Reducing Holiday Stress

Much of the stress during the holiday season is due to expectations. If you can question the expectations in your head, then you can help yourself deal with the anxiety. 

The first thing to realize is that all of the expectations that you have for yourself were not originally your own. You can make a list of the things that you expect yourself to be able to do and then question each one. 

Take them one at a time and ask yourself if the expectation is reasonable. Then question the expectation as to whether it was your own picture of how the holidays “should” be or if it was programmed into you by someone else.

Some things were programmed into us by our parents from when we were very young. This does not mean that you have to keep it. For example, if you were taught that you have to make dinner and have all the relatives at your house for dinner …ask yourself if that was your desire or of that was someone else’s desire. 

On the other hand, maybe you were taught that you have to travel out of state to have dinner with your mother in law on Christmas. Maybe you have faithfully done this every year for 15 years now. 

There is not rule that says you have to do the same thing every year just because you are “expected” to do it this way. You should get a turn to do something you actually want to do. 

What is the point of the holidays if you get extreme anxiety preparing for them, no one realizes just how much you sacrificed and then you are relieved when the whole thing is over. 

It can be like a torturous chore that has thankless results. Even the people that have expectations of how you are going to so things, will not really appreciate it. 

Holidays are about peace , happiness, connection and showing others that you care about them. So find the ways that you can show your loved ones that you care….without causing yourself depression and anxiety.

You may come from a family that always buys gifts for each other, but you are a craft lover and would much more enjoy making the gifts yourself. Or maybe your family expects home made gifts but it would be easier with your time constraints, to order them on Amazon. 

Other people are not living your day to day life and they do not know how hard things are for you. The chores of the holiday season can be way too much, on top of your already hectic schedule. 

You can tell people that you are making a few changes this year. Think about what you always do and see what things you do not want to do that way. Think of creative ideas to do things differently this year. 

People may fuss at you. That is true. But you have to weigh dealing with someone else being upset, against all the anxiety you will go through …just for them to complain anyway….

Share Your Thanksgiving with Gentlekindness Blog

eating

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Take a break

self care

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Serenity

wharton lake pretty

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turkey 22

It is important to take some time for yourself. The hustle and bustle can make you focus on others and forget about yourself.
Can you think of something to do for yourself that will make your day a little easier or a little better?
You might take a short walk, watch some funny YouTube videos, make a phone call to someone you love to talk to…or….what can you do to take care of yourself today?

…If you are struggling with an invisible illness like chronic pain, depression, chronic illness, PTSD from domestic abuse, or anything that makes you feel isolated from other people, you need support. 

If you are feeling alone, the holidays can be very hard. Many people get more depressed during the holidays. Since this is the beginning of the holiday season, let us begin it together. 

Stay in touch here today and don’t feel alone. 

How to Be a Real Man / There are Rules you Know …LOL

Ok, so I am looking on Amazon for Christmas gifts and there it is !  It was in the teenager books section.

Manual of Manhood: How to Cook the Perfect Steak,  Change a Tire , Impress a Girl and 97 Other Things you Need to Survive. 

Besides the fact that I have yet to meet a guy who can do all three of those things,  is this really what it means to be a man?  Do we want to tell our teenage boys that their priority in life is to cook meat and do some peacocking to impress a girl?

I would venture to say that there are a few things that are more important on the priorities list. If I had a son, he could call AAA, eat spaghetti and find a girl that appreciates him for who he is, not what kind of song and dance he puts on. Wow !

These are the things a man needs to “Survive?” I know lots of guys that survive just fine and are not very good at any of these things. What kind of pressure are we putting on our poor teenage boys to be “the picture of manhood?”

OK now, just for fun, I waited until I was writing this post, to look at the chapters in the Amazon sneak peak.  So let’s look together and see what else the author claims is necessary for our boys to grow up into “real men.”…..

Here we go…The author Jonathan Catherman tells our boys that as a  “man in the making ” they will need to know how to do this stuff…

Wear Cologne  Correctly

Throw a Football (wow, that seems a bit of a stretch to learn from reading a book !)

Behave During a Traffic Stop (???)

Fold a Shirt

Grill a Steak

Clean a Bathroom

and … Find a Stud in the Wall

Ok, all you men out there. If you are falling short on any of these , you might not be able to impress me LOL

Just posted this in hopes that a little laughter would reduce your holiday anxiety

Happy Amazon Shopping, only 12 hours and 8 minutes left 🙂 if you are using 2 day shipping!

Annie

Empathy and Compassion

I watched a short  video today by  by Brene Brown. It is a cartoonized portrayal of characters showing empathy. I felt inspired by this video to post my own thoughts about empathy and compassion.

.. The ideas in this video are powerful and it is well explained in the video.. In order to really listen to someone in a way that helps them, we have to find something in ourselves that helps up to relate to their situation.

It could be that someone has a problem that we have not experienced. But there is a good chance that the emotions they are feeling are things we have felt before.

I am going to give my own feelings and experiences and then I will put a link to the video that inspired me to post this.

I have never had Alzheimer’s disease yet I am able to empathize and connect with my clients in a meaningful way. If one of them is feeling scared because she does not know where she is , I can relate that feeling.

I once was  very lost in Baltimore City in a downtown neighborhood, I did not belong in. I was driving all by myself and I became very disoriented and could not understand the map.

I did not feel safe stopping to ask for help. I was afraid something bad would happen to me.

I could run out of gas or become so upset that I would have to pull over. The neighborhood was full of gangs and had a high crime rate.  Being lost there felt very dangerous and I was in extreme panic..

This is how it feels sometimes  to someone with Alzheimer’s disease or any kind of dementia.

They come out of their room and have no idea where they are. They do not recognize the people from yesterday. Everything is strange and frightening. They do not know who is safe or who they can ask for help.They are afraid of what bad things could happen to them, because they are alone and lost in a strange place.

So, in this way, I can draw from an experience in my memory, to put myself in their place.

If you begin by feeling this vulnerability in yourself then you can connect with the person.

Once I see what they are feeling and connect with that feeling inside of myself, I can begin to say and do the things that will help them.

I will say to them ,”I know you feel scared. You don’t know where you are. This is a safe place for you to be.”

I explain to them,  “The people here are nice and we are here to take care of you and make sure your needs are met. I will walk with you and show you your room and the dining room where we will eat. See, there are your things and your bed. You have a nice room here that you can sleep in tonight. You are safe. You are safe.”

It feels good when someone realizes that you really do understand. It is the best way to help someone else. You validate their emotions of  fears, sadness, depression or anxiety. Let them know that you have felt that way before also.

“I have been afraid before also. If I was here and did not know where I was , I would be afraid too. But you are safe and everything will be ok tonight for you. I will be here to help you find your way.”

We all need someone to help us find our way sometimes. The compassion of one person to another is true humanity.

See the link for the video below. It is very short, only about 2 minutes.

Namaste,

Annie

A Corner That’s Quiet

I just want to rest

Away from the stress

A corner that’s quiet

Please let me try it

Away from the mean ones

Just myself alone

To think my own thoughts

To cry and to moan

To feel what I feel

Without being told

Just who I should be

And what I should own

I just want to sit

In silence right here

No yelling or scolding

No judgement or pain

I want to be me

The way that I am

In my perfect world

Inside of my heart

Because all that I own

Is inside of my soul

They can’t take it from me

I won’t give them control

Live Like It’s Your Last Day

Live like it’s your last day

To hope

To Love

To be real

Live like it’s your last day

To create

To become

To feel

Live like it’s your last day

 Inspire and encourage

 Comfort and support

 Connect and discuss

Live like it’s your last day

To discover and to share

To believe and teach the others

To be sisters, friends and brothers

Live like it’s your last day

Your uniqueness must be shared

Your creativity and your flair

Your  true nature is always there

 

Shopping During the Holidays and Social Anxiety Order

OMG! Holy Crap! What is with these people??

They are everywhere. They are aggressive and impatient. They are rude. They are all on top of me, in front of me and behind me. I hate grocery shopping this time of year. It either gets worse every year or I get more anxiety from it every year.

It starts on the way to the store. There is traffic everywhere and many people think that their holiday errands are more important than everyone else’s. I was driving this evening on a back road with a speed limit of 30 mph.

I was going 35 and this big ass truck is practically in the backseat of my car. The brights were on , as if it isn’t bad enough when a truck is that close and their lights are high enough to be too bright to start with.

I am not going to speed up because some bully guy is driving up on top of my car. It is too dangerous to speed up. I have learned the hard way that it does not satisfy them.

They are stilled annoyed at you from driving the speed limit to start with and will still ride right up on you, You can’t slow back down if you see police or anything or if the road changes to a lower speed limit. They won’t allow you to slow down.

So then I slowed down to turn into the grocery store and he got madder and hit his gas so hard that he scared me whipping around to pass my little car. I can’t stand this kind of bullying.

Then the parking lot at the grocery store is a nightmare. People drive and walk right in front of you. You can’t even get into a parking space. People will hang their car doors open for 5 minutes to talk to someone they just happened to run into. They have one foot in their car while they are standing there blocking the open parking space.

I the store the real zoo begins. You would think these people have never been in a grocery store before. They block the aisles with their cart and don’t try to move at all to let you pass. They will stand in front of whatever food you need to get to and just stand there talking on their cell phone, while you wait.

They can see you, can’t they? Why do they think I am standing behind their cart and waiting?

God forbid you say something to them. They roll their eyes at you for interrupting their conversation. Is their cell phone conversation so important that they had to have it right in front of the frozen pizza case?

In the check-out aisle these people bring 85 coupons with expired dates and argue with the cashier, while the line backs up. Then they write a personal check, that they have not filled the paperwork out at customer service for.

They get frustrated with the poor cashier who is putting up with this for minimum wage. By the time you get to the register, the cashier is all ready to defend themselves.

On the way out, some little kid was playing with a huge orange shovel (the big ones that are for the driveway). His mother is oblivious, while he pushes the thing right towards my feet. He very nearly tripped me as I was trying to get out of the store alive.

Mom finally notices, as he almost knocks down an old woman. Mom does not stop him. She continues holding up the cashier as she talks on the cell phone while checking out her groceries.

What is the deal with people on their cell phones asking the cashier to WAIT A MINUTE while they talk on the phone? Can’t they tell the person on the cell phone to wait a minute?

Where do people’s manners go during the holidays? Maybe it is just in New Jersey. I dont know. People here are not usually considerate to begin with, and it seems to get amplified by the season.

If a car slows down to wave to me, to let me out onto the road, I have to check their licence plate to see if they are from California or some other place. It is so rare for NJ plates to ever let you out in front of them.

I don’t even go to the malls unless my kids really want to. Women turn into aggressive shopping monsters.

Merchandise is knocked onto the floors and it is left there. People actually walk over it or even step on top of it.

They will run on front of you to grab the last Monster High doll right off the shelf in front of you. Even if they saw you reaching for it. (My youngest is a big Monster High fan)

So I don’t know what I was thinking, going to the grocery store at 8pm this evening. I will go back to my midnight grocery shopping. For everything else – THANK GOD FOR AMAZON !

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