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….

3:48 oops 3:49 am Time is Slipping…..Good night post

We are here once again to say good night. The day was long and full of pain and also joy. I just posted my Christmas wish list for all of you. I meant all of it sincerely from my heart.

You have given me a safe haven to express and create. A place to be myself without the usual judgement. It is a valuable gift. You are all beautiful flowers in your weed fields.

https://wordpress.com/page/73602093/1096

I am glad to get to know you all, in your ups and downs. I am blessed to have been accepted into this family of talented and creative thinkers. You are each unique and individual in the way you create and think about the world. I have great respect for those who can think for themselves. It seems rare these days.

Of course, in being independent thinkers, we take a lot of heat and a lot of blows to our self esteem from the world. We each suffer in our way, in order to still hold onto our values and beliefs. In the end that is all we have, so we must continue.

God bless the creators, the inventors, the writers, the philosophers, the thinkers and the true healers. The true healers are the ones who listen, observe and connect. It is the mind/body interconnectedness that needs to be healed as a whole.

In the coming year, I hope that we can explore the connection of the mind and the body. To take care of one, without the other is not effective. We need to be mentally healthy in order to achieve physical health. We need to tend to the needs of our bodies, in order to have mental health.

These are all things I wish for us this Christmas eve day.

I wish for peace on Christmas eve. It should be an evening and a night of peace of the soul and quietness of the mind. Let us try to let go of the anxious thoughts and controlling loops that go round and round. Let us let go of the feeling that we have not done enough or not done well enough.

We have done exactly as we have done. There could have been no more or less. We did what we did. The path is still before us. Some of us have a lot more time to travel the path and some of us have very little time. We don’t really know for sure.

The time we are sure of is the present. We have this present moment to be still. Be still and just be.

You are not your past or your present. You are just who you are right now, at this moment. Let us all take a moment of silent peace within ourselves.

As each of us takes the moment at the time you read this, we will be connected together .

Somewhere in the quantum physics world, all of our individual moments will converge together. Even though each of you will read this post at a different time, in a different time zone, we are all reading it together.

You are all reading it as I am writing it. The reality of the fact that you will read it, is becoming a possibility as the words are flowing off of my finger tips.

It is in the possibilities that we are one. It is in the possibilities that we will all be saved. We will be saved from the suffering in our minds. Keep the possibilities as real as the facts. Eventually, the facts will become secondary to the possibilities.

It is in the possibilities that exists hope, faith, forgiveness, acceptance and peace.

Merry Christmas and love to you all,

Annie

Between All the Rush – poem for my daughter by Annie

Piles of boxes

Tangles of lights

Out of scotch tape

Wrapping all night

Hand cramps from writing

Addresses on cards

They will be late

Like the year before

Lunch with my daughter

Just between us

My favorite part

Is between all the rush

Holiday Drivers – Annie’s twisted Christmas Song tune to Deck the Halls about Aggressive Drivers

Holy crap ! I am trying to drive to get my last minute errands done, like everyone else. Some of these people seem to think that their errands are far more important than everyone else’s. They are getting aggressive in the stores as well as on the road.

I still have to go out twice more today. I have to take my teenager to the mall and I have to take my 12 year old to the shoe store. I have Christmas money from her dad to spend. She has bad feet and has been walking in cheep shoes. So finally I can get her a good pair of shoes. This is a Christmas blessing !

So anyway, there are pedestrians walking in front of my car. They were crossing the road at an intersection. The car behind me is beeping like a maniac for me to go. Where am I supposed to go? He wanted me to run the people over ad leave their dead bodies in the street? Good lord!

So I stated to have an anxiety attack from the bullying on the road. In order to cope with it, I started writing a twisted tune in my head. I will work on it more later today, to come up with a few more verses. But I was singing it to myself in the car and I was laughing. It helped to reduce the anxiety until I made it one more mile to my house.

Here is the beginning of it. This is what I was singing to myself a few minutes ago, i the car.

Deck the Halls with Materialism

Fa la la  la la   – la la la la

Hit the people with precision

Fa la la la la – la la la la

Clear the sidewalk

I’m not kidding

Fa la la la la la – la la la

All the time I will be singing

Fa la la la la – la la la la

I have things I have to do

Fa la la la la – la la la la

I don’t care a crap for you

Fa la la la la – la la la la

Hit the bar, then drive to Walmart

Fa la la – la la la – la la la

I don’t hold the door for old farts

Fa la la la la – la la la la

Aggressive driving is my style

Fa la la la la – la la la la 

Guaranteed to crush your smile

Fa la la la la – la la la la 

Screw the drivers in my way

Fa la la- la la la – la la la 

My  middle finger has something to say

fa la la la la -la la la la 

There’s no time  to be polite

fa la la la la – la la la la 

I don’t see the dumb red light

fa la la la la – la la la la 

Domination,  Annihilation

Fa la la – la la la – la la la

You better take your medication

fa la la la la – la la la la

Christmas Songs and Post Traumatic Stress

I am different from you

Different from other people

I get anxious about things you find easy

Getting up in the morning is terrifying

I can barely leave the house

I get depressed hearing Christmas songs

You love them

I can’t sit in a room full of people

Like you can

With people who  are laughing

Listening to Christmas songs

Singing the words I have heard before

Year after year

Holidays in my past

Traumatic memories

Post Traumatic Stress

Panic attack

Triggered by Christmas songs

I have to leave the room

It is not rude!

It is self protection

Self preservation

It is not appropriate to cry

Listening to the Christmas songs

Everyone enjoys them

But I am different

The songs bring back bad memories

The holiday is not fun for me

My life is different

Not like yours with packages and bows

Mine is full of tears

And post traumatic stress

That blinds my eyes with tears

And puts knots in my belly

I am different from you

You don’t understand me

You do not have the background

Or the point of view

That you could understand

That I am different than you

I am different than the others

Illness rules my mind

Suffering surrounds me

Christmas songs are sad

To my tortured brain

You will not bother to try

To understand

That I am different from you

posted at my new tumblr site  https://www.tumblr.com/blog/anniementalhealth

Snowman Cheese Ball ?

I just saw Walmart’s suggested gift list video suggestions on youtube. Third on the list is a cheeseball shaped like a snowman. It occurs to me that this has “Funny Annie Blog” written all over it. It must be written in cheese wiz…….

Something to look forward to for later.
I really am going back to sleep this time. I never procrastinate…or do I … I will put that thought off until later……hmmm…
Snowman cheeseball! Say it outloud and try not to laugh. See if you can do it !

Amazon shopping … Counting Down…20 hours or 12 hours?

Well it looks like different items have different timers on them. I ordered one that said it had to be ordered within 12 hours and 8 minutes with 2 day shipping to arrive on time. Another item says 20 hours and 15 minutes.

If you have Amazon prime, I think they are still claiming 3 days, but I would order sooner. A couple of years ago, the last minute orders did not arrive on time, even if you ordered within their timer.

My favorite Amazon coupon was from Old Spice which is for body spray.It says, and I quote, “Smellcome to Manhood”

That is the current favorite, As we are counting down, let me know if you see any other funny advertising slogans ! I love to watch the ads and think about the marketing tactics. it is all about psychology. Make them laugh, raise their self-esteem, make them feel guilty, convince them everyone else is doing it, convince them they will be cool to be the first to have it, make them feel clever, put on the pressure that supplies are limited , etc

Ok, back to amazon. Goodnight post forthcoming 🙂

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

Insomnia Poem

Insomnia Sucks
I can’t count the ducks
They say to count sheep
It don’t put me to sleep

Imagery is great
But it keeps me up late

Now it’s 6:30
The dishes are dirty
I know I should wash them
But I want to squash them

If this made you smile
Then it was worthwhile

And I know that you know
And you know that I’m so
And that sounded brainless
The sheep are now nameless
My mind is so aimless

Too tired to write stanzas
About what a woman and man does

This poem gets worse
With Each Passing Verse

Or maybe it’s clever
In some profound way
It might change your life
Or just make you say…

“You should go to sleep
You’re brain is not deep
You’re just overtired
And think you’re inspired
But thank you for trying
Your poem I’ll keep”

So now it is time
To count the damn sheep
And if I am able
I’ll fall fast asleep

And while I am sleeping
I’ll dream I’m awake
And when I am waking
I’ll wish I could sleep

The whole silly thing
It just goes round and round
But now I have you
And you know what I mean
When I say…

That I paint the sheep
Red, blue and green
Cause I can’t count them nightly
And sleep so politely

My Patient with Alzheimer’s disease / dementia is Afraid I will not Find my way Back to Her Again

My sweet lady, I will call her Rosalie, always cries when I leave work for the night. She also gets upset when I leave to go for my dinner break.

I always have known that she likes me there and that she is sad when I leave. But it was not until tonight that I finally realized just why it is so traumatizing for her. Now that I realize it, I can make it better for her.

A visiting nurse came to see Rosalie today. Rosalie took an instant shine to her and  felt very safe with her. The time came for the nurse to leave and poor Rosalie was holding her by her jacket and not letting go. She was crying and begging her to stay.

The nurse and I both tried to reassure Rosalie that she would come back to see her tomorrow. Rosalie said “no she won’t. She has to stay here.”

After the nurse left , I told Rosalie that she would be back tomorrow. Rosalie then said something that has never occurred to me before. She said “No she won’t. How will she find me again? How will she find her way back?”

That is when the realization came over me. Rosalie does not know where she is. She used to have a home and now she does not know how to get back. She does not know where that home is. She could not find it, even if we gave her the car keys and let her go.

She is so lost in time and space that she assumes that everyone else is too. The fact that the nurse happened to find Rosalie today, does not necessarily mean that the nurse can find her tomorrow.

Poor Rosalie feels so lost that she does not think anyone else knows where she is either. She does not understand that other people can find their way home and then back again to find her.

It was a great moment of realization to me. In her world, she is lost. She has no idea how she got to this place where she lives now. As far as she can tell , it is a lost place that no one can find.

Her family does not come to see her, so she must think they are lost and cannot find her too.

So. when she is crying at the end of my shift when I leave, she is truly afraid that I will not be able to find my way back to see her again.

So then, I explained to Rosalie that the nurse and I were good with finding our way home and back to her again. I told her that the nurse had found her way here today on purpose and could find her way home.

I explained to her that I had found my way to see her many times. It was not an accident that I ended up here. I assured her that I know how to get to where she is and that I would never lose my way to her.

This seemed to help.  From now on, I will remind her that I know how to get to where she is.

I will not lose her. I love her very much and will find my way back to her every time.

It reminds me that we all live in different realities. Our experiences form our perceptions and our feelings.

When we try to understand people by looking at their situation from our reality, we cannot truly have full compassion for them.

In order to understand, we have to listen and see that their world is different from ours. That includes the world they perceive in their mind. It is the only reality they know.

People who have been abused, people with PTSD, people with mental disabilities and people who are very poor have a very different reality than others.

It is true for many situations including people who have sick children, people who live with chronic pain, eating disorders, alcoholism and addiction.

In order to have true compassion we have to know that others see and feel things differently than we do.

Namaste,

Annie

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