Limping Through the Holidays: Where’s My Magic?
Ah, it’s the holidays. The season of more. More work. More chores. More social events. More shopping, cooking, decorating, and, well, more. It’s also the season of “it’s harder to get things done.” More people are unavailable, taking a personal day (to do their own limping), and naturally the very person with whom we need to speak to check an item off our to-do list is out for the day or week. We’re hammered, stressed and certain we will never get everything done on time, and someone in our lives gives us a rash because we’re acting like a Grinch and are anything but cheery.
Our first reaction is to growl and bark, maybe even bite. But we recognize we’re hammered and stressed so we tamp the urge. But the resentment against this total lack of awareness at all we’re confronted with simmers and we stew. Then we steam. And unless we do something drastic, we’re going to build steam until we blow—at whatever victim happens to be in our path at this critical mass moment. Poor thing. Don’t you feel sorry for that person? S/he is reaping that sown from all that’s come before and not been vented. And odds are high that after we blow the lid off, we’re going to regret it. Some things can’t be taken back or undone. And we’ll have to live with that. Or will we…?
Well, if we pop a cork, yeah, we will have to live with the fallout. But here’s the thing. Blowing is a choice. Steaming is a choice. Stewing and simmering is a choice. So we can make other choices—before we pop the proverbial cork. We need alternatives.
ALTERNATIVES TO POPPING YOUR CORK OR BLOWING YOUR LID
1. RECOGNIZE. We need to recognize that everyone is teetering on the edge of popping their cork or blowing their lid. Everyone is under pressure. Everyone is limping through the holidays with too much to do and too little time to do it. Exhibit your recognition by being a little kinder, a little more patient, a little more understanding. The compassion you show might just be returned. It will be appreciated. If not by the other person by you. You won’t teeter at the eruption point. There’s merit in that and benefits to yourself and to others.
2. GRATITUDE. When you’re about to lose it, pause. Yes, pause. Doesn’t matter how many items are on your to-do list, you don’t just want this pause, you need this pause. Take it. During this moment, think of three things for which you’re grateful. Some examples to get you started: That you’re upright and alive and not toes up in a morgue. That you’re able to read your to-do list. That you have a job or a car or a home. That you have enough sense to know you’re limping and you need the pause to be grateful you have sense. There’s always health, hope, ability. No small things these! But ones often taken for granted.
3. PEACE. The last thing you need is to be limping and at war with yourself because you can’t ace or juggle everything going on in your life and do it all with flair. We all have limitations and while we strive to do better, we need to make peace with ourselves on what we do. We’re not slacking or being lazy if, for example, we can’t get all we wanted to get done in time. We shouldn’t condemn ourselves, feel inferior or lacking. Sometimes we judge ourselves by how things look on paper—our list—and not reality. Have you ever started to tackle a specific chore then something else cropped up?
Seems easy enough to do a specific chore, but when we start it, something else has to be done first. So we do that first thing and then get to the chore. Sometimes we have multiple things crop up that have to be done first. These other things aren’t just distractions we pull out to avoid doing something we’d rather not, they are valid. And all those other things zap our time from our specific chore. Now we’re behind schedule and we’re out of time. Happens to everyone, right?
Again, we have a choice to make. We can pop a cork or make peace with the facts. We can grumble about what we didn’t get done or be grateful for what we did. One choice is going to have us tense and bitter. The other, grateful for what we did get done. You know which will depress your mood and which will elevate it. Which do you choose?
HINT: If you’re working from a prioritized to-do list, where the most important things are done first, you’ll do better at staying out of crisis mode.
WHAT WE KNOW
1. Everyone is limping. We all have extra work (no matter how pleasant) and we’re tired. Because we know it, we’re a little more gentle, a little more kind, and understanding. We treat others well and hope they’ll return the kindness.
2. Everyone is being confronted by challenges out of their control. Nixing that fact is beyond us. But we all can control our reactions to our challenges.
3. Our mood, emotional balance, sense of selfis a direct result of the choices we make. We’re all limping and confronted by more challenges. We choose whether we pause and count our blessings, seek help or patience or pop a cork. And we do it knowing we and our victims will deal with the fallout and consequences. Will we look back with fond memories or regret? It’s our call.
4. Limping is what it is: a season. It’s not a permanent affliction or problem. It too shall pass. So accept that for a while, we’re going to limp. Make peace with it. Be grateful for it. Having an attitude of gratitude works wonders for your mindset—and a positive, constructive mindset is key to fewer regrets and more serenity.
IN A NUTSHELL
Ah, the season of more. That special time of year when everyone is limping. Some simmer and stew and pop their proverbial corks. Some arm themselves with patience and gratitude and show others kindness and come across so serene and peaceful . . .
Mmm, when you dig through the clutter, limping breaks down pretty simple, doesn’t it?
During the season of more, you’re going to limp. The question is: Are you going to limp frowning or smiling?
And there’s your magic!
© 2013, Vicki Hinze
Vicki Hinze is the award-winning, USA Today bestselling author of nearly thirty novels in a variety of genres including, suspense, mystery, thriller, and romantic or faith-affirming thrillers. Her latest releases are: Duplicity (military romantic thriller,) Torn Loyalties (inspirational romantic suspense), Legend of the Mist (time-travel romantic suspense), One Way to Write a Novel (nonfiction). She holds a MFA in Creative Writing and a Ph.D. in Philosophy, Theocentric Business and Ethics. Hinze’s online community: Facebook. Books. Twitter. Contact. www.vickihinze.com.