Exactly two days until the holiday madness explodes into all of our faces like a confetti cannon, and I have to admit, this year I am ready to hide under the blankets. Those thick, warm, sound deadening duvets of comfort. I know after reading those sentences that it would appear I am staged to run down to Whooville and steal all the tinsel, but I in fact love Christmas. It is the stress that goes along with it I loathe.
As a wee child, we are oblivious to the orchestra that must be planned and manipulated in order to pull off that one fantastic occasion. We just roll from the warmth of our beds, Snuggles the bunny tucked under one arm while wiping the sleep from our eyes. Magically all appears. The gifts, the smells of holiday food, tah dah.
As the conductor of said orchestra, my eyebrows are graying, I am stress eating cream cheese and I am exhausted. I have lists and those lists have lists. Paper lists, electronic lists and voice recorded lists. Screw the lists, I can’t remember where they are anyway. Counting…..did I remember this person and that person. Wrapping until you resemble the Hunchback of Notre Dame. Each year I buy ten more packs of tape. Each year I cannot find tape. Who is eating the DAMN tape!
The holidays bring out so many emotions in us. Whether it is the stress of choosing the right gift, eating or drinking too much, getting together with relatives we may not particulary get along with, the holidays can be hard on your health.
After having a rather difficult few weeks, I personally visited my doctor. He is a wonderful man and knows I am a straight shooter. We only visit when he knows I have exhausted all “psychological” or “natural” remedies. 🙂 When he walked in and asked what on earth brought me in, I began to sob. He sat and held my hand and said, “Oh those damn holidays.’ This will only be my second holiday season since losing my best friend and sister.
Much like in my line of work, he too sees a spike in patients during this crazy time of year. After I walked through a few troubling symptoms I had, he stopped me dead. He asked me if I forgot that I had Lupus. Out of my mouth came the word no, but my brain was saying, well of course I did, I just have to get shit done. My amazing doctor held my hand once again and kindly pointed out that if he was treating a patient with any life long disease he would have to tell them to rest, slow down, hydrate or they could be hospitalized. He asked why I thought I would be any different. He quickly reminded me that heart attacks in woman rise by 40% during the holidays season. READ THAT AGAIN. 40% because of the perfect tree, getting that perfect gift, dinner just right, and not wanting to disappoint anyone. That is me in a nutshell. A classic perfectionist, hell bent on not disappointing a single soul.
I left his office terrified, but with a whole new perspective on the holidays. I love the holidays because it brings family together. I cannot enjoy that if I am not here. I have very strict orders to alleviate some of the biggest sources of stress from my life. I am going to start with my own unrealistic expectations of what the holiday is supposed to be. Christmas on a beach next year sounds perfect to me 🙂
If any of this sounds familiar to you, take a deep breath. Have a good long cry like I did. What can you alleviate from that list? Would your holiday season be truly ruined if you had to say no to one or two family functions? Yes you will feel like you are letting people down, but your health must come first. I don’t know how to put this any other way to make people, and myself understand this. Stress will kill you.
My husband is a gentle soul, and yet there I was, heart racing, almost afraid to tell him of my holiday restrictions. As I write that sentence, I can hear his voice. “I want you, nothing on this earth means more.” That sums it up right there.
No amount of wrapping paper, sweet potato pie, perfect table settings or missed family dinners can replace you. That is it in one little pretty gift package. You are the most important piece of this holiday puzzle.
So put those warm fuzzy socks on, make a hot chocolate, heaping with marshmallows and watch your favourite Christmas movie. Relax. Breathe. You may be perfect, but you are not indispensable.
Happy Holidays from our home to yours xoxo
To my baby sis, I hope you have the most relaxing Christmas Ever xoxo
Much Love ❤