With just four days remaining before the Big Day (zero if you believe the current hype behind the end of the Mayan calendar…good luck!), many of us are either in the home stretch of our preparations to celebrate the season or are scrambling to fulfill the bulk of our individual promises at the last minute. At some point we have all experienced the stress that comes with ordering any chaos or clearing up any misunderstanding that comes between us and our loved ones and/or customers. With this in mind, allow me to offer a few half-useful, stress-reducing tips:
1) Inhale the cold air, exhale your warm air, and watch it dissipate. Slowly. Remind yourself that almost everyone else is doing the same, and that you are all on the same planet in this solar system, decorating 9-foot-tall fir trees with aplomb or hoping for the best as dreidels are spun for a pot of chocolate coins. After all is bought and sold, after gifts are given and gingerbread cookies baked, take a moment to thank the stars that you are not a certain yellow, pineapple-dwelling sponge. It will go a long way toward smiles upon smiles in this season of peace.
2) After a heavy snowstorm, walk to and from your workplace, preferably by a hilly route. It seems that so many of us know the adage so well but have forgotten its true meaning. Doing this will help you to realize that your daily commute could be difficult, though it is often anything but. Unless, of course, you go to work facing backwards.
3) When you are munching on your favorite gingerbread man, imagine that you are eating your greatest problem away. Take care to place your problem on that treat alone — it does no good to repeat the process just for the thrill of erasing and redrawing check marks for that unique problem on a mental to-solve list. There are far more thrilling things to do with the precious time we’ve been given, not the least being the consumption of two-month-old eggnog for the first time.
4) Be proud of the good work you do for your neighbors in need. While the effects of your work cannot be quantified by even the most sophisticated instruments of modern scientific evaluation, rest assured that it will be remembered — maybe not in the annals of the extended mind that is Wikipedia, but by the very person or group you do your good work for. In the end, this is all that truly matters.
As we find our lives growing more complicated by the day, do yourself a favor (or four) and take these tips to heart. You never know when they will lead you to the person you want to become. In my humble opinion, this is what we should all commit to do: