By Dino Dizdarevic
Holidays are supposed be the time of year when we all shift into lower gear, take a step back, and appreciate all the people and things we are thankful for. I said “supposed to” because unfortunately, as most of us have experienced already, that it is not what actually happens. If your lives, families, and communities are anything like mine, the holidays instead become the most stressful time of year.
During this time, all I see when I step outside is folks doing a mad dash for things forgotten for dinner feasts, or last minute shoppers in desperate attempts to cross another name from their Christmas lists. Dads hanging from roofs in tangled Christmas lights, mothers dragging screaming children through grocery stores, or my favorite, wreath-decorated “sleighs” (with what at other times of the year are the kindest, sweetest grandmas behind the steering wheel), barreling down the road while doing their best NASCAR impression and sporting a serious case of road rage. These are only some of the sights I see, all to the sound of every local radio station looping what seems to be the same Christmas carol, over and over for the umpteenth time. Oh what fun.
So before you, too, develop an uncontrollable twitch as a result of these holidays, just remember that no matter how those around you act, you are in control of your own attitude. Now, since that is a lot easier said than done (and all of us could use a little help every now and then), here are several suggestions to decompress and take some of the stress away to get you into the New Year, even if they are only temporary fixes:
- MAKE A LIST
Santa’s not only one making a list and checking it twice. When the number of things that need to get done become so overwhelming that I begin to lose track of them, or run out of fingers and toes to count them on, out comes the trusty notepad. Get those to-dos out of your head and onto a notepad, and you’ll feel much better not having one more thing to remember. Besides, nothing beats the feeling of accomplishment you get when you start checking things off!
- PACE YOURSELF
Nobody said that the list you made above had to be all done today. Some of you will say “You’re right. It had to be done yesterday!!!” Stop it. You stop that, right now. That kind of talk will only bring on more stress, and that’s not going to help either of us. Truth is, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither will whatever else tops your list. Take a breather, and focus on four or five most important things that need to be done that day. Remember, it’s important to think no further than today because if not, you will get overwhelmed. And then the vicious stress cycle begins anew.
- EAT A WELL-BALANCED DIET
Nothing beats that feeling you get after stuffing yourself with turkey and all the trimmings, then going for a brisk jog – said nobody, ever. Although it’s expected that during the holidays, you are going to indulge a little more than you usually would the rest of the year, it doesn’t have to be a free-for-all on your plate every day. In between the times you plan on having those big meals, eat smaller portions, and eat them more often. Ideally, if time allows (HA!), eat about six to seven small meals per day. And don’t wait until you’re hungry – by then, it’s too late. I’m sure you’ve heard it before, but that’s because it works. You will look and feel a lot better, and you’ll have one less thing to stress over. Plus, your pants will thank you.
- EAT MORE CHOCOLATE!
Although it’s close to the bottom of the list, this one should have been at the top of the list – but then you wouldn’t read the others above it!
Now as if you didn’t have a good enough excuse to do it already, an article on webmd.com says that “dark chocolate can decrease stress hormone levels.” “But didn’t you just say that we should eat a well-balanced diet?” Moderation is key, folks. Besides, I never claimed to have all the answers, or that I’m always right. Just ask my wife.
Out of all the other options, this one is my favorite, and by far, the easiest. That is, unless you look on the shelves or in the pantry, and someone’s already beat you to the last of it. Now, unless you’re willing to brave the crowds for your chocolate fix, you’re out of luck.
But you don’t have to be! Go to our website at www.ediblegiftsplus.com and help us, help you. Or don’t. You don’t have to – maybe one of the other tips works better for you. But hey, let’s be realistic here. What works better than chocolate? The answer is “nothing,” folks. Absolutely nothing.
Now, although we don’t do same-day delivery, we can have it there next day. And no, you don’t have to share.
For those poor souls with dairy allergies that are feeling left out right about now, fret not! Due to our youngest son’s dairy allergy, my wife has discovered a dairy, nut, AND soy free alternative! Although you may not be able to find products with these options on our website yet, and because we know there’s little worse than watching others eat tasty treats that you would literally risk life and limb to eat, we had to find an alternative.
With these, you won’t have to sacrifice anything, because the chocolate chips my wife discovered taste EXACTLY like the real thing! They’re made by a company named Enjoy Life, and not only do they carry allergen-free chocolate, but a whole line of tasty, allergy-friendly snacks.
- GET AWAY
Before you go getting all excited, this doesn’t mean “go to Hawaii” or “book a vacation to Fiji” – although that would be nice. However, for most of us, that isn’t an option. At least not at this time of year.
Instead, if you’re at home and things get to be a bit much, take 10, 15, or 30 minutes, or even an hour and go to your room, or go “grab something from the store you forgot” and drive aimlessly around your neighborhood, or go park somewhere to be by yourself. Turn the radio up and sing at the top of your lungs. Talk to yourself. Or cry. Or do all three at the same time, but that requires a level of talent I simply do not possess.
This option is ideal when having family over and that one cousin, aunt, uncle, or in-law just doesn’t know how to take a subtle hint. Or an obvious one. Face it, you’re not going to change them. So run away to your room, run away to your car, or run away anywhere you can be alone, and preserve your sanity. It will all be over soon.
Author’s Note: This article started as “7 tips,” but between family phone calls, crying babies, needy pets, and minutes required to write this article turning into hours, the author made an executive decision to narrow the list down to “5 tips.” He can now be found in his room, eating some chocolate.