The Holidays are special times with family and friends
At least ... that's what we tell ourselves every year. But, what ends up happening?
Our Holiday ends up looking more like this:
There are literally hundreds of websites dedicated to helping people with what the medical community has labeled "Holiday Blues". Not only do people suffer from depression during the holidays but about 25% of us will suffer from "post-holiday let-down" in January. This all comes to a head because of the demands that others place on us and that we place on ourselves during the holiday season.
Just think of it..
You have how many presents to buy? How much is that going to run up your credit cards? How many parties must you attend? And you have to have a present for each of those - for a random person that you don't even know? Where are all of those holiday decorations? OH...all the way in the BACK of the attic.
Are you already starting to feel stressed?
You aren't alone.
"Gee - thanks for the uplifting blog, Adrienne"
Well...i'm getting there.
What am I going to do differently this year - to make my Holidays more enjoyable?
I'm deciding now that I will enjoy my Holidays. I will do less of the things that stress me out - and I will do more of what makes me happy.
What does that mean?
I may have to say no to a few parties.
I may have to buy gift cards instead of actual gifts (people like those better anyway)
I may have to purchase gift bags instead of wrapping crap.
I may have to stay home and watch "How the Grinch stole Christmas" - at least 3 times with a cup of hot cocoa ... LOADS of marshmallows.
I may have to enjoy the company of those around me - the dishes can wait.
I may have to sing Christmas carols - out loud.
I may take a few days to put up my decorations instead of trying to get them all up in 2 hours.
I may turn off the TV and just stare out the window as snow falls to the ground at night.
I may have to buy a pie from the store instead of making one from scratch ... I mean, I'm not a grandma yet.
So, what will you do to make your Holidays more enjoyable? What can you say no to? What will you say yes to? I think now is a great time to decide.
I had to get a few things to have for snack because, unfortunately, I am not very good at planning and I didn't buy apples to eat with my Almond Butter that I purchased from Trader Joe's over the weekend.
(*side note - I just ate a honeycrisp apple with 2 tablespoons of Trader Joe's Raw Crunchy Unsalted almond butter - it was like 270 calories just for a snack - but it was worth every SINGLE calorie!!!!!! Plus...it's not like it was cake!)
So, I'm standing there in line and I looked up at the woman who was two people in front of me. She stuck out. (and that's kinda hard to do at Wal-mart!)
There she was, paying for her groceries. She was a slim brunette, about 28 years old, with her hair tied back, makeup perfectly applied, in a business suit.
She looked kinda like this:
Except she had a red shirt on under her suit jacket. She also had on one of the largest engagement rings I have ever seen on person. I also noticed that she was buying fruit, lettuce, etc. Not a single unhealthy thing on the conveyer belt. (Yes, i do pay attention to what people are buying at the grocery store and sometimes I make judgements based on that - I can be a terrible person. I digress.)
Immediately I started imagining what her life must be like.
I even gave her a name, Claire.
Claire's life was amazing. She had supportive parents (both of them). Claire played volleyball all through school and made perfect grades. Her grades (and her daddy's bank account) got her into a great college where she worked hard and was so smart that she graduated Valedictorian of her class - with a Masters in Business Law at the age of 22. She went on to get hired at the most prestigious law firm in Charlotte where she has been the best lawyer on the team ever since.
One day, Claire got a little cold (which NEVER happens to Claire because she takes such good care of her body) so she went to the doctors office. Where she met him. The most handsome doctor she had ever seen.
He instantly fell in love with her. He showered her with gifts and won over her heart and they were married one year later.
Claire now lives with her amazing husband, in a beautiful studio apartment that overlooks the skyline of Charlotte. They go running every morning with their golden retriever, Sam.
All of this - in about 3 minutes standing in line at Wal-mart.
You know what is funny about this story. It's funny to me how many of you do the exact same thing that I did!
Someone very wise once told me to never compare what you know about yourself to what you don't know about someone else - you will always lose.
I don't know Claire. As a matter of fact, I never even said hello to the woman. I have no idea how she grew up or even what she does for a living.
Claire could be unemployed - and she was wearing that suit because for the past year and a half she has been going from one job interview to another with no luck.
Claire could be in an abusive relationship where he always buys her nice things but he treats her like property.
Claire could hate her life.
It's unfair to me to stand there and come up with fantasies and then feel bad about myself because my life isn't as good as Claire's.
If you have ever found yourself doing this - it is unfair to you too.
It means that there are only 22 days until Thanksgiving ... (insert creepy horror movie music here)
"Adrienne...Halloween was 2 days ago. There is nothing to be afraid of!"
Really.. really? (Said with my most serious face)
I realize that most people get to this time of the year and they start breaking out the Christmas music, and putting up Christmas lights, and feeling a little touch of the Holiday spirit.
Yes, I love all of those things. I love Christmas!
But I'm not talking about Christmas.
Seeeee!!! There is a reason that everyone just skips Thanksgiving and starts celebrating Christmas on November 1st! Even if it is subconsciously - nobody really likes Thanksgiving.
The thought of Thanksgiving makes me want to do this:
Because I'm honest with myself.
Here is what everyone pictures Thanksgiving will be like:
And this is what ACTUALLY ends up happening:
Also...I don't understand some Thanksgiving foods. Like... Green Bean Casserole. I'm sorry - I realize that there is a "Green Bean Casserole Cult" out there that like has a fan club and as soon as you say Green Bean Casserole they start salivating uncontrollably - I don't want to offend any Green Bean Casserole worshippers - but I just don't get it.
My green beans are perfectly fine without cream of mushroom soup and onion crunchies - they are fine that way all of the other 364 days of the year - not sure why we suddenly have to cover all of our green beans in cream just because it is Thanksgiving.
I also don't get sweet potato pie. Wasn't pumpkin pie good enough?
So, I am starting to prepare myself for this dreaded Holiday. I'm thinking ahead about what I can do to make it easier on my waist-line. I found this article that might be helpful to you if you are preparing yourself too...
A man was talking about water and how necessary it is to sustain human life. I mean, just think of all of the things we use water for - cleaning ourselves and our stuff, hydrating our bodies, cooking our food, etc. Water is everywhere - and without it, we would die.
Water is a good thing ... as long as it comes in appropriate quantities.
The old saying is a true - you most certainly CAN have too much of a good thing.
Ask the people in Japan or in Thailand who have experienced tsunamis over the past several years. Suddenly, the same element that is in a glass of water or a shower becomes something to fear - because having too much water is dangerous and can also kill you.
The same goes for fire or...
sun light or ....
You know, people tend to equate overeating with things like smoking or drug use or any other addiction that can be overcome. But, smokers don't HAVE to have a cigarette 3 times a day to survive.
I think that food addiction can be overcome - but it requires a certain self-control that is obviously in short supply in a food addict's life.
So - how do we find that self-control??
I think that self-control is hidden ... in the small things.
If somebody plops 2 dozen donuts in front of you - that is a big thing...it's easy to say to yourself ... "Self, that isn't good for you and you KNOW it."
But, if someone puts cheese and crackers in the conference room at the office - "Self, they don't fit in your budgeted meals for the day but it's JUST cheese and crackers." leads to "Maybe Ill have some of this dip too" leads to "Well, I already screwed up my eating today so Im going out for dinner." leads to "Well, Ill start over on Monday."
If you could have said instead... "Self, cheese and crackers do not fit into your plan - stick to the plan." AAAHA! There it is!!! Self-control - I KNEW you could find it!!!!
Here is to me - finding my self-control again. In every area of my life.
Self, you know you feel better when you are controlling yourself. Your clothes fit better. You sleep better at night. You don't ache as much when you do strenuous activities. Remember how it feels to be proud? You know, all of your spark friends are right - you CAN do this. You motivate others - now motivate yourself! Look deep and forget about the past - this is life. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and do what you know you have to do - remember - it is the small things ... added up become a big thing. It works the other way around too - walk a mile when you don't feel like doing anything else - do that every day and it will add up!!! You've got this.