2 years ago before Christmas I made myself not just a mental, but this very public promise to take things easy during the holidays. It was a sort of to-do list, a step-by-step guide to tackle things better, to keep my sanity before, during and after the holidays. I planned to report back right away and let you know how it went and my thoughts on it. And then things happened which I was unsure if I wanted to share for some time… but more on that later.

In the beginning, as with any changes in the usual modus operandi it was hard. I felt my inner self not just rebel against the changes but launch a massive nuclear attack against it. However, I found that taking a couple of deep breaths and reminding myself of the why I was doing it really made a difference. Visualizing the usual crazy Adri and then relishing in the (even if minute) unexpected achievements felt so good! And as I saw how things were becoming easier AND my former life was not falling apart, my resolve to stick to my plan grew.

What made me realize just how strong my desire for change really was, was when I had an accident 2 days before Christmas. With 12 stitches and a leg propped up high I really did not have the opportunity OR possibility to do anything. No Christmas dinner, no tree decoration, no wrapping of presents, nothing. And when the tears stated welling up and the panic was slowly creeping toward me was when I felt the miracle happen: I felt this incredible inner peace because I knew it was going to be OK. Whatever we were going to have was going to be just perfect.

That list I wrote myself before Christmas? I took it and put it through a mental shredder. We did not have the gingerbread cookies on the tree that year, or the big dinner I was planning. I could not bake the cake or finish Mr.AP’s Christmas present. And it turned out to be just fine. We sat down with Mr.AP and carefully re-thought everything. We decided upon one thing as a priority and that was to be together. Everything else … well, nothing else remained on our list! And with no pressure upon us we suddenly felt light as a feather.

We ended up taking things slowly and only doing things we felt we could but most importantly wanted to handle. Peacefully and without any worries we made it through the day. Mr.AP, though he does not usually cook, ended up making our improvised Christmas dinner. And I have to say it was delicious! So all in all, my 5 step survival guide worked out perfectly. I was able to stick to it and feel comfortable and peaceful at the end. And it is the guide I now follow not just during the holiday season, but live by throughout the year.

If there is just one thing I would say about the list is that I’d add something at the end, a tiny reminder. Sometimes the worry will come in an all encompassing wave. In those cases it is OK to let it go and have a good cry!


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