I had a great holiday weekend. Thanksgiving at my brother’s. Lots of kids. Even some kids I hadn’t seen in years. Jake had a sleepover. More cousins on Sunday with the family this time infiltrating my house. But holy heavens, I’m exhausted. My toddler refuses to take a nap and by 4:30 she’s hell on wheels. Plus, I’m getting depressed with the golden hue that once flanked my yard and has now disapeared into the season. Holidays. Birthdays. Presents. Shopping. Gifts. All those damn catalogs parading on my front porch. Buy me. Buy me. I’m feeling a little blue. Want to know what I’m doing to unwind? It’s not any sure fire cure for holiday stress, but maybe some of my own ideas will permeate with you.
1. Create peaceful mantras and repeat them.
Who needs to be subtle when you can be hit on the head with a hammer of positive affirmations? I ordered three of these It’s OK banners from Ashley Anna Brown’s site Secret & Holiday and Co. I’ll hang it in my mud room where all I don’t want to fights originate and make me want to explode into a flying saucer. The other two I’ll send to friends.
2. Hibernate with beautiful things.
If you’ve never been to Victoria Smith’s blog SF Girl By Bay, then you must go now. Yes, click right over. Her decorating and craft site is warm and cozy, a place of refuge. It feels like a living room I want to sink into, and her newest post on Hibernation is a magical respite.
3. Be with good friends
This year, I was lucky enough to spend a retreat in Santa Fe with 3 of my best girlfriends. We hiked. Did yoga. Sun poured down on us (see photo below). We witnessed fantastic art in galleries and on the street. We searched on OK Cupid for the not-so-best-matches-ever for my single friend. Talked about husbands. Orgasms. Hot tubs. Spa. I’m not suggesting Santa Fe is a quick fix for me, or anyone. But making time for friends is.
It’s so much more important to sit with friends than just email or call. You want to see their faces. It brings back the joy in you.
You don’t have to go to Santa Fe (but by all means do!) My best friend in New Jersey and I go to the mall for mini getaways. We shop cheap and then we eat at Cheescake Factory. That’s our retreat.
4. Get to sleep early.
You think I’m being silly? Sleep is a precious commodity in my house! I’d pay you for sleep. I’d drug myself for sleep (and sometimes I do.) My daughter still wakes up. She’s a toddler. She wants her back rubbed in the middle of the night. I oblige. Plus, my dedicated husband takes the train into the city every day at 6:18 a.m. to get to his teaching job in Chelsea. How do I remedy the bags under my eyes, which shine so bright? I’m forcing myself into bed early. As in, turn off the ‘puter at 8:30. Take out contacts and replace with Demi Moore-like glasses. And get into bed. I no longer watch Andy Cohen, or Jon Stewart or anyone else who sucks the sleep out of me at 11 p.m. At least I’m trying. I really am.
5. Exercise even if you hate it.
Can we just all agree that excercise is crucial? It allows you to eat the yummy goodies that will surround you during the month of December. Isn’t that why we exercise? To eat? Come on! For the past 6 months, I committed to the Bar Method. It’s a horrible, awful workout that makes your legs shake and for an hour you are being tortured by women taunting you about posture. With that said, it is the best workout I have EVER tried. It hasn’t gotten rid of my Mummy Tummy altogether, but it has certainly strengthened it. I have muscles I’ve never had before (hello, biceps, nice to meet you) and when I’m done with the workout, I feel refreshed and strong. If exercise class isn’t your thang, I get it. So go out and hike. Walk around the hood. As my father says, get those endorphins charged. They really do help your mood. I’ll leave you with my girlfriends and I hiking in the Santa Fe Mountains. We don’t have that exactly here in Jersey, but hey, a little inspiration never hurt.