tasks remaining. Get in the spirit! Holiday festivities are all about conversation, friendship, and family even though the conversations this year will probably have to be on Zoom.
Turn on some zippy music. Clap your hands. Pat yourself on the back—and consider it done! It’s time for simplicity, celebration, and maybe even a little joy.
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