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5 Ways to Cut Down on Holiday Stress

I made this wreath for the door earlier this afternoon. It has also been posted on my Instagram accounts so if you follow me there, that’s why it probably looks very familiar. Merry Christmas!

Here we are, a week from Christmas Day. It’s hard to believe it has crept up so quickly.

I don’t know about you but I always feel more stressed this time of year than any other. Perhaps it’s because of all the expectations we have of others and ourselves, or perhaps because it’s just so busy.

As I get older I try not to get so stressed out over it because let’s face it; it will come and go whether we’re ready or not. This year I have found a few ways to deal with the stress a little easier. Granted this list may be a little late for some this year, but it’s ‘food for thought’ for other holidays too.

  1. Take some ‘you’ time. I am someone who feels I need to be doing something every waking moment, whether it be reading, working, writing, crafting or household responsibilities. If I’m not doing something I feel guilty. Take a few minutes in the evening to relax and unwind with your beverage of choice, a good book or your favourite TV show. It’s amazing what some quiet time will do to regenerate a person.
  2. Delegate some of the work. If you’re the person hosting Christmas Dinner, it’s okay to ask for others to contribute to the meal. In my family my younger sister is hosting but we’re all taking a favourite dish to help out. I’m taking the popular Broccoli Salad and some baking. Not only will it be less meal preparation for her, but she’ll be able to enjoy the pre-meal visiting without being stuck in the kitchen the entire time.
  3. Enjoy the time together. We decided a few years ago to eat, visit, open gifts then do the cleanup. Of course some of the food needs to be refrigerated relatively quickly, but that’s all that gets done right after the meal. Take the time to visit with each other, play games and watch the kids enjoy their new toys. Dad always said Christmas is for kids and I see now he was right. The dishes won’t be going anywhere so if they don’t get washed right away it’s not the end of the world.
  4. Set a budget. I know most of you reading this will have all of your shopping done by now. I always stress out over how much I’m spending so this year I set a budget for each person and stuck to it. Our family gift exchange is a Secret Santa one with a thirty-five dollar limit which is doable for everyone. Of course I have a little higher limit for my kids as well as a limit for their significant others. I finished my shopping on Monday and as I bought for each person I crossed them off the list. That way I wasn’t spending more than I could afford.
  5. Pay cash or use your debit card. The holiday sales tempt us into buying more than we should. Anyone with a credit card knows just how dangerous that can be. I set money aside this year for Christmas shopping and paid with either cash or using my debit card. I’m not going to have the huge credit card bills that many others will have, so that alone will cut down on the after-holiday stress as well.

The true spirit of Christmas is for spending time with family and friends. You don’t need to break the bank to impress anyone. Do what you can and don’t fret about what you can’t do. The holidays are meant for laughter, sharing a meal (or three) and enjoying the time together. Don’t let the advertisements on TV tempt you into spending more than you can afford.

In closing I would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. May the season bring joy, good tidings and wonderful memories. And please remember, if you drink don’t drive.

What They Say Is True

Have you ever heard anyone say the older you get, the faster time flies?

I used to think they were just using it as a figure of speech, but I now see how much truth there is to it. It seems like just yesterday I was getting home from Calgary, and it’s already three-quarters of the way through November. If I’m not careful I’m going to wake up and be eighty-something, and not know where the past thirty years have gone. Now that is a scary thought.

My time has not been wasted however. I have been brushing up on learning Canva so I can make more printables for my Etsy Shop plus design my own postcards, worksheets and brochures. It’s a good skill to know and the more I use it the better I’ll be.

In addition to the above I’ve also picked up some extra shifts at work while our manager is away enjoying a much-deserved vacation. I don’t mind the extra shifts though, because it will help offset the two weeks we’re closed through Christmas holidays.

And speaking of Christmas, I committed myself to having a table at our local Christmas Market. I’m changing up my wares a little this year because there are other vendors with crocheted items. I don’t like to step on anyone’s toes so am adding some woodburned items to my table. Plus the handspun alpaca yarn and dryer balls should find new homes.

Volunteers are an integral part of any community, especially a small one like ours. It has been decided to update our area history, so I have taken on the role of website moderator and newspaper article contributor. Our little committee of five all bring something different to the table; my expertise is the computer and writing side. As the information starts trickling in, I foresee some editing required as well.

Designed on Canva. It’s pretty basic compared to some of the designs I have seen created (and have created of my own).

The reason for mentioning the history book project is because it ties in with time flying. The first was done in 1983 so it’s time to update it. If we don’t take the time to do it now, much of our history will be gone when the elderly pass on and are no longer able to tell their stories. Preserving history is important; even moreso when the younger generation doesn’t seem to have an interest in it. I do have to say though, I’m sure I was the same at their age.

Do you find the time passing by quickly, or is it moving along just as you expect?

My Trip to Imaginairium

I hope everyone has had a good couple of weeks. I thought it was just a week ago that I last posted, and realized I haven’t written anything since the ninth. Shame on me!

I enjoyed my time at Imaginairium, and for those of you who follow my author Instagram, you will have seen my posts. For those of you who don’t, feel free to do so. I don’t post there daily, but I prefer quality over quantity.

We are getting a taste of winter today, complete with blowing snow. It doesn’t make me happy, because so many crops are still out in the field. It’s going to be a tough year for the farmers if they can’t get the harvesting done because of the weather. 

Now, let me backtrack a little and tell you a bit about my trip to Calgary for Wordfest’s Imaginairium. My drive down was mostly uneventful, aside from getting a rock in my windshield which has led to a crack at least twelve inches long, so far. (My glass guy says it’s not fixable, so I will wait and see what happens through the winter. If the crack obstructs my line of vision, I’ll be getting a new windshield sooner than I had anticipated.)

When I got to Calgary I was quite impressed with the fact I didn’t have to rely on my GPS to get to my home-away-from-home. I surprised myself on that one. It has been over a year since I was in Calgary, so I was afraid I wouldn’t remember where my turnoff was.

My first day of Imaginairium was a little stressful, and it started with the public transit driver not being very helpful. Thankfully I had my phone and I utilized my GPS to navigate where I needed to be once I got off the bus. I walked several blocks to the new Central Public Library downtown, and was quite overwhelmed by the sheer size of it. I’m sure our little library would have fit in the main entryway.

My first event was at Memorial Library, which is several blocks away. Even with all of the walking, I still managed to get into the event before my first scheduled one. I was quite pleased about that, because I was ready for a break. Having a pass for the entire week was beneficial.

A neat thing the organizers did this year was to have attendees collect beads from each event. Apparently it was the first year to try it, and I think it was well-received. I enjoyed being able to add a bead to my bracelet at the beginning of each event I attended. Each was different, and there was one special author bead in each bag. I didn’t get any of the special ones, but for those who did it would have been quite exciting.

For me the most memorable event was the one by author Michael Christie when he talked about his latest book Greenwood. It spans over four generations, and talks about trees, family roots and climate change. I have yet to read it, but have my very own autographed copy for when I am able to sit down with it. I briefly spoke with Michael while he was signing it for me, and he is a down-to-earth gentleman. I wish him all the best with his books.

In addition to me attending several of the events, I also took some time to go to Cross Iron Mills. I started at one end where I bought myself some new walking shoes, and ended at the other end where I spent well over an hour in the Indigo bookstore. I ended up leaving there with five books; one of them being the Writer’s Guide to Character Traits Second Edition. It will come in handy when I’m writing my stories.

I highly recommend attending an event such as Wordfest’s Imaginairium to writers and readers alike. For me it was a step outside of my comfort zone, but I am happy with my decision. Perhaps one day I will be in front of the room telling the audience about my books.

Photo Credit: Diane Ziomek
I took this after the event. Note the beads on the bracelet (his is the first from the left); I did add a few from additional events.

With all that being said, I’m gearing up for National Novel Writing Month, which begins November 1st. I have a basic plot figured out, but my characters will need to help me out with my story. It’s going to be a busy month with working, writing and getting ready for our local Christmas Extravaganza Craft Market.

Have a great week!

Diane

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