Holiday Stress?

Do you feel stressed this time of year?

And if so, what contributes the most to your stress?

Bokeh photo of holiday lights.

I  admit, I get stressed out every year around the holidays.

Yesterday, a friend mentioned Christmas is in “two weeks” and I gasped out loud.  I’m feeling particularly overwhelmed this year. I’m looking at my life, and my to-do list, and realizing things need to change.

I’m doing a lot … but I feel like I’m doing everything half-assed.  I’m stretching myself way too thin (and yet, I’m fat!).

For several years, post car accident, I tried to prove to myself “nothing is going to change.”  My goal was to still make perfect, Norman Rockwell, holidays for my family in spite of my suffering, and with one working arm.

Guess what?

I can’t do it anymore.

I’m in a lot of pain, and I have been since Thanksgiving.  I’m “behind” on everything holiday related and every day my stress level, and pain level, increases.

I’ve finally accepted I can’t do it all.  Not only that, I no longer WANT to do it all.  I find myself dreading everything holiday-related because dammit, it hurts!

I’ve been talking to a lot of friends and I’ve realized not everyone has huge major-production holidays the way we do.  I grew up with Martha Stewart as my mom, and I think I’ve always felt like I have to do it all, and do it perfectly.  (Homemade greeting cards, baking for days, gourmet meals, etc., etc.)

Recently, I commented to Nike how CALM she is this time of year.  The way Nike’s family celebrates the holidays is so different than how I grew up – but just as special.

Our Christmas tree was delivered a week ago – all twelve feet of it.

It’s standing in our living room, undecorated.  I know tree decorating will send me into a terrible downward spiral of pain.

And so it sits.

My older kids won’t arrive home until a couple days before Christmas.  Maybe they can decorate the tree when they get home?

I bought a few gifts Thanksgiving weekend, and I’ve done nothing since.  I have out-of-state relatives I need to purchase gifts for and mail.  I’m trying to come up with ideas I can order and ship online.  What should I send to people who are impossible to buy for?

I’ve decided not to (painstakingly) make or send out 200 photo greeting cards this year.  (Why does that make me feel so guilty?)

I’ve been looking online for recipes which don’t involve much chopping or lifting.

Do I worry about disappointing my family, particularly my kids?

Yes, I do.

I feel very guilty, as a matter of fact.

But then I flash back to my appointment with the pain specialist this week who told me, out-right, I need to STOP.

I think about the stress I feel, the pain I’m in …

The holidays are supposed to be fun – not something I dread.

I think it’s taken me five years post-accident to realize things aren’t the same and never will be.  I’ve been trying so hard, fighting so hard, to maintain what used to be.

I’ve been trying to prove to everyone (especially myself) I can do everything I used to.

I can’t.

I think it’s time to make new traditions.

6 Responses to “Holiday Stress?”

  1. Jan's Sushi Bar

    First: love the bokeh. Just beautiful.

    Yes, I think it’s time for some new traditions in your house, specifically “Mom doesn’t do *everything*.” Your kids are old enough to understand, and I’m sure they do.


  2. Diane

    I think i you just make it a simple Christmas your family will understand, and if they don’t, then it’s time they do. If there are traditions that they miss ask them to please take over that tradition for the family. We moms always feel guilty about something. No big deal. 🙂

  3. stacy

    You could (gasp) order in food or help. I had WoodRanch come to my work last year. They brought food for the people who had to work late the nite before Thanksgiving. It was the bomb! Tri tip, chicken, mashed potatoes and their famous rolls and salad. It went over great!! and it wasnt that expensive (of course, I didnt pay for it the company credit card did).

  4. Liz T.

    The only thing that is holding you back from change is you. I find I have to push myself right up into the corner to force myself to make changes, and it sounds like that’s where you are. You hereby have full permission to let go of what you think everyone is expecting of you, and do precisely what you WANT to do. Believe me, life is too damned short to wait for change that only you can make happen.


  5. Tiziana

    Holidays can be so stressful! At least here in Europe we only get Christmas (no Thankgiving!). I’m always concerned about gift shopping – especially WHAT to get to whom.

    But I agree, the holidays should be about fun. The best part is always getting together with friends and family. The rest – the decorations, the gifts, the home made baked goods – are not what is most important. As long as you give time to your family, I am sure you won’t disappoint them.

    Hope you enjoy the holidays Suzanne!


  6. Linda

    (((Hugs)))) Holidays are wonderful and terrible at the same time, no?


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