On a good day, our life looks crazy anymore. We went from being a scheduled, "regular" family to being a road-schooling family that didn't even know which state we would be in two weeks out. We made this change in less than two months, and it has been crazy! Add to that our first holiday season with this lifestyle, and it makes things even more hectic. Even if we were home regularly, though, there would still be :
- Pressure to get gifts for everyone (and don't forget ANYONE!)
- All of the holiday events (parties, pageants, caroling...all the fun stuff that consumes the calendar)
- Extended family visits ('nuff said)
- Finances (even Santa has a budget)
- Remembrances (lost loved ones, holidays past, etc)
- ...and on top of all of these, the pressure to be happy! (it's the holidays; you're not allowed to feel anything but merry)
The Little Drummer Boy
You'll find many different theories out there about tips and tricks for beating the holiday blues and stress, but I think it really boils down to two things :
First, you must remember to take care of yourself. Drink tea, take a bath, take a ten minute break, laugh with a friend....we must remember that taking care of ourselves is more important than getting that third batch of apple cider made up for the family. In ten years, the kids aren't going to remember if the gifts were perfectly wrapped, but they will remember if Mom was so strung out that she slept through Christmas Day.
Secondly, if you've taken care of yourself, take a moment to take care of a stranger. I don't mean orchestrating some huge effort - actually, quite the opposite. Random acts of kindness. Each little kindness will lighten your own heart just a bit, and before you know it, you'll feel joyful again. Maybe that sounds strange to you, but give it a try for one day. Tomorrow, at three different points in your day, grace someone with your kindness. Maybe it's getting a hot coffee for the man at the corner, helping the lady that just dropped all of her bags, or smiling and being kind to the lady trying to shop with the fussy toddler.
This holiday season, choose to beat the stress by extending kindness to others. You might be surprised at the joy that arises within....
PS - Yesterday, we forgot to tell you HOW to make ninja cutouts....just special cookie cutters!