Stopping your Inner Grinch

December 14, 2007 at 3:16 pm | Posted in Meg, movies, music | Leave a comment

Ah, the holiday season is in full swing. Caroling, baking candy cane cookies with the kids, decorating, attending holiday office parties. Fun stuff. Shopping, wrapping, finding parking spaces and fighting holiday traffic. Not fun. I seem to be using a tremendous amount of energy this month trying to reduce the stress that prevents my enjoying the festivities. And since I’m a wellness coach in my other life, I feel a responsibility to handle the stress and maintain the Christmas spirit or at least appear as I am. Usually I fail. So I have a ready list of my favorite holiday things to help me cope and I thought I’d share them with you in case you are struggling to keep that jolly feeling this year as well. The suggestions are broken down into moments of little stress (running out of wrapping paper a week before Christmas) and big stress (running out of paper at eleven o’clock on Christmas Eve):

–Turn on only the Christmas lights and listen to:
1. Dan Fogelberg‘s Old Lang Syne (there’s something about this song that gives me goosebumps) (Editor’s note: Two days after this post was written, Dan Fogelberg passed away. My thoughts go out to his family and friends.)

2. Jon Bon Jovi’s Please Be Home for Christmas
3. Any version of I’ll Be Home for Christmas
4. Joni Mitchell’s River <>

However in moments of big stress, these songs are a necessity:
5. Adam Sandler’s The Chanukah song (every version)
6. The 12 Pains of Christmas– there’s something about the poor guy hanging up the lights or the little kid yelling about Transformers that reminds me we’re all in this crazy hectic time together
7. The drunk lady singing about the 12 days of Christmas– if you’ve ever heard this song, you don’t need me to explain it’s value in holiday stress management
8. Dominic the Donkey

–Remind yourself of the beauty of the Christmas Special. Here are my must-sees:
1. Year Without a Santa Claus- the Snowmiser and Heatmiser ARE Christmas
2. Twas the Night Before Christmas- there’s just something about the ‘Christmas bells are calling Santa, Santa’ that brings tears to my eyes
3. Santa Claus is Coming to Town- love the penguin in the “Put One Foot in Front of the Other’ song
4. Nestor the Long Eared Donkey- probably the most obscure special, but one that always makes me cry

In moments of big stress, sing these songs at the top of your lungs or quote them in everyday conversation.

–Surround yourself with pleasant smells that remind you of the good things of the holidays: mulberry, evergreen, gingerbread coffee, cloves, etc.

During big stress, try not to eat any of these (except for the coffee). Instead, climb under your Christmas tree for the aromatherapy and take a nap.

–Eat something that will remind you of special traditions like Dunkin Donut sprinkled munchkins, eggnog, my mom’s Italian cookies, etc.

<>Bad stress-eat whatever you can get your hands on. Okay, bad idea. Bake something good. Okay, even worse idea. Hmm, in moments of bad stress, the only good suggestion in terms of eating is to eat something healthy. Yeah, I know. Boring. Sorry.–Stay warm. Curl up on the couch with a good cup of tea or coffee and cuddle under a flannel blanket. I have one of those warming things that you heat in the microwave- love it!

Big stress- Spike that tea or coffee with something extra and cuddle under that blanket with someone hot!

–While you’re shopping, try to imagine the looks on your children’s faces when they open their gifts.

In big stress, try to forget that Santa will get all the credit. So make sure you keep all the GOOD presents to give to them yourself!

–If you have to deal with stressful office parties or family get-togethers, remember it’s only once a year and you are lucky- you could either work with your family forty hours a week or be related to your co-workers.

During big stressful parties, try to keep an eye on whomever is drinking the most. Chances are they will be a laugh riot in an hour or two- get them to photocopy their bottom or start up a conga line. Or have a drink yourself. After a few adult beverages, everyone else will seem like a laugh riot and you can be the conga line leader. (okay, this is not a good recommendation in practice, but it’s funny in theory)

Okay, as you can see, the stress in creeping in and I can’t even write up a serious piece on stress management. My fall back to humor and sarcasm is showing so I’m going to stop here and put some of the techniques above to use (hmm guess which ones!). I’d love to hear how you deal with the holiday stress!

-Meg

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