Posted in Blog posts, Fibromyalgia

12 Unusual Ways To Relieve Your Holiday Stress

12 Unusual Ways To Relieve Your Holiday Stressby guest blogger, Fibromyalgia London Group Member and Peer Leader, D. Parker (https://yadadarcyyada.com)

The holiday season stresses out most everyone, but for those who are ill, the holidays can be a nightmare (before and during Christmas); it’s stressful for even those who don’t celebrate Christmas (or try not to celebrate).

The roads are busier.
Malls overrun by zombies (We are The Walking Dead, but with brightly-wrapped gifts).
Christmas songs drone on, but peace on Earth, really, there’s barely a pretense of civility.

So many Santas, ringing and ho-ho-hoing for money to buy toys – I thought there was a workshop and elves for that

Expectations.
Unrealistic expectations.

Too much food (First World Problem).

Frolicking.
Accidents.
Frolicking accidents.
Ugly Christmas sweaters (no longer ironic),
now ironically iconic?

Gifts/gift cards/e-gift cards,
“the perfect gift” for the “perfect” Christmas –
that’s where stress-relievers come in.

First, take a deep breath. Christmas is one day. One. 24 hours. 1440 minutes. Let’s also enjoy the other 364 days in the year. Relax.

Second, the holidays should be about: giving, helping, hoping, kindness, compassion, and dreams; not pushing, whining, complaining, stressing and screams…Relax.

Third, you need to find out what works for you, what makes you happy, what brings you comfort and joy. If you don’t know that, how can you share it with others? Relax.

Here are some usual ways (and unusual, whatever that means) ways to relieve stress during the holidays (and all the year through)? There are more than 12 so you decide which is which.

If I’ve left some out and I’m sure I did, please comment to tell me what I missed and then share the post on social media so others can tell me what I missed as well…

  • Read books/ebooks (This is a safe space, no “books vs ebooks” arguments here; all books are welcome and accepted!).
  • Progressively relax.
  • Dog/Cat/Fish/Pig/ Pony/Ferret/Bird/Horse/Frog therapy.
  • Volunteer (I once knew someone who said more people would volunteer if they were paid, ummm, that’s a job).
  • Write a blog/journal/novels/poems.
  • Manicure/Pedicure (at home works too).
  • Bake (me a cake?).
  • Aromatherpy (Don’t limit yourself to the usual scents, whatever smells good to you, smell away).
  • Look for the Fibonacci symbol in nature or fractals, so fun on snowy days.
  • Design clothes. Wear clothes. Buy New-To-You clothes (Goodwill, Talize, Salvation Army, Value Village, Mission Store, and other Love-Them-Again stores are awesome).
  • Go see a play, be in a play, write a play, direct a play.
  • Bike.
  • Golf/Mini Golf.
  • Look at the stars (the ones in the sky).
  • Plant yourself near a plant to reduce your blood pressure.
  • Sleep/Nap/Rest.
  • Karate (relaxed and ready to defend yourself, probably not against Ninjas or aliens, but maybe zombies or vampires).
  • Visit an art gallery/museum.
  • Hike.
  • Do chores/Clean.
  • Stream (Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, Apple TV, Disney Plus, Acorn TV, Crave, HBO, TMN, SlingTV, BritBox, and many more (with more popping up every day).
  • Bowl.
  • Curl.
  • Url.
  • Unfurl.
  • Play board games.
  • Play video games.
  • Play card games (Fibromyalgia London Group has an afternoon of cards and company once per month, join us).
  • Learn something…anything.
  • Travel/Stay and enjoy.
  • Paint.
  • Garden.
  • Do puzzles – crossword, boxed puzzles, puzzle boxes, find-a-word (Have you heard? The bird is the word), sudoku, logic, trivia and if you can figure out people, wow, you’ve solved the biggest puzzle ever.
  • Apply gentle pressure to the spot between your 2nd and 3rd knuckle, between your fingers, where your finger and hand meet to reduce stress.
  • Weave.
  • Camp.
  • Glamp.
  • Dance.
  • Cheer someone up with a fun surprise (Do not break into their home and draw a happy face on the wall or anything in red lipstick on their mirror, apparently that’s considered “creepy”).
  • Craft.
  • Raft.
  • Wine/Beer tasting tour (Don’t taste and drive).
  • Learn some magic tricks (Be nice to rabbits).
  • Get/give a facial.
  • Sing.
  • Watch the clouds (the ones in the sky).
  • Jump (jump jump jump around) on a trampoline (safety first).
  • Swim (just keep swimming, swimming, swimming).
  • Smile (I just like to smile, smiling’s my favourite).
  • Drink water (don’t waste it).
  • Draw.
  • Create the next big fad! i.e. Lint kittens and puppies. Easy to keep – no walks, no food, soft and cuddly, and easy to house-train. Do not expose to water.
  • Ski.
  • Sauna.
  • Snowboard.
  • Snowshoe.
  • Walk.
  • Run/Jog/Sprint.
  • Quilt.
  • Be mindful.
  • Plant trees.
  • Join a team (fantasy or real).
  • Pet sit (don’t actually sit on a pet).
  • Dream.
  • Tear paper (then recycle then tear again).
  • Visualize (guided or unguided, just remember to leave some breadcrumbs to find your way back).
  • Crochet.
  • Pay it forward.
  • Help.
  • Be kind (random or deliberate).
  • Fix stuff (fix something for someone: TV, car, fridge, cellphone, alarm system, computer, appliances, sewing machine, etc. Even it wasn’t broken, er, at the time, they’ll probably understand you were trying to give them a gift…probably).
  • Upload/download/unload.
  • Meme.
  • Give your time.
  • Offer your knowledge.
  • Give your full attention.
  • When a child hands you a toy phone or a banana, answer it and have a conversation (best time with a phone/actually smart).
  • Take a shower (not at the Bates Motel).
  • Take a bath (not in a horror movie).
  • Enjoy social media for what it is not what you want it to be (because the internet).
  • Take some photographs (not just of your food and selfies with duck lips).
  • Skate.
  • Mentor someone.
  • Review something.
  • Ski-doo (not on thin ice…it’s all going to be thin ice soon).
  • Watch a sunset.
  • Watch a sunrise.
  • Cook (Combine food and fashion ie. Forget Lululemon, how about lasagna leggings? Pizza pants. Taco ties. Chocolate crop top. Wine wedding dress. Turkey tux. Beer boots. Hamburger hat. Curry coat. Steak scarf. Bacon blouse. This food fashion can be consumed at any time – hopefully not when you’re out in public).
  • Join a club (not a gang).
  • Drink green/white tea.
  • Inspire.
  • Be inspired.
  • Organize.
  • Walk in a park or the woods (not at night on a full moon, just in case).
  • Climb a wall so you don’t climb the walls.
  • Hug.
  • Laugh.
  • Laugh some more.
  • Make someone laugh.
  • Spend time with nature and animals (don’t pet grizzly bears, badgers, or snakes, start slow with cats, dogs, rabbits…then move up).
  • Build a snowman (do you wanna?).
  • Remember.
  • Forget.
  • Remember to forget.
  • Smash stuff (smash plates, bowls, walls, pumpkins,etc., and if you can’t go to one of the places where you pay to smash stuff, I’m sure family and friends will understand you need stress relief, especially during the holidays).
  • Hope.
  • Make soap not dope.
  • Elope.
  • Pop corn.
  • String popcorn.
  • Visit (real or virtual as long as you’re there, in the moment).
  • Yoga.
  • Watch TV (question what you watch).
  • Go see a Movie (question what you watch).
  • Listen to someone.
  • Breathe deeply.
  • Be grateful.
  • Chop wood.
  • Woodworking.
  • Carving.
  • Tis the season, cut down a Christmas tree for a busy family member or friend. Cautionary note, unlike in the Hallmark and other Christmas movies, cartoons, etc., apparently it’s “frowned upon”, some might even say “illegal”, to just randomly cut trees down. Who knew?

One of the best ways to relieve stress, being honest, with yourself and others; we/they/me/whoever may not appreciate it at first, but it could be the best gift ever, someday.

 Chocolate. Enough said.

If you know me and/or you’re a reader of my blog (https://yadadarcyyada.com) you know, I think laughter is the best medicine and it certainly qualifies as a stress reliever. Laughing, even if it hurts sometimes, still makes me feel better. I go to a happy place, including but not limited to: Psych, George Carlin, Seinfeld, Community, Friends, Rick and Morty, The Office, Marx Brothers, Flight of the Conchords, and more.

I love to share the laughter. If I can make someone smile, laugh, giggle, chortle, spew liquid from their nose, then hey, I feel better. Get silly. Adulting is tough, who says we can’t be a kid at heart?

Finding ways to help others is a great stress reliever. It’s hard to think about your problems when you’re helping others with theirs.

There are an endless amount of causes out there, try to support those who really need it. Those who are hungry, scared, without shelter, without hope, being abused, ill, falling through so many cracks.

Donate to a cause in someone’s name instead of handing them another gift they may or may not need or want, or better yet, start a foundation in their name, I’m sure it won’t affect their taxes…much. Help yourself by helping others.

What else would be good for relieving your tension? I’ve recently learned (perhaps a slight exaggeration) to knit thanks to the kind and very patient Janice Sumpton, who has been knitting for decades (discovered the therapeutic aspect when diagnosed with Fibromyalga. Here is her wonderful presentation, take the time, it’s worth it 2019TherapeuticKnittingFMgroup Firefox was being tricky, but it opens easily w/ Chrome and Adobe Acrobat Reader).

With the cooperation of Fibromyalgia London Group (FLG) and the London Public Library Janice teaches/hosts a bi-weekly knitting class, everyone is welcome, it’s free (that is a real word, look it up) and open to all levels of knitting, I’m clearly a great example of that.

And in 2020 we’re also going to add knitting to help others.

Absolute beginner? Knit for fun? Want to knit more? Want company? Are you a knitting genius and can knit your own spaceship? This may be for you.

New projects? As a newbie my projects were: knit a black cable knit sweater and a Doctor-Who-vintage-Tom-Baker-as-The-Doctor scarf. I’ve been talked down to scarf of one colour for my first project). Or UFOs (Unfinished Objects/Projects)? Bring them in, knit, chat, trade ideas, laugh, enjoy.

Turns out knitting can be a “knotty” stress reliever.

Exercise is suggested for stress relief, but with pain and fatigue, exercise can be challenging. Years ago, someone suggested Tai Chi for Fibromyalgia/relaxation/arthritis/exercise, I thought, how would flailing my arms around, slowly, help with any of those things? I’ll just look weirder than I usually do.

I reluctantly tried it. It saved my life, at least, my quality of life. Tai Chi, a few times per day; in the morning to relax from sleeping – Fibromyalgia patients will understand https://yadadarcyyada.com/2019/11/22/99-problems-and-fibromyalgia-is-all-of-them/ https://fibrolondongroup.ca/2019/12/06/chronic-suckage/  

Lifting weights? I’m no Schwarzenegger, but Hasta la Vista, babyweight (my son is in his 20s). I like Yoga (and Baby Yoda), but it can be painful. Walking helps, but my dogs start barking and the rest of my body growls at me.

I love swimming (not so much Aquafit), but getting there and back, dressing, undressing, showering, etc. is exhausting; I sometimes feel worse, certainly less relaxed (and it’s pricey). 

What else? For seniors, VON offers free programs twice a week, (SMART) Seniors Maintaining Active Roles Together; there’s Ageless Grace (more like Graceless Aging for me). I’ve tried the gym. Belly-dancing (don’t try to picture it). Dancing (Frankie says Relax).

Yet I stick like glue to Tai Chi because it unsticks me. Relaxes. Soothes. Feeling sore? Tai Chi won’t magically fix everything, but it helps ease some aches and gets you moving.

To learn Tai Chi I borrowed items from the London Public Library (having fun isn’t hard if you’ve got a library card). Later bought VHS tapes (yes, that long ago, I fought off a saber-tooth tiger to get home), then DVDs (now on YouTube and streaming services, soon to be uploaded into our brains). 

Another option, classes, i.e. Phoenix T’AI CHI Centre ( www.phoenixtaichi.ca or Info@phoenixtaichi.ca or 519-872-2408) offers T’AI CHI for Health Challenges, geared to complex health issues including but not limited to: Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome as well as other pain and mobility issues with Terry Lynn Clarkin (also a member and Leader of the London Fibromyalgia Group).

Phoenix T’AI CHI also offers an Introduction to Sun-Style T’AI CHI (Dr. Paul Lam’s Tai Chi for Arthritis and Fall Prevention Program). 9-week program starts January 16, 2020 (I have a feeling 2020 is going to be a year that calls for a lot of stress relief!) with the wonderful Terry Lynn Clarkin.

Now I have fun with it, I pretend I’m carrying an invisible jar containing invisible chocolate, so I must guard it with my life, but seriously, once I opened my mind, body and heart to Tai Chi, it gave me a priceless gift – some pain and stress relief so I could have quality of life.

Disclaimer: This blog post is not an advertisement nor is it in any way meant to provide medical advice. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the internet, or in a book, or heard from family, friends, groups, etc. Any exercise or exercise program is not without risks, even for healthy individuals, please consult your physicians(s) before starting, changing and/or increasing any exercise or exercise regime. You are responsible for your own health and safety at all times. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911. Information is gathered and shared from reputable sources, however, Fibromyalgia London Group (FLG) is not responsible for self-diagnosis, noncompliance, omissions, self-treatment, or errors.

Wishing everyone a safe, happy and stress-free (ok, low stress/reduced stress) holiday season: Happy Holidays! Merry Christmas! ¡Felices Fiestas! Jie Ri Yu Kuai! Laethanta saoire sona! Happy Hanukkah! Joyous Kwanzaa! Yuletide Greetings! Best wishes for 2020! Joyeux Noël! Let it snow…somewhere else! Feliz Navidad! Seasons Greetings! Happy New Year Joy! Celebrate! Be merry! Shiawasena kyūjitsu! Boas Festas! Li holide eximnandi! Happy Christmas! Happy New Year! Wishing you a latke fun this Hanukkah! Hau’oli Lanui! मेरी क्रिसमस ! Forhe Feiertage! Selamat Hari Raya! Happy Channukah! oyeuses Fêtes! Prettige Feestdagen! Buone Feste! Trevlig Helg! Jingle All The Way! Happy Holidays from owl of us! Tis the Season! Warmest greetings! Happy Holidays, Mate! It doesn’t matter how you say it as long as it’s said with kindness.

Remember, getting through one day (for example, Christmas Day) isn’t the same as finding and giving joy each day. What about you dear readers? What are some of the usual or unusual ways you know to relieve stress during the holidays and all the year through (remember this is a more or less family-friendly blog).

Opinions are that of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Fibromyalgia London Group.

Copyright D. Parker (Donna Parker/yadadarcyyada) c2019