Now, listen. The holidays are stressful for a lot of people. Fun? Sure. But also stressful. They bring up weird family stuff, they bring up anxieties, they make us lonely, they stress us out, and they bring with them a variety of complicated feelings that are often hard to express amongst all the jolliness. AND ALSO THEY TAKE PLACE IN THE DARK, COLD WINTERTIME.
And none of this has even begun to attack the immense amount of WORK that the holidays create for those of us with little whippersnappers.
Tribe Called Quest understands.
The holidays are hard, yo. So we need a plan. We need to prepare accordingly and know how to attack the stress of the holidays HEAD ON. And butter is not the answer. I mean… it’s not the only answer. Neither is bourbon.
1. Say no. Now… this is going to be a hard one for a lot of us. We are Yes People. We do the things and go to the stuff and volunteer for that thing and show up to that other thing because we feel like we should. But we don’t *have* to. There’s a lot of stuff around the holidays, so only do the stuff you want to do. If someone invites you to a thing that you don’t really want to go to, say no. If someone tells you about a thing you feel like you should be involved in even though you have a thing going on right around the same time – say no. If someone asks you to do them a favor, and it’s really going to stress you out – say no. If your Smartlings ask you to go to that thing downtown that means sitting in traffic and paying $2384893724937 for parking and standing in the cold while they whine and beg for snacks and then sitting in traffic again to go home – say no. You are allowed to say no. You do not have to do all the things. You really don’t. ESPECIALLY at the holidays.
2. Step away from the interwebs. I mean, you can finish reading this first… but after that, WALK AWAY. You don’t need to know ALL the things going on in the world right now. You don’t need to be abreast of the latest atrocities in Syria or the latest buffoonery by our president-elect. None of that will help you right this second. If you plan to do something and take some action, then do that. And then walk away. That means putting your phone down. That means turning your computer off. If you want to read, pick up a book (link to my piece)! If you want some social interaction, CALL A FRIEND. On the phone. Yes, with your voice. Try it. Speaking of….
3. Spend time with people in real life. 3D! It’s not just for newfangled movies! You are human. Humans need interaction with other humans. Online interaction will suffice sometimes, but right now you need to look a human person in the face and watch their eyes crinkle while they laugh. You need to hear a buddy titter at your jokes. You need to have a beer with your partner. You need to go for a walk with your neighbor. I don’t care what you do, but do it with someone in person. Hell… DO IT with someone. In person. Obviously.
4. Go outside. Remember that walk I mentioned? Go on it. You know that great park by your house? Go to it. You know that cute little neighborhood you like? Wander around in it. Go for hike. Climb a damn mountain. Ford every stream. Wait. You don’t have to… it’s cold out. No need to get all Sound of Music with it. JUST GO OUTSIDE IN THE WORLD. Breathe fresh air. It’s good for you. Do it.
5. Moderation. Look. We all have our favorite less-than-healthy coping mechanisms. For some of us, it’s sleeping as much as humanly possible. For others, it’s a bowl of ice cream. For others, it’s a glass of whiskey. And for others, it is the perfect trifecta of ALL THREE. None of these are an issue on their own, and in reasonable amounts all are quite lovely. But, if overused… we got an issue. Because, as it turns out, you can’t drink away your problems. Or eat away your problems. Or sleep away your problems. And a lot of us attempt just that at the holidays. Moderation, my friends.
If you fight with your mom during your Hannukah celebration, don’t sit down and eat the entire pan of kugel. You’ll feel like shit twice over. If your uncle starts talking some old-timey patriarchal bullshit on Christmas Eve, don’t drink the entire bottle of wine while trying to bite your tongue. Because chances are, you’ll say something meaner if you’re schnockered, and it’s much better to argue with a clear head so you can TAKE HIM DOWN. But in a civilized and respectful way. Because holidays. If everyone is making you nuts, don’t disappear in the middle of the family get-together to take a long nap. You’ll wake up groggy and still pissed off, and as awful as they’re being, people will miss you. Nope. We gotta do this shiz, friends, and if we move forward with moderation in mind, we can have a drink, eat a cookie, and sleep in that extra 15 minutes without feeling crappy.
We can do this, Smarties. We can do this together. Find whatever it is you *like* about the holidays and focus on that. And then do all those things I just said. All of this is eminently doable. It might even be enjoyable! It might even help us lurch through the holidays without losing our minds! I believe!
NOW WALK AWAY FROM THE INTERNET. (I love you goodbye.)