Ok, so I’ve not always been good are reducing stress. In fact, I use to be the Queen of causing my own stress. And I did not start talking about reducing holiday stress on an annual basis because I was bright enough to come up with these terrific stress reducing ideas. I learned the hard way. My way. I had to almost crash in order to understand the seriousness of the stress I was causing for myself.
When I divorced, I fought hard to get physical custody of my two kids. For many reasons that maybe someday will be told, my little precious girls needed to be with me. They were (and still are) the nicest kids
anyone could ever have and I needed to protect them at all costs.
I moved the three of us into a small house in the same town we lived in so they could continue at school with their friends and have a continuity that was important to keep at that time in their lives. I guess I needed some continuity too.
We moved into our new little house in September. And then it started. All the advertisements for the holidays, Halloween, costumes, candy, parties, gifts. Then Thanksgiving with all the food and party gatherings. But the biggest one was coming and that was Christmas.
I absolutely went crazy with buying presents and spending money I did not have. Nothing was too good for my little girls. I was going to out buy their father even though he had so much more money than me. I created a daily competition in my head. I would make those little girls love me more and want me more and I would do it with presents, parties, cool little gifts, candies, ice cream – you name it, I bought it for them.
The stress was building like a boiling tea kettle. I was hardly sleeping through the night with the excitement that I was going to beat at this game of presents. And I could hardly keep food out of my mouth. I was a non-stop eating machine.
Of course, my little girls loved every minute of presents and so did I. It was so exciting to watch them receive the presents and then open the presents. Such celebration and fun until the credit card bills came in January.
I was stunned. I could not have possibly spent that much money on gifts and food. And I could not have gained that much weight (15 lbs) during the holidays.
But I did and the bills did not lie. Neither did the tight jeans that could no longer zip up.
I cried and wailed and stomped around. My story could really be a very good two act play. The first act is when the idiot mother removes her brain for three months and acts like a complete fool and creates incredibly gigantic situations filled with STRESS. Act two is the good one…it is the act where sensibility, reason and love show up.
So, I could not fit into my clothes, could not pay my bills, could not get a deep breath because of the stress and I cried after I put my little girls to bed each night. So “woe is me” drama.
Life has a way of turning poop into compost. In very short order, four wonderful, life changing and brilliant solutions showed up on the same day. And the only reason I noticed them is because I was at my lowest point. I was defeated, stressed and ashamed of myself.
You know that there is magic and miracles in the world when you can notice what are the next best steps while wallowing in your stuff.
I was asked to write an article in our regional newspaper; was invited to speak at an association dinner; got a new very stressed out client needing immediate help and a note from my daughter’s teacher telling me how well she thought I was doing with the kids since the divorce.
The article ended up being about best practices for reducing stress in the New Year. I spoke on stress for a huge association that was experiencing a pounding in the marketplace. I recognized all of my stressors in my new client and was able to expertly help them through her stressful situation. And I cried and cried and cried with gratitude about the note from the teacher.
The teacher did not mention all the wonderful presents I had bought my girls. She mentioned my involvement with them in school and how confident they seemed since the divorce. The teacher stated that she just knew that they knew they were loved and safe in their new life circumstances.
Sometimes we are fast learners and in this case I was. My holiday debacle inspired my annual Top Ten Tips to Reduce Holiday Stress checklist to hundreds of papers and now newsletters and blogs. Then I co-wrote a stress book. Then I wrote 200+ articles on stress. Then I did an eBook, audio book etc on stress. I speak on stress; I blog on stress; I coach teams, individuals and organizations on stress. There have been dozens of speaking opportunities where I have been the invited expert on stress.
I just wrote about what I had become expert at…stress.
My little girls are now taller than me. They are still the nicest people on the face of the earth and they adore me. I’ve never ever stopped wanting to give them the world and more, but I do not have to buy their love. I actually never did have to buy their love, but I did not know that until I finally had the information provided to me by a miracle.
I bet if you asked my girls they could not name one present from that first Christmas after the divorce. I do know that they could recall the fireplace stories made up on the spot for warm little jammy clad girls safe and loved in a little house with their adoring mommy.
I wish you a stress less holiday season and a stress less life. Let me help. You deserve to be supported by the original stress producing expert. J
My love to you and yours,
CLICK here for your free Holiday Stress Tips and stress reducing audio
P.S. Thank you to my baby girls for loving me anyway and always!!
Quick Stress Reduction Tips
- If you love sugar in your coffee, try replacing the sweet taste with honey
- When you wake up in the morning, first thoughts can be “thank you” – a great way to start your day
- Falling asleep is easier when you are all tucked in, relaxed and just listening to your breathing – slow, deep and relaxed
What a sweet and life-changing story!
You know at the time when the story it is not sweet, but now that I have the ability to look back, it is the sweetest of all stories. Thank you for taking the time to share your comment. Much love from me to you Ann.
How wonderful for you to have survived such anguish and to now thrive teaching others how they can deal with or — hopefully — avoid the pain you experienced. You are a treasure to others.
Doug, you have been in my life and part of my “story” for a long time. Much love and respect to you for all that you do. I found that there is great love if we can just get in the way of it and bask in it…whether we think we deserve it or not. Be loved you rascal.