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Challenge: Reducing Holiday Stress

Handling the Holiday Blues... In a New Way

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I’ve seen 100s (maybe 1000s) of articles about “How to beat the Holiday Blues” or “How to avoid stress around the holidays”. Well… Newsflash. You can’t. But, YOU (my friend- thanks for reading this) CAN survive. THEY will tell you to get more sleep, exercise, watch what you eat and participate in “self care”. Psssssshhh. Let’s talk about how us busy, working people can do it.

My “Holiday Blues” come in a unique flavor of single parenting, no family around, and chronic trauma-caused anxiety…. I know that I am probably not that unique, and I actually find that quite sad. However, this is NOT a sad article! In fact, this is a list of some ways that I “cope” with the “Holiday Blues” and make them a little more manageable. Here is my list (In no particular order):

1.) Decorate

Call me the Grinch. I probably deserve it. Although Christmas is my ultimate, most favorite holiday…. I HATE decorating. It just feels like so much more to do, and I’m already exhausted. Why do I do it? For two reasons: #1- It means a lot to my children, especially my little bright eyed, artistic 8-year-old daughter. Plus, it’s creating traditions and memories that I’d like them to grow up with, instead of “My mom was too tired to do anything” (She says in therapy at age 38). #2- I decorate because if I don’t, it feels like I just gave up. Decorating drags out a time of year that is meant to be joyful. So… I hate it, but I do it.

2.) Declutter

Yes, you read that correctly. Declutter. But Kaycee, isn’t that more work? I’m glad you asked! Well, yes, yes friend, yes it is. However, this type of decluttering can actually make you feel better, as you do it, rather than more stressed.

When I went into the dreaded basement to get the Christmas items out, I had not 1, not 2, not 3 but TEN “Christmas” totes. Totes ridiculous. I am a single mother with 2 children. I rarely host and my house isn’t that big. WHY DO I NEED 10 friggin’ totes?

As I started to go through them all, I realized that there was SO much stuff that I didn’t even like. It was there because someone gave it to me, and I felt guilty, or, I bought it on clearance, because it was 90% off and WHY NOT? Here’s WHY NOT: Because you have to store it and get it out again and put it somewhere and YOU DON’T EVEN LIKE IT. So toss the shizz. Okay, no, don’t actually “toss” it (That’s wasteful and we’re trying to be “Green” here, ok?!). I was able to consolidate my totes down from 10 to (drumroll please) FOUR. Four Christmas totes. How, you ask? Many ways. I posted some of the “better” items on consignment sites, in my town. I put them on there for next to nothing- make someone’s Christmas AND make my own. I use the few dollars to buy a coffee or whatever little trinket that my children will break in under an hour.

I also researched and asked around, and a friend told me about a place in town, that I can donate to. My items go directly to families/people and they are FREE to these people, That makes me feel better than just dropping them at the Goodwill (Not knocking the Goodwill, just like the thought of from my house to yours).

3.) Listen to Music.

No, not Christmas music (unless you really like that for months, in which case, God bless). I found that when my children are gone, I watch too much TV. The TV time takes away from getting stuff done and then I feel even worse about myself. So, I keep my phone in my pocket, blasting my favorite jams. I listen to music while I clean, organize, decorate, etc. I listen to the music that I like to listen to, and I’ll listen to those Christmas tunes on Christmas, Mkay?

4.) Find new ways to make money

One stressor for me, around the Holidays (and all year round, really) is money. I’m a single mother, working as a teacher. I’m not complaining about my wage- this is not that kind of rant. However, life is expensive and the holidays are REALLY expensive, so stressing about money DOES NOT help. I tried some multi-marketing companies. They were fun and I really believed in the product! However, sales has NEVER been a strength of mine and I found those gigs short lived… SO, I have been working, from home, for an English-Teaching company for close to two years now. When my children are away or sleeping, I work (I make my own schedule). I can make a few extra hundos a month, OR, this month I’m on track to make much more. This goes a LONG way during the holidays. It always keeps me busy, stops me from feeling sorry for myself and takes away the stress of going into MORE debt (“I know that’s $500, but Santa doesn’t buy it, mom. He makes it! So noooooo biggie!”) If you ever need advice in this department, PLEASE email me. Two of my friends do it now, too, and I LOVE seeing my friends being “saved” liked I was.

5.) Start new, crazy, fun traditions:

This does NOT have to be crazy (But it COULD be crazy if you want it to be).

I’ve found myself being a spectator to families who do really fun, unique things. I see their Christmas cards or their posts on facebook and I think, “I wish I had a family like that”. Ok, dummy (me, not you). Why CAN’T I have a family like that? I can make a funny Christmas card every year, like the Larsons! I can wrap up all of our Christmas movies and have the kids unwrap one, each night, to watch together! I can create a “Christmas Eve box”. Why am I sitting and wishing? I am capable of all of those things! (Thanks Pinterest!).

Friends, these are just a few ideas to make the holidays a little brighter. I already feel better, after writing this. “Cope on” my beloveds! Happy Holidays and Ba Humbug!:)

I'm just a single mom... trying to survive and thrive in this crazy world!

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