Holiday Stress Stirs Your Perfect Storm

Many creators find December, the holiday season, particularly stressful. You want your holiday to be perfect. The list of things to do during the holiday season can be overwhelming and exhausting. You are on deadlines at least to get your holiday shopping or meals or decorations done. Most likely you are also on deadlines for your creative business or you’ve got holiday gifts to create. And it’s not done yet. Holiday stress stirs a perfect storm to derail your creativity.

Photograph of holiday stress caused by a storm--in this photo appears a person in winter outerwear walking through a snow storm. In near white-out conditions you can see a once shoveled sidewalk covered in snow and large pine trees lining the long snowy walk.

So Many Holidays

December many, many holidays. Woman’s Day lists more than one hundred. My December Celebrations posts discussed thirty-seven holidays.

Some holidays hold deep meaning. If that’s adding to your stress, step back. Breathe. You don’t have to make light of your holiday.

Being a creative means being flexible. If holiday stress stirs your perfect storm, take a moment. Remember that you are creative, even if you have to put aside your work for a while during this crazy month. Allow yourself to focus on the most important things and let some things go. Most importantly, destress, have a little fun so you don’t burn yourself out. Reset your mindset. Holiday relaxation can feed creativity and make you feel better too. Too stressed-out to know how to have some fun? Maybe one of these suggestions will give you an idea.

Have Fun With Krampus

Krampus is a scary creature from folklore who punishes kids who misbehave at Christmastime. But don’t be a Krampus because you’re stressed. Decrease your stress with a fun Krampus gift. This one is available on Amazon.


image of black t shirt with Krampus image and the words "You might not believe in Krampus but Krampus believes in you!"

Relax on St. Nicholas Day 

This day is a feast day honoring the saint. Take a few minutes to relax and reset. Print out one or two of these online coloring pages and use fat crayons or markers and color. Scribble if you need to get rid of some excess emotions. Don’t worry about keeping color inside or outside the lines. Focus on making it colorful and having fun.

If you are an artist,Trick yourself into a more child-like state of mind. Use your non-dominate hand. Close your eyes and pick a crayon. Use that color on the object least likely to be that color in reality. Have fun.

St Nicholas Center.

Get Coloring Pages.

A Meditative Bohdi Day

Buddhists celebrate this day of awakening or enlightenment. Even if you aren’t a Buddhist, take ten minutes and forget about your list of to-dos. Light a candle and meditate. Or take a stroll among the trees. 

Mitten Tree Day 

Image of a colorful, hand knit mitten ready to be hung on a mitten tree. Giving to others and counting our blessings can reduce holiday stress.

This holiday didn’t make it on the December Celebrations posts. But it reminds us to count our blessings. Buy a pair of colorful mittens or two or three and hang them on a tree for anyone who needs them. If you don’t have mittens to spare, volunteer a few hours to your local soup kitchen or food and clothes pantry.

Feast of Immaculate Conception

This one can be easy. Take the day off—at least refrain from unnecessary work and feast on your favorite foods.

National Cotton Candy Day

Image of a woman at a candy cotton machine, spinning pink cotton candy onto a paper stick. Even imagining taking a bite can reduce holiday stress.

Guess what? Go get some cotton candy and dig in. Get messy. Lick your fingers. Enjoy yourself.

Your Perfect Storm

Don’t let holiday stress create your perfect storm. Don’t let it cause burn out. Take time out to enjoy a little fun, relaxation, exercise. Creativity is a gift. And your time is a gift. Be generous with your gifts, but remember to nurture them as well.

How do you relieve holiday stress?

Image Credits:

Snowy Day Photo by Gary Ellis on Unsplash

Mitten by dooneling, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Cotton Candy by Joseolgon, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Will You Make It Fun?

Recently, I read a post about how constructive criticism can be destructive. In my experience, I know this to be true. I’m sure you’ve had the same experience. So why do you (I’m including me in this) continue to be your own worst enemies? Why are you your harshest judge? To fight your way free of the mental blocks (writer’s block for those doing nanowrimo). You know the ones that say housework is drudgery or the day job is soul sucking. Or something many of us are saying, 2020 is the worst year ever. It is, but… By telling yourselves over and over and over how bad things are, you reinforce the feelings that only bad things happen. For your sanity, you have to get past that. How? By having fun? What’s that you say? How can you make it fun when things are so bad? 

Nurses make it fun at work

If you obey all the rules you miss all the fun.

Katharine Hepburn

Unstructured Play

Ms. Hepburn may have been talking about rules of acting or laws or life. But here, we’re talking about having fun, unstructured play. A playful attitude and a little bending of the rules that allows all sides to have fun is great for reducing stress. It also enhances your relationships. 

You probably know that unstructured play or free play is vital to a child’s development. But it’s good for adults, too. In fact, unstructured play may help reduce the chances of Alzheimer’s or other dementias.

Live and work but do not forget to play, to have fun in life and really enjoy it.

Eileen Caddy

Read the transcript or watch this TED talk by Stuart Brown about how important play is. He discusses how lack of play is significant in the lives of murderers and other maladjusted people. But strikingly, he talks about how a husky at play causes an altered state in a wild, aggressive polar bear searing for food.

I think that success is having fun.

Bruno Mars

Fun Makes Your Brain Work Better

Follow your dreams. Just make sure to have fun too.

Chris Brown

Play lifts your mood. An enhanced mood increases dopamine. Dopamine is associated with reward, satisfaction, and motivation. Thus you pay more attention to what you’re learning or doing. 

Play for a Sense of Wellbeing

silhouettes of people playing basketball. They make it fun.

You just do what you can and you have as much fun as possible.

Frank Ocean

Play also increases serotonin. Serotonin is the key hormones that stabilizes our mood and our sense of wellbeing. It not only makes you feel better, it blocks sad thoughts and feelings. 

Even simply remembering a happy or fun event will increase your serotonin levels.

Make it Fun

At the end of the day, if I can say I had fun, it was a good day.

Simone Biles

So what do you want to say and feel at the end of the day? Try putting aside the woes and worries you have. Set aside time for play at least once a week. Every day would be better. It’s your choice. Will you make it fun? 

The Challenge of 2020 is to Find Your Joy

I’m worried about you. On my Facebook and twitter feeds, I see a lot of you are in distress. Yes, we’ve more than a few challenges this year. For some of you, those challenges are down right catastrophes. But for a lot of you, you’re taking on those catastrophes as your own. You’ve lost your joy. And that is a catastrophe. The challenge of 2020 is to find your joy. Without a little joy each day, you’re allowing the world and events you cannot control to control you and how you feel. Perhaps you’ll find a little joy in one of these quotes.

two kids playing joyfully in water--do you find your joy in water play?

Joy While Having a Bad Day

Those who prepared for all the emergencies of life beforehand may equip themselves at the expense of joy.

E. M. Forster

I discovered that joy is not the negation of pain, but rather acknowledging the presence of pain and feeling happiness in spite of it.

Lupita Nyong’o

We can feel joy even while having a bad day, a bad week, or even a bad year!

Russell M. Nelson

We cannot cure the world of sorrows, but we can choose to live in joy.

Joseph Campbell

We have to embrace obstacles to reach the next stage of joy.

Goldie Hawn

If you carry joy in your heart, you can heal any moment.

Carlos Santana

Where to Look

a field of bright yellow flowers against a blue sky

Joy is the simplest form of gratitude.

Karl Barth

The secret to life is finding joy in ordinary things.

Ruth Reichl

Let your joy be in your journey—not in some distant goal.

Tim Cook

 Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.

Nhat Hanh

Ways to Think

I’m grounded in joy; I’m not grounded in the trauma anymore.

Tarana Burke

Joy lies in the fight, in the attempt, in the suffering involved, not in the victory itself.

Mahatma Gandhi

Find joy in everything you choose to do. Every job, relationship, home… it’s your responsibility to love it, or change it.

Chuck Palahniuk

The soul’s joy lies in doing.

Percy Bysshe Shelley

Gratitude helps you to grow and expand; gratitude brings joy and laughter into your life and into the lives of all those around you.

Eileen Caddy

Just follow your joy. Always. I think that if you do that, life will take you on the course that it’s meant to take you.

Jonathan Groff

There are those who give with joy, and that joy is their reward.

Khalil Gibran


We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.


Joy is increased by spreading it to others.

Robert Murray McCheyne

Let a joy keep you. Reach out your hands and take it when it runs by.

Carl Sandburg

Let there be more joy and laughter in your living.

Eileen Caddy

The challenge of 2020

In times of joy, all of us wished we possessed a tail we could wag.

W. H. Auden

Life is hard. The pandemic has made it harder, scarier. Add on politics, social injustices, fires, hurricanes, and all the usual life tragedies and you are surrounded with catastrophes. 

If the quotes aren’t helping, look at these 10 ways to find joy. Or perhaps you’ll find answers in Lifehack’s article or Oprah’s article.

Take a moment to evaluate your stress levels. And remember, life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. The challenge of 2020 is to find your joy. For all of us to find some joy. In the comments below, share the joy you’ve found. I hope it’s a joy that makes you wish for a tail to wag.

Nourish Your Soul

Have you grown weary of the pandemic? It’s going on and on and on. Dirty politics is everywhere. And bad people, angry people are showing their ugly everywhere. People suffering injustices and hatred are trying to make their voices heard—everywhere. How do you hang on in such trying times? You nourish your soul a little or a lot every-single-day.

Outline of a person's head with a radiance around it from he sun shining over a forest in the background perhaps it looks something like this when you nourish your soul

Society tells us that women suffer the emotional arrows of life more acutely. But your gender or the gender you choose, the color of your skin, your religious or ethnic or cultural lives—none of that means you don’t suffer. We are all hurting one way or another. Please read these quotes with your own pronouns of choice, your own gender, your own self in mind. I hope this collection of quotes can help nourish your soul a little today.

No Matter How Dark it Seems

There is some good in this world, and it’s worth fighting for.

J. R. R. Tolkien

A lesson for all of us is that for every loss, there is victory, for every sadness, there is joy, and when you think you’ve lost everything, there is hope.

Geraldine Solon

You Can’t Control it All

You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.

Maya Angelou, Letter to My Daughter

When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.

Henry Ford

See the Good

image of wisteria flowers in the foreground with a bridge over a creek in the background.

Lighten up on yourself. No one is perfect. Gently accept your humanness.

Deborah Day

You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.


If only you could sense how important you are to the lives of those you meet; how important you can be to people you may never even dream of. There is something of yourself that you leave at every meeting with another person. 

Fred Rogers

The very least you can do in your life is figure out what you hope for. And the most you can do is live inside that hope. Not admire it from a distance, but live right in it, under its roof.

Barbara Kingsolver

What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Make Time for Self-Care

Keep taking time for yourself until you are you again.

Lalah Delia

There are days I drop words of comfort on myself like falling leaves and remember that it is enough to be taken care of by myself. 

Brian Andreas

Self-care is never a selfish act—it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer to others.

Parker Palmer

As the quotes have said, self-care isn’t selfish.  Self-care can be a ritual or any of 21 ways to be kind to yourself.

Remember Hope

image of a rainbow in a blue sky with white clouds--a symbol of hope to nourish your soul

Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.

Desmond Tutu

Hope is important because it can make the present moment less difficult to bear. If we believe that tomorrow will be better, we can bear a hardship today. 

Thich Nhat Hanh

Just as despair can come to one only from other human beings, hope, too, can be given to one only by other human beings.

Elie Weisel

Nourish Your Soul

Food for the body is not enough. There must be food for the soul.

Dorothy Day

Don’t ask yourself what the world needs, ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.

Howard Washington Thurman

When you recover or discover something that nourishes your soul and brings joy, care enough about yourself to make room for it in your life.

Jean Shinoda Bolen

Remember Love

Love is the capacity to take care, to protect, to nourish. Thich Nhat Hanh

It seems simplistic. And maybe it is. But when the situation becomes too much love yourself enough to nourish your soul. Do it every day, but especially during when life is hard. Make room for those activities that feed your soul. That self-nourishment will get you through whatever difficulties you face. 

Do You Need to Get Away From It All?

Current events have you tied up in knots? Feel like you need to get away from it all? 

image is of the tangled and knotted top of a telephone pole with wires going every direction. If you feel knotted up you need to get away from it all.

You deserve a Calgon™ moment

If you’re as old as I am, you may remember the old “Calgon™, take me away” commercials on television. Calgon™ is an American brand of water softener, and bath and beauty products. The commercials started in the 80s and features—well watch and see…

Recognize Your Stress Levels

The point is, you’ve been under a bunch of stress. Unusual amounts of stress. And the stress is ongoing. Fortunately I have a few posts that may help you. But first what kind of stress are you experiencing? You may be experiencing physical, emotional, cognitive, or behavioral signs of stress. Learn to recognize your stress levels.

Make a Safe Place

No matter what level of stress you’re feeling, you need to be able to continue to function. If you feel like you’re in a safe place you can keep up with most of the things you need to do. This next post discusses how to make a safe place in your mind.

Perhaps that’s a little too woo-woo for you. You may find my post, 6 ways to Find Your Calm, more to your liking.

When You Can’t Get Away From It All

You can destress or relax with music, or by sniffing certain smells, or with distractions.

Sometimes the most important thing in a whole day is the rest we take between two deep breaths.

Etty Hillesum

Although this next post was about holiday stress, laughter really is the best medicine. Find the things that make you laugh.

Increase Your Resilience

One of Merriam-Webster’s definitions of resilience is “an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change.” If you increase your resilience you will handle stress better and recover from it quicker. The best time to increase your resilience is, of course, before you get knotted up with stress. But if it’s an ongoing stress like a pandemic or racial injustices, you might want to work on ways to increase your resistance to stress.

Get Away From It All

Image of my yorkie kissing my grandson
They relieve my stress….most of the time. lol

We all need to get away from it all once in a while. It’s not a sign that you’re a bad person or that you have poor coping skills. It just means that you’ve reached a threshold. You need a break. So be good to yourself today and every take. Take a Calgon™  moment or two. Be safe out there. Wear a mask, social distance, and wash your hands.

How do you get away from it all when it feels like too much?