No, you’re not crazy. It’s just the holidays!

Time to bring everything outside inside.  So, I took one last swing on my hammock in the autumn chill and sunshine today for the last time in 2014.

Surveying the dead and crunchy leaves around me — leaves that were tender green shoots only months ago — I began to feel sad about the passage of time.

I got teary thinking about holidays past with treasured relatives who are long gone.

Then, I began to panic about everything I need to accomplish before the end of the year.  Before you know it, I was in the middle of an end-of-the-year, melt-down muddle!

As the year closes in, are you feeling sad, or pressured, or as though things are falling apart?  Or, are people around you melting down?

If so, it is not in their imagination, or yours, or mine!  Talk to any therapist who will tell you that stress is more pronounced this time of the year than any other.

The pressure of holidays coming so close together, tied with deadlines to wrap up the year and start a new one, can leave you feeling like you’re running a marathon on a hamster wheel!

Add to it the expectation that we are to be happy and of good cheer during this time of year when biologically we were designed to withdraw and hibernate — and no wonder holiday times can take a toll on us.

So, as many of us gather this week for Thanksgiving, it’s a good time to remember what can give you comfort, lift you up, and keep you sane:

  •  Hug and kiss the ones you love the most and tell them exactly what you love and appreciate about them. (“You bring me so much joy and I feel so cared about by you.”)
  • Graciously say “no” to more things than you said “yes” to. (“That’s a lovely offer and I wish we could but we can’t.”)
  • Take stock of all the good or great things you did or that happened this year (I bet you can find at least 50 terrific things that made proud or made you smile in 2014. Make a list, invite others to join you, then share and celebrate each other’s good news and achievements.)
  • Find someone to talk to who will listen to you express your feelings without giving you unasked for advice. (Friend, relative, colleague, therapist!)
  • Sit with a friend and listen to them share their own feelings of “holiday crazy.” (Your chance to let them know they’re not!)
  • Schedule naps and down time now for the next month. Keep your tank full and the holidays will be easier. (Extra points for inspiring others to do the same! Double extra points for naps with pets and babies.)
  • Focus your time and attention on the people who are most important to you.

On the Women on Fire monthly members’ LIVE CHAT recently, we talked about a special process to help you focus your time and energy to get the most joy during the holidays. It starts with making a list of the 8-10 people who are THE most important of all and putting your time and attention on them!

  • Reach out to someone who is lonely – and let them know you’re thinking about them.
  • Vow to create a peaceful home and stress-free environment. (Your home is your sanctuary. What needs to happen to make it an oasis this holiday season? What is one thing you can do right now to make it more peaceful?)
  • Take time to be grateful.  (Nothing shifts my mood faster than keeping a daily gratitude list.)

Have a beautiful week.  I hope you find yourself at peace and celebrating in ways that uplift you.

I will be on Martha’s Vineyard for Thanksgiving with my husband Rob and close friends — and am looking very forward to a relaxing time, creating new memories with people I love.

That tinkling sound you’ll hear?  It will be me toasting you!

For all your love and support and my enormous gratitude that you are in this amazing circle of fabulous women (and quite a few men) making the world a better place.


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