My holiday gift: less stress

It just occurred to me that I have not done a single thing yet to prepare for the upcoming holidays. I haven’t purchased a single gift, prepared a single Christmas card, even written my customary holiday-season to-do list.
 
What can I say? I’ve been busy!
 
It also occurred to me that I have a choice: I can either stress out about the situation (which is the route I typically take) – or not.
 
I am going to try hard not to let stress overwhelm me this year. Experience has shown that somehow everything that needs doing gets done in the end. Or at least, most of what needs doing. Nobody’s holiday season is going to be enhanced by my fretting over my shopping list. And if I don’t get around to addressing Christmas cards until January, the world will not stop spinning.
 
In fact, I plan to make it my gift to my family and to myself to slow down and savor every moment of the season. If the bathrooms don’t get cleaned, the floors vacuumed, or the knick-knacks dusted, so what? As I’m sure is the case for many of you, stress tends to trigger my multiple sclerosis symptoms, making me feel fatigued, weak, and grumpy. Avoiding that will make the holidays much happier for me and everyone around me.
 
I also know from experience, though, that short-circuiting stress is easier said than done. I know I’m going to have to remind myself constantly to not let myself get carried away by the busy-ness of these coming weeks. I’m going to print this blog entry and tape it to the wall by my desk, where I can re-read it any time I start to lose my resolve.
 
For now, I’m going to make a cup of tea to sip while I browse through that stack of catalogs on the kitchen counter, looking for gift ideas – in a leisurely, stress-free fashion.
 
Happy, safe, and healthy holidays to all of you! 
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Jennifer

Jennifer LaRue Huget, Blogger

Jennifer LaRue Huget was diagnosed with MS in 2001. A freelance writer and children's book author, she lives in Connecticut with her husband, two teenage kids, and two brown dogs. Her website is www.jenniferlaruehuget.com.

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    11 Comments

  • Pamela Boundy   Dec 12, 2013 2:14 PM
    Thank you for this thought! This is what I did for Thanksgiving, and made up my mind I was not going to repeat it Christmas. Some people don't understand what a "neat freak" I am, but only when I can do it on my time. Thank you again :)!
  • from Heather Bostock NZ   Dec 12, 2013 2:29 PM
    Have printed it out for me too - I havent done Christmas cards for years now,and if the dusting etc doesnt get done...well never mind.
    Happy, happy holidays, sweetie,
  • Lexi   Dec 12, 2013 3:08 PM
    With the Christmas my Grandchildren want money so the can buy what. So I guess I'm done. I miss those days. One of them is a freshman!!!! Now cards.
  • jkaetzel  Dec 12, 2013 3:39 PM
    As a mom of 3, I'm really feeling the heat this year. One is tottling on the verge of non-believers, and the 7 year old is firmly entranced in his belief of Santa. My work hours have been cut, so the budget's tight, I'm more tired than years in past, but I keep smiling and shoving on. My mom says I'm starting to look a little manic, but in 2 weeks, it will be over with, the kids can entertain themselves with their new toys, and maybe one day I can sleep! Once they've outgrown the believing in Santa stage, they'll be big enough to be more help, too. Bonus???
  • fightback  Dec 12, 2013 3:50 PM
    Amen!
  • Avatar
    jonchandonnet  Dec 12, 2013 5:47 PM
    This is such a great reminder that I have a responsibility for the stress I'm feeling in my life. Thank you!
  • Bobbi Fox   Dec 13, 2013 7:46 AM
    I was diagnosed with MS April 2012 and Breast Cancer October 2013. Having MS made me aware of the things that are more important. It's not important to have a clean house. It is important to have a happy healthy family. This year I purchased a small Christmas tree, decorated less and I will not stress trying to find the perfect gifts. I know my family will be happy no matter what gifts the get.
  • Michelle   Dec 13, 2013 9:50 PM
    Well just had a breakdown last Saturday think stress caught up to me!! Let all out feel much better!
  • Linda T   Dec 14, 2013 12:20 PM
    Thanks for the reminder. I already did too much and am paying for it. It is so hard to pace ourselves, isn't it?
  • Barbara Collins   Dec 19, 2013 1:25 PM
    I would like to say that I just can't do it all, but I'm way far from that point in my life. My family are Huge help! I no longer send Christmas cards, sure saves a lot of money with the cost of stamps. A long time ago I realized I was not able to do all that much shopping. My solution to that is to give everyone money, tell them to buy what want, then they are to wrap it and bring it to our house Christmas Eve. My husband and I are surprised and they are happy with what they got, because they picked it out. We have two grown sons, between them we have five grandchildren. Four of them are married and between them we have three great grandchildren. My husband is a great cook and he cooks a wonderful meal that everyone looks forward to. I do not help at all! Truth be known I drop to many things and so my help is not much help. Our family does most of the cleanup with the dishes, kitchen, and all the other messes we can make! I used to do all the cooking and loved it, but now I have learned to sit back and just enjoy the food and all of my family. I say that like that was an easy thing to do, it was NOT! As MS and age progress I've learned to be thankful for all the many blessings I have. I am still able to walk. I tire out easy, have an electric wheelchair,Walker,cane and so much help from my wonderful husband, family, and friends. I have had MS for over thirty years. I sure have slowed down, but not given up! Holidays are a big stress factor and so I make sure I rest. I found out I am not even close to Superwoman and since I know that, it sure cuts down on the stress.
  • Barbara Collins   Dec 19, 2013 1:26 PM
    I would like to say that I just can't do it all, but I'm way far from that point in my life. My family are Huge help! I no longer send Christmas cards, sure saves a lot of money with the cost of stamps. A long time ago I realized I was not able to do all that much shopping. My solution to that is to give everyone money, tell them to buy what want, then they are to wrap it and bring it to our house Christmas Eve. My husband and I are surprised and they are happy with what they got, because they picked it out. We have two grown sons, between them we have five grandchildren. Four of them are married and between them we have three great grandchildren. My husband is a great cook and he cooks a wonderful meal that everyone looks forward to. I do not help at all! Truth be known I drop to many things and so my help is not much help. Our family does most of the cleanup with the dishes, kitchen, and all the other messes we can make! I used to do all the cooking and loved it, but now I have learned to sit back and just enjoy the food and all of my family. I say that like that was an easy thing to do, it was NOT! As MS and age progress I've learned to be thankful for all the many blessings I have. I am still able to walk. I tire out easy, have an electric wheelchair,Walker,cane and so much help from my wonderful husband, family, and friends. I have had MS for over thirty years. I sure have slowed down, but not given up! Holidays are a big stress factor and so I make sure I rest. I found out I am not even close to Superwoman and since I know that, it sure cuts down on the stress.