I wrote an earlier post about dealing with holiday stress, and we have really simplified our Christmas celebrations (which has been SO nice). However, the last few weeks have brought all this sudden stress in other areas; for instance, some new, challenging assignments and some big, upcoming life decisions.
There have been lots of late-night discussions and lots of internal discomforts. And then, there’s Christmas, which still takes time to prepare for. December started out quite frenzied.
I found myself racing through those anxious days, the kind where it feels like your stomach is constantly squeezing itself tighter, and you can’t quite catch your breath.
I’m not a fan of that feeling. I bet you’re not either.
If for whatever reason, you are having a stressful holiday season too, I have 2 mantras that are quite effective for dealing with the anxiousness. If your stomach is tight and your head is dizzy, here is what I repeated over and over during my crazy days:
1. “I can’t control this, so I will let it go”
Many of the things that bring stress are completely out of our control. We worry about weather, terror, government policies, health, what others think, the economy, the choices of loved ones, and all those “what ifs.”
And all that worry gets us nowhere.
We can’t control what others think, say, or do.
We can encourage, prod, threaten, pray, beg, bribe, and do whatever we can to please people. Ultimately, they will do what they will do. The universe will continue on, not paying much attention to our plans.
Really, there is very little we CAN control, and that’s okay. We aren’t built to handle the pressure of all that control.
Instead of wasting energy trying to be in the driver’s seat of a car we don’t have keys to, it’s much better to just let it go.
Remove the burden from your plate, and make room for more productive thoughts. Once I practiced this, half of the stressful things on my list were no longer my problem.
2. “I can do this”
*Note – you can also substitute “I got this” – if you are cool enough ;).
A lot of advice for handling stress consists of slowing down, breathing, taking time out for yourself. Aaaaaaand, that’s all very good, however…
Sometimes, I need a swift kick in the pants, and a reminder to roll up my sleeves, pretend I’m Superwoman and get to work.
I need to embrace the inner vintage fist-pumping lady on the “We Can Do It” propaganda poster.
I need a rallying cry to action (in the things I can control, of course).
These 4 simple words really helped me just HANDLE things without breaking down.
Spilled drink? I can do this.
Costco on a Saturday in a snowstorm? I can do this.
Child #1 wakes up sick at 4 am, just minutes after I’ve dealt with child #3’s alligator nightmare. I can do this.
The calendar is filling up faster than you can say “ho ho ho!” I. Can. Do. This.
It’s a fierce cry, but it actually makes me very calm. The world around us could be falling apart, but if we are mentally strong, we CAN do what is required. Mantras help us develop that mental strength.
The past few weeks, I felt stress over some little things, and some big things, but mostly little things. I know we can all relate to stress in general and sympathize with each other. I know we all deal with the stress of daily life. I also fully realize that some may be dealing with pressures and burdens WAY larger than mine, and to you, I say in the most heartfelt way possible, “I am so sorry you are going through that!” Maybe these mantras aren’t enough for monumental problems, but I hope they help in a small way.
Wishing you the most stress-less holiday possible!
*Sidenote: My little son was dealing with some stress of his own (1st grade is rough sometimes!). We were talking about coping strategies, and I told him, when all else fails, to just scream into a pillow. He looked at me like, seriously? and started cracking up. We both got a good laugh. I am guilty of screaming into a pillow a time or two in my life. Felt great.