Slow Down and Breathe

slow-down-and-breathe

The holidays are fast approaching, and challenges are beginning to build. With so many things to do in the next few months, this would be a good time to remind ourselves that just because life is speeding up doesn’t mean that we have to.

How do we find balance? In truth, finding balance isn’t the right word. Creating balance is a better idea. How do we create balance in our world in the midst of so much pressure and busy-ness that the holidays bring?

Here are five ways to help create balance:

1. Plan Ahead: Keep your calendar updated so you can see what is coming. Know what needs to happen and is expected at each event to reduce the surprises. For example, if you must make a dish-to-pass for every party, you will need to find the recipes (or several, as is my case) then you can plan and pick up all the ingredients for the recipe ahead of time.

2. Reduce the “Events”: Not every holiday party or even is a “must” attend. Decide which ones are the most important and go only to these. Not everyone will understand, but you must take care of you. Attempting to attend every event is a recipe for exhaustion.

3. Reduce Gifting: Although there seems to be a competition for the biggest, better than last year, gift giving season, this can create pressure, stress, and, of course, debt. For the most part, we have what we need – for some, we have too much. Do we really need that next gadget? Do my kids really need that “must have” toy? In my family, we have adopted the 3-gift model. For my grandkids, this means a book, a toy, and new clothes. No, I’m not hardcore but when they have three different sets of grandparents, aunties, and uncles, and extended family – each with another party, holidays can be overwhelming. And, the toys are often broken quickly leading to more stuff.

4. Take Time for Yourself: Do things for yourself like long baths, nights out with your partner, or alone time. Have fun. It’s so difficult to give and give, without taking the time to recharge yourself. The exhaustion and burnout can make for an unpleasant holiday season.

5. Breathe: Just 5 minutes each morning of deep breathing can set the tone for the entire day. Breathing can detoxify your system, lower your stress and help you sleep better at night.

If we believe the advertisements or songs, then this is the most wonderful time of the year. But the pressure to have that perfect Halloween costume, Thanksgiving dinner or Christmas morning can become overwhelming. Nothing is fabulous if you are too tired to enjoy it.

Step back and make conscious decisions about this season can help you create balance. Maybe, just maybe, you will have the best holiday season ever.

The Longest Night

Today marks the shortest day of the year.

And, the Longest Night. This is one night of the year where the darkness seems to overtake the light.

But not for long. From this day forward, at least for a while, the light is coming back.

This is turning out to be a time of reflection for me. I’ve been thinking about the past year and am looking forward to next year, but that is another post.

For this post, I want to share some of this year’s holiday moments. Things are calm now but have been crazy busy. I hope the pictures help to slow things down a bit.

Apparently, it’s been a season of selfies. At least, I had some company.

I received a gift and just in case you can’t read the hat; it says ‘ba humbug.’ My holiday spirit is showing.

He likes getting his picture taken.

Caleb was amazed at the horse and wanted his picture taken.

Abel’s new ride.

More selfies with company; he likes to make faces.

More faces.

They are all in the same room and wanted a picture.

Finally, I realized I could turn the light on and get a decent picture of my tree. I guess I’m never too old to learn something new.

Presents are all opened, and everyone’s gone home. Though the party is over, there are still things scheduled, like Star Wars (no spoilers please) and Rick Springfield. Both should be fun.

November’s End

November sunset
November sunset

It’s the end of November, and I realize that I haven’t posted much. That has mostly been to NaNoWriMo.

But November is over, and it’s time to get back to a normal life. Well as normal as it can be for me which can be a challenge

I am still working on my novel, still writing every day. One of the issues with NaNoWriMo is that most novels aren’t 50,000 words. I think mine will be somewhere around 80,000. I still have about 20 thousand to go.

I spent most of the month trying to forget that the holidays were coming up fast. We’ve just celebrated Thanksgiving, which is forcing me to think about Christmas. I’ve done some, but now I have to focus on it. I like this season, but I tend to stress myself out. My goal for the next month is not to overwhelm myself.

Since November is coming to a close, I thought I would give you five of my favorite things about November even though this post won’t be on a Friday. I must say this was a difficult thing to do. November is one of those middle months that not much stands out, even so, here is my list:

  1. Pumpkin Pie – November has traditionally been the month for pumpkins. Pumpkin Pie is my favorite method for tasting pumpkin. Other favorites include pumpkin roll and pumpkin bread. For Thanksgiving, I made pies, and they turned out fabulous.
  2. Thanksgiving – As crazy as it sounds, Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. Though I am a vegetarian and don’t eat turkey, the traditional (for my family at least) sides are some of my favorite foods. For me, the best part of Thanksgiving is when we are all sitting around a table, my brothers adjusting for being lefties and passing all the food around. I don’t get to celebrate this way every year, and I look forward to it when I can.
  3. Cold, wet, rainy weather – Again, this may be a crazy favorite, but I love weekends where it is cold and wet, and I have nothing to do outside my house. Snuggling down with a book or movie in a cozy house is the best day ever.
  4. The Friday After Thanksgiving – I’ve been able to take this day off for the past several years. Black Friday shopping is one of my least favorite things so to have what is essentially a free day is fabulous. This year, unfortunately, I had a bad headache, but the fact that I didn’t need to go anywhere was the best.
  5. NaNoWriMo – It’s no secret that I am a fan of this particular event so it should be no surprise that this made my list. As this is the end of the month and I’ve “won” it is even more my favorite. It helps keep my writing focused.

Well, there you have it, some highlights about November. I am hoping that December will be a better month where I post on my regular schedule. It will also be a month of editing as I have several stories desperately in need of major revising.

I hope everyone had a fantastic holiday. December is arriving, and things will get crazy, but perhaps not too crazy.

That is my goal for December. What’s yours?