One year for Christmas, when I was just a wee munchkin (maturity wise, I might still be), I got some juggling balls in my stocking (the ball obsession starts), and the book Juggling for Dummies. Lately, I feel like this book is my swan song, except I’m not playing with balls ( 😉 ) , rather I’m trying to uphold the delicate juggling act of work, life and play.
Life is all about balance, and there are times when it’s really hard to maintain it. My go to method of handling stress used to be work more, whether it be more hours on the job, working in the yard, cleaning the house, or getting organized. The mentality was always the same: push harder, work more, and the end result was always the same too: me being tired, stressed, moody, and overall unhappy. I’m not a big fan of this version of myself; she’s like a two-headed she-monster or maybe even Medusa.
Well, except still kind of cute and attractive on the outside, or at least I like to think so. We’ll skip asking the Hubby his opinion here.
I know this time of year is definitely a trigger for me. Work, specifically the job which pays my mortgage, is incredibly busy right now and some late nights and weekends are in order. It’s the nature of working in Accounting at year-end, and I knew it when I signed up for the gig.
We’re also ramping up for Christmas. The Hubby and I will be celebrating three separate times with our families over the course of five days (last year was three parties in three days, so our intense time-table has lessened). I love Christmas because I get to spend time with our families (although the introvert in me will need to curl up in a quiet corner when it’s all said and done). I also love all the trimmings which come along with it: buying presents, decorating the house (outdoors and in), wrapping the same presents, getting our tree (easy peasy this year), mailing out the holiday cards, shipping those very same presents, decorating the tree, watching Christmas movies, baking for the neighbors, listening to carols, and the list goes on and on.
Earlier this month, these things were starting to feel like just another item on my To Do list. They were running through my mind constantly as a chore, more work to do, a number to cross off, and I wasn’t looking forward to doing any of them. I was stressed, and it didn’t take me long to realize it was eating me (not literally, because that’s a whole different kind of food blog). It did take me a handful of hot minutes to admit it though, since I am just a touch stubborn (snort), and I don’t like to say anything is less than fine, even if it’s through pursed lips and with a frown plastered across my face.
When I finally came to the conclusion I was crotchety (I’ve been dying to use this word), I decided I needed to mix things up. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again (I’ve got a thing for repetition), If You Change Nothing, Nothing Will Change!
So I set about making some changes. No surprise, I’m going for bullet points because they make me warm and tingly all over.
- I had a wonderful dance party in the kitchen not too long ago; me and Fatboy Slim got DOWN and will continue to get down all month long. Pretty soon we’ll be bringing our crazy dance parties to your city, so be on the lookout for ticket information.
- In anticipation of late nights at the office, I went to town on my meal prep so even when I came home late, I had easy and healthy dinner options at the ready. Eating well = Feeling well.
- I also continued to hit up the gym every chance I got and taught yet another spin class. Take that.
- I made time to laugh an awful lot, especially at the office. We played a game called Bean Boozled, which could be the most disgusting and ridiculously foul game, but it is hysterically funny. Check it out, and yes, we take fifteen minutes to play games at work because they’re a great stress relief mechanism and a way to remind yourself work can and should be fun.
- I’ve taken time for just me, whether it’s sitting in my massage chair for twenty minutes, watching really bad television, reading my book, making beet juice mimosas, or catching an extra hour of sleep. All of these things allow me to decompress.
- I also decided to stress less. Period. Things are going to happen, work is going to be crazy (and sometimes silly funny) no matter what, but I’m not going to freak out about it anymore; I’m just not. Everyone around me can choose to be anxious and worrisome, but I’m not replicating those characteristics this year. Instead, I’m going to take things one day at a time, smile, laugh, shake my bon-bon and get things done calmly and happily.
I’m not going to lie, this last philosophy didn’t work every single day last week, but it worked about half of them, so it means half of my week was really good. This time last year, I would have spent the entire week stressed and miserable so it’s progress people. Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? Shit, I just called myself an old dog. I take that back. At least the old part since we all know I have aging issues.
As far as all the Christmas trimmings, I’ve gotten most things crossed off the list, and I’ve enjoyed myself too. We’re 98% done with shopping, 93% done with the wrapping, and 87% done with all of our holiday cards. Oh and I managed to watch The Sound of Music this weekend, all while drinking mimosas, wrapping a present or two and belting out “My Favorite Things,” Forgotten Beast style. The only thing left is to make treats for the neighbors, and there will plenty of time for that this weekend.
The point of all this is, you have a choice. You can moan and wail (as I have been known to do from time to time) about your predicament or you can change how you handle it. I’m working on the “handling” part, since I’m not perfect (don’t tell the Hubby or my employer!), and I’m actually starting to enjoy myself and the holidays again. Who knew it was possible?!
As an aside, I did read the book Juggling for Dummies, and I actually can keep those balls afloat, if only for a solid thirty seconds.
Right or wrong, what’s your go to mechanism when stressed? What stress relief skills do you employ, and do they work for you? Do you make time to laugh at work?