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Post-Christmas Stress

Do you have traditions for the holidays? Most of us do. The one tradition we have stuck to is the Christmas Eve supper with our kids. Since they were very young, we have had the same meal and opened gifts on Christmas Eve with them. Whatever has happened through the years, we have stayed with that.

Every year I slow cook a beef roast for our Christmas Eve meal. I shred up the beef for sandwiches and every year I stress over it because it seems like it won’t be enough. Sometimes I have trouble shredding it and I stress out over that. This year of course was no different and my husband essentially just laughed because he’s seen this happen for over 30 years now.

I also stress about gifts. My daughters are twins and any parents of twins know how competitive they are. Seriously, if I respond to a social media post for one girl, I have to make sure I use the same emphasis and punctuation in both or they will say something. This carries over to buying gifts for them too. I need to ensure an equal number so nobody feels slighted. (I failed this year by the way-Katie had one extra-sorry Sara!) Of course I know Christmas shouldn’t just be about getting gifts but I have fun choosing the right ones. We added a son-in-law to our family this year and I stressed about what to get him; it’s difficult to buy for “boys” when you are used to girls!

This year I had time to reflect on the holiday on the day after Christmas as I was sitting on the couch drinking my morning coffee. I realized something that will help me next year and hopefully will help you too.

I stressed out about silly things that absolutely made no difference to anyone else. I created the stress for myself and reacted to it and made myself anxious.

We didn’t run out of shredded beef on Christmas Eve but if we had-who cares? We had plenty of other food to eat including way too many cookies so no one would starve that night.

The girls appreciated the gifts they received and everyone enjoyed seeing the reactions to the gifts they gave. It was great family time.

Although I try not to get caught up in the holiday busy-ness and stress, it got to me a little bit this year. Why do you think this happens? I wish I knew.

2021 has been a challenging and stressful year in so many ways (thank you Captain Obvious) so maybe all of that has something to do with it.

As women, we want to make everything “perfect” and look just right (thank you Martha Stewart) and believe we are supposed to do that. Maybe that’s why we get stressed out.

Maybe we had a not-so-perfect childhood and we want to make sure our kids have the best experience they can have. That’s not my experience but maybe it rings true for you.

Whatever the reason is, I hope to keep this in mind not just at holiday times, but all year around: most of my stress is my own doing and I have the power to change it.

So I am making this promise to myself from now on:

If things feel crazy, I will stop and ask myself: Is this something I truly need to be stressed out about? If the answer is no, then I will let go of it. I will take a breath, grab an oil that calms me and take a good sniff. And then I will move on.

Life is too short to be unnecessarily stressed out and I am not going to spend my time on that any longer.

What do you think? Have you found ways to stop the stress before it starts? I would love to see them in the comments.

Please take care of your beautiful self and safely celebrate the start of a brand new year!


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