The Christmas Season

Another Christmas season has past. It started with my very first real Christmas tree. I grew up with a fake tree since my family has allergies, but this year Teddy and I cut down one in his parent’s back yard. It is a bit scrawny, but much larger than I anticipated. It was also free! We got a few ornaments and picked up lights and a few other decorations at a local craft fair.P1040252

The holiday season included many other festive activities – a trip to the Christmas Revels with friends, visits to craft fairs, and a fun night of making gingerbread cookies.

Teddy and I hosted about 25 friends for a Christmas party! We wanted to share our meade¬†with everyone, I made way too many cookies, and we had lots of fun. It was great to see everyone, and we’re hoping to make it an annual event.

On Christmas Eve my family enjoyed a lovely meal with friends before heading to church. On Christmas morning we headed up to New Hampshire, and the following evening my sister returned from the west coast and we enjoyed a relaxing evening opening gifts and spending time together. On Saturday we saw the other side of my family, and on Sunday we spent time with Teddy’s family. Needless to say it was wonderful to see the family, but it was great to get back to Cambridge as well. Sometimes the holidays can get a bit overwhelming!

Work has been super quiet this week, and I have to admit I’m looking forward to getting back to normal next week. New Years can always be a bit stressful, and this year is no different. I’m looking forward to this weekend!

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4 Ways to Overcome Stress

This week has been pretty stressful at work. In the past I’ve really struggled with anxiety and stress, so I’ve spent a long time exploring coping mechanisms. Below I decided to share what works well for me. Feel free to add more to my list!

Tea

What is it about a warm drink that is so relaxing? Perhaps it’s the intentional slowing down, the routine of warming water, using a favorite mug. Whatever it is – it really works. Lately I’ve been drinking a nice herbal tea before going to sleep, and it’s been helpful for me to wind down. (Having a boyfriend who grew up with a British mother really doesn’t hurt the tea situation, either – any time there is distress he always makes a cup of tea!)

Exercise

When I get stressed, I find sticking with an exercise routine¬†is really helpful. Again, having habits to turn to is comforting. Nothing like a good workout to get your mind off of everything else. I know it can be really challenging to stick to waking up early or giving up valuable after-work time to squeeze in a workout, but it really does help. I find I’m so much better at focusing during a stressful day if I’ve gotten a good workout in during the morning.

Social Support

This evening when I was feeling overwhelmed I called my parents to chat while taking a long walk around my neighborhood. Drawing on social networks when you’re stressed is vital. Having someone to listen, but also having someone to distract you, is awesome. Make sure to always return the favor, though!

Distract yourself

Distracting yourself is a great way to overcome stress. I really like working with my hands, so I often turn to cooking and knitting. Both keep me focused in on a goal (make something, whether it be food or a yarn project), and I have specific, sequential instructions to follow. Plus, in both cases, I get excited about the final product! Since my job really focuses on computer work, I love the tactile experience of working with my hands.

What do you do to overcome stress?

Things are more under control around here. I’ve been taking it easy after the whirlwind that was this weekend. Seeing all but two members of my family always is fun, but the circumstances made it a bit emotionally overwhelming. Nana’s funeral was beautiful, and was certainly an excellent tribute to her life. It turned into more of a celebration of family, which she would have loved. It certainly took a lot out of me, though, so Sunday was spent relaxing on the porch.

Today I’ve had a productive day getting the arrangements ready for the trip. Things are starting to fall into place – a lot still needs to be done, but I’m getting there!

Another happy piece of news – I got all of my grades back for this semester, and I’m all clear. Good to go for graduation! I’ve finished with a 3.8 GPA – I’ll take it!

Tomorrow I’m hoping to head up to Burlington to visit Salka, and to iron out more trip details. Let the productivity continue!

 

Side note: I’ve decided to allow myself to take a break from running until after my trip/move/starting new job. I needed to make a conscious decision to tone things down. I need to give myself permission to not be frustrated with myself for putting that on the back burner. My goal is to develop a new plan of action starting the week of June 9th.