Some women have already told me they are looking forward to getting ready for the holidays. This blog post is not for them.
More women are telling me they are feeling the stress of the weeks ahead: Too many people, too much to do, too much to eat. It's simply an overload of too much of everything.
Here are a few of the phrases I have heard regarding the holiday rush:
"Anxiety through the roof"
Some women ask if they can adjust their meds during this time. Or, if they can skip the holiday season altogether! Some wonder how they can rearrange their priorities when there is so much going on! Many tell me they have heard all the good advice that’s out there and it all sounds good on paper, but it’s difficult to set limits, maintain realistic expectation, stick to your budget and take care of YOU, when your inner voice is spinning in your head chanting, “got to run, got to get, got to do, got to buy, got to cook!” You know the drill.
So how do you prepare? How do you protect yourself? How do you endure the onslaught?
I propose you do only one thing.
I am not going to tell you what that thing is. It’s important that you come up with that yourself. Pick one thing to cut out, or reduce, or do differently. Decide now what that will be. (If you wait until you are totally overwhelmed, you are guaranteed to feel guilty about cutting something out or not doing something!) Trying to do it all, or shutting down completely is self-sabotaging.
Choose one way you will relieve some of the pressure you feel, right now, and pledge to yourself that this is okay, this is how you want to do it this year. Discuss with your partner how the two of you might do things differently this year to minimize the wear and tear. Come up with a plan that immediately helps you feel a bit relieved from the burden.
Don't forget to soothe yourself with good ole cognitive affirmations if you begin to feel weary:
It’s okay. I’m doing this the best way I can for now. I don’t have to do it the way other people do it. I don't even have to do it the way I've always done it. This is what I need to do for me. For now. It’s okay.
Try your best to enjoy some moments along the way. If you cannot find the joy, then do your best not to feel guilty and ride this out. And remember to stay focused on what is most important to you and let others know what you need.
Copyright 2012 Karen Kleiman, LCSW postpartumstress.com