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“911, I think this Holiday is killing me. Help!”


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Five ways to relieve holiday stress.

Is it the most wonderful time of the year? It hasn’t been proven, but I’m 99% sure the holidays are detrimental to our health. Holidays increase financial stress which in turn raises blood pressure. Families who don’t otherwise speak the rest of the year are encouraged by tradition and guilt to come together. Children are over sugared with holiday cookies and advent calendar treats, pumped full of present hype, and now quarantined together. Is there any wonder why domestic violence is at an all-time high? That’s like dropping tiny little mentos into a 2-liter bottle of Coca-Cola. Am I a cynic, maybe a little? Am I on the naughty list? I hope. Santa’s like a bazillion years old—that man needs one less house to stop at, and so do you!

Holiday Magic or …

Don’t get me wrong, I love the holidays. There is something magical about them, and I don’t mean (for those who celebrate Christmas) the midnight drinking wrapping game where you drink every time you lose your scissors or tape. That’s just trouble from the get-go. Drunk wrapped presents aren’t pretty. The only thing magic about that game is if you get anything wrapped. I’m talking about the inexplicable extra love, giving and kindness, that’s magic. It appears out of nowhere—POOF! All of a sudden, the corner Scrooge is buying your gas or your coffee with a smile. What the what? That’s not the case when you get home, though. The list of to-do’s is enough to put that warm fuzzy feeling on a one way plane to somewhere else with you left in the living room buried in boxes, bills, and “I wants.”

“It’s a marshmallow world in the winter, when the stress comes to melt your mind.”

Real Magic is Quality You!

First of all, the holidays are not a competition. Holidays, no matter your religion, affiliation, or belief, are a chance to appreciate one another. I mean really show the people you love quality you, quality time, and quality thought about them. Tis the season to forgive someone. We all have someone. You know who I’m talkin’ about. (I happen to be the one this year—oops). Give of yourself and serve. Think of those people we tolerate, don’t notice, or try to ignore the rest of the year. Yeah, I said it out loud. (Is there any wonder why I’m on the naughty list?) You decide who and what is important. You make and limit that list. 

The Holiday “Too Muchs”

According to, “Too many activities [during the holidays], even if they are fun, can culminate in too much… stress and leave us feeling frazzled, rather than fulfilled.” Thats when you need a stay-cation after the vacation. On they also report too much spending, too much eating, and too much drinking adds to stress. If you follow that holiday plan, you’re gonna need a few new year’s resolutions for a whole lot of debt, tight pants, and regret. If that’s not enough, they even noted that too much time together during the holidays can take a toll on relationships, so what do we do? Aren’t we supposed to celebrate with family, food, and fun?

Make A Holiday Battle Plan

If you want to remember the simple joys of being alive and the gift of life, you’ve got to be prepared. Set priorities. What’s most important to you this holiday season? Be prepared to make smaller versions of that list. Whittle it down from list A to list Z. Z for me will be to show up, smile, and not make offense or take offense. (It’s a lot harder than people think when you’re the black sheep of the family). I’m telling you, you’ve got to have a plan, and stick to that plan.

“Black Friday: because only in America people trample each other for sales exactly one day after being thankful for what they already have.”

Henry Rollins

It’s a war out there, folks—in the traffic, in the stores, and even on television. Seriously, buying groceries during the holidays from mid-November through January is dangerous. Stores are like the front lines of a world war. Come fall, dawn your grocery store war paint. Put on quadruple socks. Metal carts are about to be rammed into your ankles. It’s a Black Friday version of Bill Murry’s Groundhog Day for two and a half months. Where do all these people come from? They’re not there the rest of the year.

Holiday Pause

Studies show pausing and taking a deep breath, saves lives (other people’s lives). If you find yourself chopping vegetables, writing cards, wrapping presents, or driving home late, and you’re at the end of your rope—pause. Put down the sharp knife, the scissors, the sharpened pen, and pull the car over. Take me time—it is important and in no way selfish. No one would complain if you took a shower (well no one over two years old). Take a personal clear your head moment. Call it a shower of peace. Go for a walk, watch your favorite show (in the bathroom with headphones if you have to), but be sure and carve out some respite for yourself. You can’t give your best if you’re not at your best. Maybe eat a chocolate. Study’s somewhere performed by someone say chocolate is good. Yeah. I swear (a lot actually.)

“Stressed is dessert spelled backwards.”


Remember the holidays will be back next year. Don’t beat yourself up over one holiday season. You can spend time with family any time of the year. “Christmas, (if you celebrate it) [literally is] the only time of year we sit in front of a dead tree and eat candy out of old socks.” And Thanksgiving at its bones is a feast for gratitude celebrated by gluttony. We can do better, even cynics like myself.  Let’s make our holidays a heaven, by slowing down, limiting our to-dos and pausing. If we’re at our best, the holiday’s can look like Francesca Battistelli’s song, “Heaven Everywhere”.

It’s the little things that make it Heaven Everywhere.

Song by Francesca Battistelli

I hear the bells, they’re ringing loud and clear.
You can’t help but love this time of year.
It’s [the holidays], there’s something in the air.
There’s a little bit of heaven everywhere.

Somehow there’s a little more of love.
Maybe there’s a little less of us.
Or maybe we’re just slightly more aware.
There’s a little bit of heaven everywhere.

It’s the smile on a man who has finally found hope.

The tears of a mother whose child has come home.
It’s the joy that we feel and the love that we share.
There’s a little bit of heaven everywhere.
There’s a little bit of heaven everywhere.

It’s funny how it takes a holiday.
To show us how the world could truly change.
If we all took the time to really care.
There’d be a little more of heaven everywhere.

It’s the grace that we show to a world that needs hope.
Giving our lives knowing they’re not our own.
It’s the joy that we feel and the love that we share.
There’s a little bit of heaven everywhere.
There’s a little bit of heaven everywhere.

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