Holiday Stress and Homemade Gifts!

 

(Image is from the following site : http://www.hercampus.com/school/strath/how-keep-sane-christmas-shopping , here you can find tips on how to stay sane while christmas shopping)
The weather is getting colder, you might catch a cold. Your sweaters are getting thicker and so are your jackets. The days are dwindling down and the sun is gone before 5 o’clock. You know it is December did you realize how close to Christmas we are?
(Image is from the following website: http://nomoredirtylooks.com/2010/11/how-stressed-out-are-you-and-what-do-you-do-to-chill-out/ , here you can find more tips to destress)
Stress and anxiety usually makes people dive head first into anything sugary, or guzzle down a yummy bottle of booze or they drink a small child’s weight in caffeine. This time of year it is easy to feel lonely, or become annoyed by relatives or just have a short fuse.  It doesn’t help that the economy is still in the toilet, making you more anxious about being able to pay for gifts without maxing out your credit cards. Or even finding the funds to get said gifts.
Another lovely side effect worrying can cause is overeating or binging. Which in turn makes you gain weight! You may skip that exercise, not get enough sleep or just flat out neglect yourself. (Again makes you gain weight! UGH!!)
Don’t fear you will get through it.
There are ways to help you relieve this holiday stress. It may not be the answer to all your problems but it is a start. Here are a few tips you might want to try!
Try taking “self” breaks!  Take this time to find your happy place! Think of something happy, such as you lying on a beach. Or visualize yourself succeeding at composing something.
My band teacher used to have us do this right before a big performance. He said if we visualized a “perfect” performance we would have one. More times than not this worked!
If you feel anxious or overwhelmed throughout the day try taking relaxation breaks to calm yourself down. Or if you’re stuck in an obnoxious line try taking a deep breath and counting to ten!
During the worst part of my post-partum depression I found myself snapping at anything. Someone being indecisive about a decision was the worse! I snapped at a lot of people, many who I did not know. No one deserved it, and I seriously couldn’t control myself. This technique helped me a few times from making someone else cry, and making myself feel worse about myself. Each day my goal was not to cry, some days I actually accomplished this!
One thing that I have learned is small goals are easier to accomplish then big goals and eventually the small goals add up.
Get up and Dance!! Ok you don’t have to dance but exercise will help. Research has shown that physical activity not only bump up your fitness and energy levels but it can also help your mood. I worked out a lot before I had to stop, my baby was making me sick! Not working out actually made me upset, I was feeling like a lump on a log. Something simple as taking a walk actually helps lift your mood. Now that I am no longer pregnant can enjoy my favorite vigorous workouts such as Tracy Anderson’s Dance Cardio. Running on a treadmill works too. When I am really feeling like I could punch a hole in the wall I do some boxing. THIS RELIEVES SO MUCH!! Just be warned if you have never boxed before be prepared for your shoulders, upper back and arms to be sore!
Write down your lists! One of my my postpartum issues was the feeling of being overwhelmed by the smallest things! I literally would shut down when someone asked me if i wanted butter on my toast. The choice was too much, I just couldn’t make a decision!
Writing things down and actually seeing that you don’t really have to climb a mountain makes things a little easier. Plus when you physically cross them off you feel as though you finished something.
Be honest! This time of year is really a celebration of Christianity and family. Whether you are religious or not don’t let the holidays kill your wallet. Be honest with loved ones. Let them know you will not buy gifts this year. I know that it is hard but being homeless is harder! Trust me people will understand. If you have little ones I know this is especially hard. Try making gifts. If you know how to do something say knitting than knit gifts. Babies under the age of one really do not care if they get something or not. REMEMBER THIS!! So if you really want to do something for them knit a toy! Here is a great idea for your baby:
This cute little elephant will mean so much more to your baby then a mass produced Barbie!
For older kids, I know it hurts to not get them something. Especially since they might take it as they have been bad! Never fear! You can still make them a cute sweater or fingerless gloves like these:
Image is from Knit Picks, pattern and picture are found here http://www.knitpicks.com/patterns/Semplice_Fingerless_Mitts__D55478220.html

Open the conversation!

If you think your kid is going to throw these into your face, don’t fret! Just let them know that Christmas is going to be postponed! You can use your taxes to get your kids something special.
Really this opens up the conversation for what it really means to celebrate Christmas. Presents are the icing on the cake sure but spending time together is key!
Remember, if you get something or not it is okay. If you don’t get something then that is one less thing you have to take back the day after Christmas!
I want to really drive home that if you really need to get something for your older kids then do so. Try not going overboard there really is no need, and talk to your kids. keep the conversation as positive as you can. You can and should tell them why you want to scale back or not give gifts this year. Just don’t come right out and say “We will starve if I buy gifts!”. Say something along the lines of you want to do a better job of living debt free. Or you want a chance to save more money for the future.
If you want to have more money to spend on more things to do for Christmas, say go to ice skating, then tell them!
Of course if your kids still believe in Santa Clause let them know they have done nothing wrong, Santa wanted to cut back as well.
Kids will not be scarred for life if they do not get a gift at Christmas! Expecting something all the time, or always getting bigger and better is the real problem!
I know many will think I am crazy about making gifts for family members but really it is something special! You took the time out to make something you thought they would like. It is one of a kind and no one will be able to get one just like it! Homemade goods really are neglected!

I’d love to hear your thoughts on what you do to relieve stress during the holidays! I’d also love to hear your ideas on homemade gifts!

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