Comfort, Joy and All of that Other Stuff

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I am writing this post in a dark room with only the twinkle of my fake Christmas tree and the glow of my laptop to light my way.  It's November 30th, arguably a day too early to be putting up decorations but since December decided to fall on a Monday and wreck everyone's plans, this will have to do. I've done no Christmas shopping, have gained enough 'winter' weight already that most of my holiday dresses from years past don't fit and haven't bought my tickets home for the holidays yet. Comfort and Joy. Anxiety and Lethargy.

The subway stop banners near my apartment building perfectly sum up the potpourri of emotions that December brings out in many of us.  On the one side there is an ad for a warm coffee that promises you that every sip will be filled with ideal holiday cheer, and to the left of this banner is an ad for a number to call if you are in emotional distress.

As always, I fall somewhere in between, as I imagine most people around this time of year do.  Sometimes my nerves will make me feel like I'm trapped in a monochrome nightmare and sometimes I'll buck up, put on my ugliest snowflake sweater and rejoice in a sliver of momentary peace of mind.  If you're experiencing holiday stress or just general life stress and can relate, here's a little list of super obvious dos and don'ts that I find helpful around this time of year:

Do

1. Curl up with a good book near the tree 2. Meditate 3. Exercise, even just a little stretching helps 4. Lose yourself in your favourite TV series (just don't binge watch or you might feel even worst when you surface)  5. Dab a few drop of essential oil on your face (lavender does the trick)  6. Call a friend (chances are a familiar voice will perk you up) 7. Cuddle up under a knit blanket (nothing beats the sensation of being all wrapped up and toasty)

Don't

1. Dwell on all of the stuff you need to get done 2. Check your bank account constantly 3. Compare your holiday decorating flair to anything you see on Pinterest (those crafty types always make everything look so simple, but I bet in truth they were pulling their hair out hand-painting ornaments and acorns) 4. Tell yourself this will be the best Christmas ever (setting yourself up for disappointment) 5. Micromanage your family around the holidays (nobody likes a bossy-pants Santa)  6. Worry too much about your cooking (aim for edible)

Remember folks, it's only a month and after that we can all focus on something new, like breaking our New Years resolutions.