Done retire, ReFire: Dealing with holiday stress

By Gail Supplee Tatum, Columnist, The Times

Here we are, at the last month of not only the year but of the decade!

It’s also a shorter holiday season, since Thanksgiving came late this year.

How does the above make you feel?

For many, these thoughts can bring on feelings of stress and anxiousness, especially when they are thought of at the same time!

Lately, I’ve had many conversations about multi-tasking and multi-thinking. It used to be thought of as a good thing. At least, that’s what was instilled in me, but it as it turns out, as much as we humans think our brains can have more than one thought at a time, or do more than one thing at a time, we cannot. Something falls off or is forgotten and has to be repeated.

Let’s take one thing at a time, shall we, and see what the conclusion is.

We’ll start with thinking about the fact that we are in the last month of the year.

Do you look back on the year and recall memorable moments and satisfying accomplishments that put a smile on your face? Were there sad moments and disappointments? All of these moments and events mold us, each and every day and we become stronger, more determined, wiser and humbled, hopefully. For example, Ebenezer Scrooge was forced to look back on his life, to see where his anger and bitterness began and was shown a broader view of his life and how he negatively affected the people around him, in order to see the light and turn his bitterness into love and through the joy of giving he positively affected the people around him as well as his community.

Thinking of the fact that we are in the last month of the decade can bring on more emotion and stress that just thinking back on the year.

Thinking of ten years of living can include many ups and downs. It can be summed up by answering a few key questions. What did you learn about yourself, about others and about life? If you thought you’d be further along in your life than you are, then focus on what you have  accomplished. For example, maybe you were working towards more things or being financially more comfortable, but instead, you’re family grew, you’ve been living on one income and your expenses have increased, as they do with more mouths to feed. Many would argue that what did transpire has much more value and brings much more satisfaction, in spite of the struggle, than any amount of money or status. Looking at the broader view will bring more peace and less unsettledness.

Clearly my thoughts go much deeper than the twenty-two shopping days that are left!

Having said that, let’s talk about it.

Here are a few easy suggestions to get through it without breaking the bank (because that’s the true stressor!)

  1. Put the credit cards away! Don’t max them out and then be in financial stress until they are paid off. Figure out how much you can comfortably spend on those on your list and stick to it!
  2. Make as many gifts as you can, yourself. For example, if you take a great picture, print it out and frame it. Things like this take little time and money.
  3. Give the gift of YOU! Your time will affect more and will be viewed as more valuable than anything you would buy.

We are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas time. Laura Ingalls Wilder

Keep your eyes open.  Look around.  See the sparkle and joy the season brings and a hope for a better tomorrow.”  Gail Supplee Tatum

Peace and blessing to you all during this most joyous season.

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