The holiday season and end of the year is a stressful time for a lot of us (especially Arnie in Jingle All the Way, see below). Between final exams, finishing up projects at work, Christmas shopping, and numerous holiday get-togethers, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and like we’re being pulled in all directions. That being said, this time of year is the ideal time to reflect on how fortunate we really are and although we may be stressed, remember how truly lucky we are to have the stresses that we do. One of the best “stress- busters”, we find, is to take a moment, think about everything we’re stressing over, and attempt to shift perspective.
To give you some examples, these are some of our current stresses and why they’re not really so bad at all. Heck, even just writing this post and thinking about it all in depth brought our stress levels way down!!
T- At this moment, I have 4 days of work left…4 days!! Yikes!! Thinking about the amount of work I need to get done in these next 4 days before I can leave for the holidays has been making me lose sleep for weeks. Reminding myself how fortunate I am to have been hired right out of my Masters for a job that is helping me head off on an Australian adventure is all I need to reassure myself that it will all get done.
M- This week, before I can return home to Knights for Christmas I have to successfully defend my Masters research proposal. While I’ve gone through the ups and downs of both loving and questioning my degree this fall, a wise pal of mine once made me feel better by telling me, roughly, “Mad, it’s okay to be down but think about it from a different angle and it will help get you out of the rut” (thanks Andrew). Remembering how many people in the world, especially females, do not have the opportunity to attend school, definitely reminded me that I should never take my education for granted and how lucky I was to not only be in school but to be pursuing a graduate degree at a top university.
T- The holidays call for squeezing in what seems like a million holiday parties, family gatherings, and get-togethers with friends. This seems to have taken to another level for me this year as I have a lot of special people in my life to spend time with before I head down under. Looking at my December calendar and the number of events scheduled is definitely overwhelming but then I remember just how lucky I am to have such incredible people in my life. I am so grateful that my family and friends are healthy and that I am able to spend time with them (even if a few are via Facetime dates). I really am fortunate to be surrounded by such an inspiring and supportive group.
M- I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t stressing about my dwindling savings account this holiday season (what 20-something isn’t?). This is the first year in many years that I do not have a part-time job so I have a specific amount of money set aside to spend on my friends and family thanks to my summer job… Needless to say, there ain’t any more coming in before the 25th. I LOVE buying special gifts for people, no matter what time of year, but I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that ‘special’ is going to be taking a more ‘thoughtful’ route this time around (granted it was from the sale bin, Slate knows not to expect a Gucci tie this year). Perspective shift: I could not be luckier or more spoiled as Kare and Bri are so lovingly supporting me financially through my Masters degree and have agreed that I did my time in the retail world. I know not to take this kind of privilege for granted. At the same time, I know that this is only temporary and that I will be in a position in coming years to spoil my loved ones to my liking. I also know that in the meantime, they’ll love me no matter how random or homemade their presents may be.
Thinking about our stresses as things we're lucky to have is helpful, but we know it’s easier said than done. It’s important to remember that putting things into perspective doesn’t mean you need to feel bad or guilty for feeling overwhelmed. It’s simply a good reminder not to take anything for granted. It is also a reminder to continue to consider what really matters in life, in the bigger picture. Often a short reflection of these two themes will bring new light to what you’re stressing over and help it to melt away. If all else fails, an abundance of upcoming Christmas baking will be sure to melt stresses and worries away (and our taste buds couldn’t be more excited!). On that note, stay tuned for some of our favourite family Christmas recipes coming soon!
Lots of love,
Mad & Teal