By Nancy Virden (c) 2019
There’s stress, and then there’s holiday stress. In the realm of your average everyday pressures, holidays may be close to the worst.
Cathy’s pressures this year come from finances and unrealistic expectations she believes her family of origin holds for her. Close relatives are scattered all over the country. Old traditions persist anyway, the most important of which is getting together on Christmas Day no matter the cost.
Her family exchanges gifts too. Along with her parents are brothers and sisters. Add a growing list of nephews, nieces, and in-laws, one can see how even buying minimal gifts is a challenge for a normal-sized budget.
Cathy’s limited income has meant that it has often been difficult to go home each December. However, this past year, Cathy was unemployed for a few months. Some of her bills are still in arrears. Her new job does not offer a paid vacation for another nine months.
For you as well as Cathy there is a way to not only survive the holiday season but to enjoy it! Two steps will take you a long way toward calm. In part one of this two-part series, we will look at the first step.
1. At the end of your wits or nerves? Stop everything for a moment.
Stop talking. Stop rushing. Stop cooking or shopping. Stay where you are, take a deep breath and think.
Why? Why am I buying this, or saying this? What is my goal for rushing? Does this actually have to happen now? Does this actually have to happen this way, or at all? Allow the pause to take a minute or two while you concentrate on the answers.
Perhaps you will discover that you are operating on a sense of have-to that does not exist.
Cathy has considered charging all the expenses. Her head pounds at the thought of more debt. She stops in the middle of a store aisle and asks herself the above questions.
She realizes her sense of obligation stems from watching the adults gather and hand out gifts each year that she was growing up. Not only was the group smaller and financially more feasible for gift buying, as an adult Cathy is aware of other ways to let people know she loves them besides going into debt.
Cathy concludes that no, she does not have to go home. Skype or some other facetime program will help make up for not being there. No, she does not have to buy gifts. She and her children can make pretty cards and send them along with stickers, recipes, fun photos, and the like.
Do you see how her holidays changed for the better? With a little honest introspection, her stress turned into fun craft dates with her kids and a calm acceptance of life on life’s terms.
You too are a free agent. If you are unhappy with repetitive cycles of the holiday season, pray about positive and healthy ways to change them.
Today’s Helpful Word
2 Thessalonians 2:16-17
May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.
Always the Fight Ministries (ATFM) has been displaying compassion for those fighting mental illness, addiction, or abuse since 2012. Nancy is the founder and voice of ATFM and openly shares her emotional resurrection from despair. (c)2019 Nancy Virden
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NOTE: I, Nancy, am not a doctor or mental health professional, and speak only from personal experiences and observations. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.
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