Tangled Up In Holiday Stress?

Shopping For Fresh Produce At The Outdoor Market

One morning last week, I found myself feeling like a tangled up mess. I had imagined that this Advent season was going to be full of peaceful evenings spent by the fireplace reading an Advent story to my children as they snuggled up to their Daddy while the dogs dozed quietly nearby on the floor and the cat purred softly as she was cradled in one of my children’s arms.

The reality was more like this: me scrambling to complete daily work deadlines while completing a 2016 business plan, working on my book, finding one-on-one time with God and my family, squeezing in a few more volunteer hours, racing around to make sure we have our gifts and groceries, or trying to make it to one more party to have some “Merry, Merry!” with friends and colleagues, dealing with insurance from someone hitting my car in a parking lot, piles of dirty laundry as the washer sits unplugged because the laundry room walls are being repaired due to a plumbing leak, the dogs chasing our new cat, the children jumping on the beds and screaming with laughter because they are too wired to sleep, the husband booming at the children to “go to bed!” and me running my hands through my hair as I realize that it is already 30 minutes past bedtime with no time to read a story. Phew, it’s no wonder I feel a bit like a tangled mess!

A bit of respite came one Saturday morning to the hair salon. My stylist (AKA: The Glam King) worked his magic as usual and as I left his chair, he gave my hair one last inspection and decided to give my hair one more “jushe.” Satisfied, we hugged good-bye. I left feeling like a million bucks! A “jushe’ was just what I needed. As matter of fact, it might be just what I need to get me through the rest of the year.

“Jushe” means to give something that you already have a little oomph. It’s about working with and going with what you’ve got by giving it a small adjustment that just seems to freshen up the whole look. Just like hair or an outfit, I like the idea of giving my life a “jushe”. So, I have turned “jushe” in to a handy acronym to use as a daily tool to untangle me and give me an “oomph” to help me navigate this holiday season:

J – Joy: Joy is pervasive in every moment of our life. This is because joy is inside each of us. It’s up to us whether or not we want to acknowledge and allow joy into our moment. In each moment, no matter how chaotic or challenging, I am going to intentionally connect with joy. Joy is in stopping for a moment to hear my children’s exuberant laughter and connecting with their enthusiasm for the little thrills in life like jumping on a freshly made bed.

U – Understanding: Understanding my capacity and the capacity of those around me is a profoundly moving experience. Our ignorance is the curtain that blinds us and causes us to react in ways that often cause struggle. Taking action to understand is the first step in moving through the fear that often accompanies “unknowingness.” Understanding is empathy. When I seek to understand, the guy honking at me in traffic becomes more than a personal attack; he becomes a tired, stressed out soul lashing out at the world. He may get somewhere faster but i shrug off any bad feelings as I wish him peace and know that he cannot take my peace away from me.

S – Shine: With so much negative news circulating in the media these days, life can indeed seem very daunting and overwhelming. Tapping in to the daily onslaught of death counts, doomsday rhetoric and on-going debates about who is right or wrong is mental “quick sand.” It will and can suck a person down to a very dark place. Rather than allowing myself to get stuck in that trap, I am choosing to take positive action over useless tongue wagging and worrying. I am using my time to “shine” by being my best self, providing unconditional love for family and me, and helping others when and as much as I can while being mindful of my own personal spiritual and physical wellness. When you shine, you provide a light in this world and help others to shine too.

H – Humility: I might not be able to keep my children’s Advent calendar on track, but I know that I intentionally have set out to do my best. Humility is about recognizing that rather than be all that “other’s” want me to be, I seek to accept exactly who I am and do the things I need to do to take care of myself, my family and my things. I can over-commit, be overly tolerant and nice and say yes all the time. This can be very draining. When I say “no,” I honor myself and give other’s permission to do the same. I can only control how I feel and that this is a two way street; you can’t make everyone happy, just you.

E – Embrace: Ever thought about the dynamics of a hug? In order to make a hug happen, our hands open up, our arms open wide, our chest expands and we take in another human and for a brief moment we connect. Isn’t this one of the most extraordinary physical acts ever? Embrace yourself. Embrace a child. Embrace your lover. Embrace your friend. Embrace a neighbor. Embrace an enemy. Embrace life. In that moment when we embrace, we accept our circumstances or another’s, we Ignite the grace that is so very much needed to begin healing ourselves, others and the world around us.

A “JUSHE”: Find joy, seek to understand, shine your light, be in sync with your humility and embrace what life has to offer; just what I needed to untangle myself from the holiday stress.

Shine on!

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