Tips for avoiding stress and staying sane amidst the frenzy of the holiday season.
It’s the holiday season again. For some it is the happiest time of the year, but for others it’s a time of stress. No matter what category you fall into, I’d like to suggest that you start a new tradition this year, and that is to follow your heart and only do those things that bring you joy. Now I know that is a huge order because the universal energy is an extreme force during this time of year. It seems the universal focus is buy, buy, buy and that energy sucks us into a holiday black hole.
One way to curtail the madness is to recognize and truly observe the spirit of the holiday. Please don’t think I’m not asking to give up the bountiful smorgasbord that awaits that special day. Lord knows you’ve been waiting for Aunt Sadie’s cornbread dressing for a year and heaven forbid that I would suggest eliminating anyone from being “The Biggest Loser”.
I’m talking about really taking some quiet reflective time to love and appreciate your life and all of the blessings received throughout the year: the sustenance of family and friends that adds to the enrichment of your existence and praying for those whose relatives and friends have passed away, leaving them here to define loneliness and fight off feelings of abandonment. Be grateful for the food and shelter you possess and maintain while you pray for the people of Haiti as they endure the toughest trials they have ever had to face.
Starting the season off in this way sets the precedent for an open heart to thrive in the peace on earth, goodwill towards men theme.
Another age old tradition that needs reconsideration is the retail shopping frenzy. Every year we fall prey to the retailer’s ploy to get us into the stores at the crack of dawn for those so called “super bargains”. They believe it will put them in the “black” financially. By cutting a few prices, their stockholders can celebrate the season without thoughts of cutting a lot of staff. They advertise a fantastic bargain for the “stuff” that shoppers want most. But much to shoppers’ dismay, they find that the item is sold out because there were only one or two items for sale at that price. Just to keep from going home empty handed and getting some rest (after all, it is 4am), the shopper decides to stay and see what other deals may be found, while “visions of sugar plums dance in the heads” of the retailer.
Now I’ve never experienced one of these early morning sales, but I can’t imagine receiving the ultimate in customer service at that time of the morning. I would think excessive crowds would bring out the worst in salespeople who are operating on limited sleep, because most retail employees are pushed to the brink during the holiday season. They work a tireless amount of hours to be there for the last-minute shoppers, the professional returners and the gift card redeemers. Many times the only memories some of them have of the holiday season is watching the boxing match over the last X-box or WII system in the last store in a 50 mile radius.
So please have a heart for those who are there to serve. If you’re going out, be kind and play nice with the others — or better yet, just stay home and rest.
“Holiday shoppers” AP Photo/ The Tennessean, John Partipilo