Not all families are close, some family members don’t even LIKE each other! But in our quest for the perfect holiday we try to erase hurt feelings or old resentments in order to get along. And of course, we should, but that still doesn’t take away from the fact that the whole ordeal of having to put on the mask of social convention is stressful, and that is true especially in families.
I am sure there are some lucky families out there who all get along, but the majority of families have issues, that’s just the way it is. No matter, it is more refreshing to be able to say that out loud in our present society than do like they did when I was growing up, sweep all that nasty stuff under the rug and try to pretend to be Ward, June, Wally and Beaver. Can you imagine the stress families had back then?? It must have taken a steel will to put on a smile and pretend your world and your life was perfect for appearance sake.
The point of my post is to offer you three tips for this coming weekend, the first weekend after all the holiday hoopla is over. If you are feeling tired and stressed from the holidays, these are three suggestions to help you renew and restore both your body and your soul. What you do this coming weekend could actually make a difference in whether you have a head start on a great 2008. We are only human, but like our mechanical creations, without gas and maintenance we finally stop working at our optimum performance.
1. Unplug–this will be a major challenge for many of you, but I guarantee if you will unplug from all the technological devices that you seem to feel you can’t live without and find some silence to sit in you will be amazed what a few days of this will do for your spirit. (You would be surprised at how unimportant you really are once you do this, and it is a freeing feeling, if you can let go of your ego long enough, that is. But just in case you don’t believe you are not replaceable, call the people you would usually hear from, or email them, and tell them you are taking a weekend off, beg off sick if you have to!) Make yourself stay off the computer as much as possible, turn off your cell phone, your Blackberry, etc. You will be surprised at how liberating this is if you have never done it before.
2. Unwind–Stop thinking about anything that has to do with work, family problems, who your next boyfriend will be, what your neighbor said that pissed you off, where you are going on vacation this summer, all the things you need to get done for work, your kid acting weird, etc, etc, etc, all the goobledygook that runs through our heads on a constant basis, causing us stress we don’t even realize we are feeling. Meditate, take a nature walk, do deep breathing, clear your mind of all the clutter, replace negative thoughts with soothing, positive ones–I like what the guru in India said to Elizabeth Gilbert in EAT, PRAY, LOVE, “smile in your liver”–read a good book, a classic, a literary novel, nothing that will stimulate anything but your literary or relaxation muscles. Get a massage, take a bubble bath, listen to Mozart, soak in the hot tub; whatever your own personal unwinding ritual is, play tennis, go hiking: whatever it is that you do that helps you become centered, do it this weekend.
3. Unvice–I made that word up. The holidays are traditionally a time of excess, so whatever your vices are, do your best to put them aside for the weekend. I am not saying go on a diet, go on the wagon, or try to stop smoking, save all that for later, the effort will just cause you stress and that’s what you are trying to get rid of, this weekend just let your body have a break, don’t smoke SO many cigarettes, don’t drink to excess, don’t go shopping if you know that you shop too much, don’t gamble so much if you realize it is a problem for you. But DON’T beat yourself up for being the perfectly imperfect person you are.
I would love to hear from you next week if you take my advice and do these things. Some of you may not feel you need to. You may thrive on stress and feel wonderful, and if so, lucky you, but for many of us, our bodies and minds are exhausted and the only way to get back to our centers is to UN.