Many years ago the Simpsons ran a New Year's Eve episode and at the stroke of mid-night while everyone was celebrating and hugging, Ned Flanders was running to the post office shouting "oh no my taxes are late". The bit cracked me up but I kid you not I found myself this morning "feeling" like I was behind on Christmas shopping -- ITS NOV 2nd!!!!!!!!!
There is plenty of time for all that needs to be done and yet I was having thoughts of "I'm behind", "I'll never get it all done", "the gifts won't be good enough". George, my brain, was running a muck and because I hadn't paid enough attention to him - the thoughts had turned to physical sensations of anxiety in my body.
I returned my attention and focus back to my deep breathing and started noticing the thoughts that were creating such havoc. I pulled out a piece of paper and made a list of things that need to be done for Christmas. Making lists is a great way to slow down the feeling of anxiety. If its on paper I don't have to worry about carrying it all in my brain.
The holidays can be a very tough time of year for most of us. So many ads of people in perfect outfits, eating perfect foods, opening perfect gifts and they all look like they are enjoying each other's company. Those images create a sense of failure and pressure in most of us and trick us into believing we have to do things at 100%.
I'm going to keep reminding myself of the 80% rule - all I have to do is 80% - nothing can be perfect and to try to give 100% energy is way too taxing and anxiety making. As we go into the holiday season will you join me in reducing the stress of the season by:
- Remembering to breathe deep
- Noticing thoughts that are causing problems
- Living by the 80% rule
- Making lists
- Maintaining regular routines of sleep, exercise and healthy eating, and as always
- Lots and lots of gentleness !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!