Getting Through Holiday Stress by LeAnne Bristow

It seems like lately my life has been a hot mess. Apparently, the Arizona heat was keeping troubles away because as soon as the weather began to cool off, I've had one disaster after another. Sadly, I have to admit that I bring a lot of it on myself.

I run a writing contest for my RWA chapter and I didn't advertise or promote the need for judges soon enough, so I was short on judges. That left me with 62 entries that I needed to find judges for. (*totally my fault)

My father-in-law ended up in ICU with a brain bleed. (*NOT my fault)

My school's entire network was taken over by ransomware and we lost access to our computers, phones and printers. (*Also, not my fault) But since I do a lot of work on my school computer, it really posed a problem for me.

My house got struck by lightning and the only thing it damaged was my router, so I was without internet to work at home and since we stream all of our television services, we had no tv. (*really, really, not my fault).

I also had some issues at work (*my fault), some issues at home (*my husband's fault....really) and a variety of other mishaps.

There were a few days that I felt like I was reaching the end of my rope and no amount of coffee would save me. Then I realized that the holiday season was almost here and things were just going to get more chaotic from now until New Year's. 

I've always been a pretty easy-going person and it actually takes a lot for me to completely freak out. The realization that I was almost to that point made me stop and come up with a plan. 

So here are some tips for relieving stress. In doing these, I also discovered that I have a lot to be thankful for. 

1) Don't be afraid to ask for help. 
I reached out to friends and got all the unjudged entries judged just in the nick of time. 
Discovery - I have a fabulous support system. 

2) Don't be afraid to offer help.

Yes, I know that seems like an oxymoron. If you are already stressed, why would you purposely add to it? I'm not talking about volunteering to take over a writing contest or anything (although, if you're interested, give me a call!). But putting someone else's need in front of your own is a great way to get some perspective. When my father-in-law was airlifted from their small town in SE Arizona to Tucson, I drove my mother-in-law back and forth to the hospital because she can't drive in the city. Discovery - Keeping her company gave me some time to reflect and realize how important family is.

3) Unplug
Having no internet service, computer access or phones at my school for 2 weeks was stressful. And although my kindergarten students don't use technology yet, I realized how often I used my computer for little things. Then when my router went out, I was already prepared.
Discovery - My students are fantastic. With nothing to interrupt us, it felt like we got a lot more done. My husband and I cooked together, had conversations and actually got to bed at a decent hour.

Here are a few more tips for beating stress:

4) Play
5) Laugh
6) Read (***I highly recommend a Heartwarming book!)
7) Find something to be thankful for.

        *My father-in-law has recovered and is back home.
        * My new granddaughter should be making her appearance into the world any time now!!
        * I was part of a fabulous anthology that released Nov. 1. "A Timeless Christmas" is available 

               *I'm thrilled to once again be part of the Christmas Town family. Our Valentine anthology  
                "Be My Heartwarming Valentine" is up for pre-order!
           *And if you can't wait until Valentine's Day to return to Christmas Town, Maine. We have a deal for you! Last year's individual novellas are now available in 2 box sets. Both sets include the prequel and 3 recipes from the stories!   

So how to you handle stress? What are you thankful for? I'd love to hear from you! 
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  1. LeAnne, I’m in awe that you write and are involved in so much, as well as family, and also teach kindergarten! Those are great anti-stress tips and I plan on trying a few out. Have you heard of Murphy’s Law? I’m not sure if it’s a Canadian thing or what, but according to some guy called Murphy (I’d like to know who he was) things happen in threes. We quote Murphy a lot in my household...funny thing, the three things are never GOOD things. :). So happy it’s all worked out for you and your father-in-law.

    1. Hi Janice! I almost named my post today "Murphy strikes again." If I ever meet him, I'm going to have a long chat with him because I'm way past the 3 things!

  2. Wow! Literally struck by lightning, as well as figuratively. I'm impressed that you're still standing. So glad your FIL is better, and I know that baby will bring lots of joy. I'm halfway through reading A Timeless Christmas collection, and really enjoying it. The time capsules are fun. Hope everything goes smoothly from here on out.

    1. Hi Beth! Now you know why I am late on the email I owe you! ;)

  3. So glad you survived all that lightning! Both literal and figurative. How do I survive stress? I don't worry a lot. (Notice I didn't say I never worry) If I can't fix it, I forget it. It took me a lot of years to get to this point, though. lol

    1. Hi Patricia! I'm usually pretty laid back and it takes a lot to stress me out, so this whole bad-luck spell has sort of taken me by surprise. I like that. If you can't fix it, forget it!

  4. What a great post! I'm so glad for what you learned--and shared. I'm mostly where Pat is, but it definitely takes time to get there.

  5. You always have seemed like an easy going kind of woman--good thing, too, because you had so much to get through. You must have been watching for locusts! To paraphrase Kipling (I think, but don't have to check) seems like you kept your level head even when others were losing theirs!

  6. Oh, my gosh! Lightening striking is frightening, and my router goes out ALL the time, so I get that one. You are one busy lady, LeAnne. I'm thrilled your father-in-law is alright now. To de-stress, I'm an avid Heartwarming reader. I also tend to read books that I don't understand at all like astrophysics, string theory, medical robotics inventions and highly technical reads that are meant to put me to sleep. Naps are my favorite past times these days. Also, a blazing fire in the fireplace on cold days and a glass of wine. Just sayin'......

  7. Hang in there, LeAnne! I love your positive discoveries when faced with troubles:-)


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