Yet during the holiday season we’re bombarded with images of social wealth.
Everything from: Family dinners, parties, drinks with friends, hugging, skating in pairs, walking together looking at lights, Secret Santa and gift exchanges, spontaneous snowballs fights, eating roasted chestnuts, and of course, people running into the arms of loved ones at airports…
But what if those things aren’t in your life?
The social media holiday barrage, Christmas FOMO (Fear of Missing Out), anticipointment (trademark?), Facebook, Instagram, TV, Google+, Twitter, MySpace (kidding, just wanted to see if you were paying attention) – all bursting with shiny images of happy people enjoying the holidays together. It can be overwhelming yet it’s only a day, like any other.
So if you find yourself less-than-surrounded by family and friends during the holidays,try to:
1. Marathon your way through the season, which apparently now begins…
Money is still, somehow, one of those weirdly “taboo” subjects.
This horror movie we’re living in, which so far has no credits, just keeps rolling on, but perhaps it can have a tiny silver lining. It can teach us to discuss everything. To be transparent, honest, to see all sides, all possibilities. We need to stop going to “check out that noise” or “check the basement” or “go to the attic”. If we learn nothing else from this nightmare, we should learn to be honest.
Too many people think honesty is scary. It’s the same when it comes to money. They think discussing money is: “scary”, “embarrassing”, “frightening”, “crass”, or “inappropriate”. We all need money, unfortunately (it’s the main reason the world is a mess, simplistic, maybe, but it doesn’t make it untrue).
Money controls our lives. It’s the truereason for most of the world’s problems, yet too many people refuse to talk about it, learn about it, and try to figure out why money’s too tight to mention.Politics, religion, food, vaccines, money, “The Great Pumpkin”…geez, what can we talk about these days without a brawl?
Times are tough, or not, depending which politicians are trying to score which point.
Most people have at least a rudimentary knowledge of budgeting, oh no, I said a dirty word, the “b” word, “budget”. Who knows what I’ll say next? “Economize”. “Reduce”. Or the big “F”, “frugal”. Gasp!
Why are people ashamed of being poor? Or nowadays, using words like “reduced circumstances” (what if you were never, er, “duced”?). Being “poor” isn’t a financially transmitted disease you’ll catch by using coupons, price-matching, or shopping at thrift stores! It’s not an austere version of COVID-19 (but for actual viruses, please wear a mask, wash your hands, use hand sanitizer, physical distance, don’t hoard toilet paper, stay home as much as possible and stay connected).
Some folks are the same way about frugality. They seem to think trying to save money, trying not to spend so much, trying not to go into debt is somehow “embarrassing”. That somehow you should be ashamed of: shopping the sales, couponing, getting freebies, price-matching, buying secondhand (gently loved), or just generally living below your means. Yet personally, I love, love, love the Depression Era slogan,
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do, do without.”
I’m proud of being able to pinch a penny (for those who still have any) till it screams!!! Why? I don’t believe that being “poor” is “bad” just like I don’t believe being “rich” is “good”. It’s not noble to be poor or to be rich. Money should never be a measure of success. Character should be a measure of success. On The Orville they have a system of no money, everyone has what they need and what they want – it’s their reputation, their character that counts. Imagine turning our crazy world upset down and finally using “common” sense/no cents?
Until then, here’s some ways to save…
1…Stay connected. Stay safe. Zoom meetings help you stay connected and a Zoom account is free. Check out https://chronicnothopeless.ca for free weekly Zoom meetings, sharing resources, laughter, chatting,information, fun. One guarantee, you’ll laugh.
Upcoming activities: Tai Chi/Qigong; Gentle Yoga with Breathwork and Meditation;“Tuesday Trivia Time”; special guests, speakers, and so, so much more – online activities galore!
Other ways to save?
2…Love streaming, but not the cost of streaming? There are some “Free” alternatives, when it comes to streaming (but don’t be fooled and keep an eye out, some become decidedly less free and others more free!). Though we don’t have as many options here in Canada as larger population countries, but times are achangin’, so stay tuned. Here are few, including but not limited to:
Tubi (free and fantastic).
MUCH – more than music.
The Weather Network
Classic Cinema Online
Knowledge: KIds (even has “Paw Patrol”)
Roku channel (if you stream on Roku)
and/or you can buy an indoor digital TV antenna or an outdoor antenna…there are so many ways to save and see!
Plus, look for Free Trials (many streaming services are, sadly, removing their “free” trials, for example, Netflix and Disney Plus) of streaming/music/reading services. Again, though we don’t have as many options here in Canada as larger population countries, but times are achangin’, so stay tuned. Here’s a few available now, including but not limited to:
Amazon Prime Video
Watch and see if they’re right for you. Note the start date of your free trial and cancel if you don’t like them. Cancel a few days before, you’ll still have the preview to the end of the trial. Easy-“stay home”-“stay safe”-“stay connected”-free-peasy-lemon-squeezy.
3… The“C” word, no, not Coronavirus, or cancer, in this case, a good “c” word, coupons! We used to clip these, now, they’re printed, or digital, or sometimes still mailed to us. I save a lot of money with coupons, sometimes even getting items free (what a lovely word, I never get tired of hearing or seeing it).If you’re into it, there’s also lots of free samples, contests, and surveys out there. Savealoonie, Samplesource, Websaver, Save.ca, Lifepoints,Smartcanucks, Pinecone Research, Asking Canadians, Swagbucks, and so, so many more.Sometimes, I get freebies, coupons, samples for items I don’t want or use, but get them anyway so I give them to others. Find more ways to save and places to find savings online through frugality blogs and other websites. If you have suggestions for ways to save, please leave them in the comment box below. I love to learn.I love to save.
4… Get paid to shop! Music to our ears and our wallets (virtual or otherwise). That’s exactly what some apps do, like: Rakuten Canada (formerly Ebates), Caddle, Checkout 51, Airmiles, PC Optimum, Petro-Points, Shopper Army, Swagbucks, Plum Rewards (the free version), The Mission Store, David’s Tea, The Body Shop, and so, so many more – look them up! And don’t forget to add the Honey, an app that checks for online coupons and can save you even more!
5…Happy Birthday! Lots of places give birthday “treats” – free stuff or discounts, etc. Don’t feel comfortable giving your “real” date of birth, make yourself a few years younger. But remember, sometimes age does matters! Specifically with Student Discounts and Senior Discounts (some start as low as 55 – the new 45?). Discounts at stores, restaurants, education,pharmacies, thrift stores, travel, car rentals, banking, hotels, entertainment, museums and so many more! Don’t be afraid to ask, you have nothing to lose and so much to win!
6… Groupon. Make sure you read the fine print (always good advice, for every single thing in life). I’ve found some great deals there, including but not limited to: Costco memberships with Shop cards/products that negate the amount of your membership (really!); pizza (anyone who says money can’t buy happiness, has never paid for a pizza or the makings of a pizza, yes, you can make pizza at home!). Oh, and I paid $4 for a movie w/ popcorn and a drink – I went and saw that movie in a theater, remember those? Back in the good old days when we went to a place, went inside the building, with other people, sat in seats, beside other people, and watched a movie.
8…Price/Ad Matching – you can bring a flyer (not so much now, but “BC” – “Before Covid”, or show an app on a smartphone (ie. Flipp, Reebee, etc.) from one store to another, just show it to clerk and get items cheaper (yahoo!!!).Of course, an easy, amazing way to save is sales. Shop sales!
But wait, there’s more…
9…It doesn’t have to be complicated, look close to home. Look around your place. If you have the time and energy, cooking, canning, preserving, and baking are shockingly easy ways to save money.Find ways to do so that make life easier.
10… Sewing, mending, knitting, DIY, gardening, and so much more. Decluttering. Repurposing – for example, my Mom magically changes T-shirts, pajamas, etc. into fun pillow art/pillow covers.
11…Sort through your “treasures”, you know the ones: collecting dust; being used to hang clothes on; stored; just-in-case; might-fit-me-someday; what-if-I-need-it?; whatever — sell them, donate them, give them away, swap them.
12…Why buy new?
Why pay more? Buy gently loved. Buy previously loved. Buy brand spanking new but never used and given away. In this wildly consumer-driven culture, we too often “Dumpit to Crumpit”. But many people also generously donate. There are treasures to be found at: thrift stores, secondhand stores, mission stores, Salvation Army, Goodwill, eBay, Etsy (some new stuff, handmade) many of these places now are online as well! Don’t let perfectly lovely things go to the trash heap when you can give them new life. I’ve found Alfred Sung, Doc Marten, Derek Alexander and so much more, often w/ tags still on. A quirky wooden box that says library (it’s where I keep library books, how original).I don’t know the fate of “thrift” stores in a new world order, but for now, if you’re careful, we have hope.
13… Look for free things to see and do in your community. Take walks on your streets (actually use the sidewalks, safer and if no sidewalks, remember, walk facing oncoming traffic and pay attention, stay safe). Go for lovely walks in your parks. Parks are an amazing resource, they’re ready for anything: Cycling. Picnics. Tai Chi. Yoga. Boating. Fishing. Photography. Martial arts. Playing. Pausing. I love walking through our Ponds – though I live in a large, very busy city, when I step in here, I’m in the woods…
Get out there and discover!
14…Speaking of local,how about your local library? Libraries aren’t just buildings with books (but seriously, books are awesome!!!). And now many libraries are going fine free which is fabulous, but seriously, return the books, DVDs, CDs, magazines and more. Many library resources are online, especially now. You can check out ebooks, e-audio books and they’re returned automatically. You can learn languages, look up your ancestry, and stream movies. Read/enjoy thousands of free magazines and newspapers. Learn from free online courses. Get creative with hundreds of crafts. And so much more!!!Also, most cities allow you to get a non-resident card for a small fee. Go online, check it out, what do you have to lose? Hours and hours of fun and who knows what you’ll learn? Look around your neighbourhood for “Little Free Libraries” or “Swap Boxes” – take a book, leave a book. In these tough times, people also leave: food, household items, coupons, etc. Truly a community spirit exercise. Sharing is caring, in so many ways.
15…Online is filled with free (yes, free, why pay?) courses –
These are just a small sampling. Before you throw money at courses, check out some free ones!
16…Of course, YouTube – the vast universe of stuff at your fingertips!!! Travel the world (who knew I’d become a travel blogger during a pandemic?). Watch “SNL” (especially vintage). Watch “Graham Norton”. “Honest Trailers”. “Stephen Colbert”. “Seth Meyers”. “Jimmy Fallon”. Cooking. Baking. Gaming. Knitting. Sewing. Quilting. Coding. Household repairs. Shoe repairs. Car repairs. Learn languages including: “Dothraki”, “Klingon”, “Elvish”, “Nadsat”, “Minionese”, “Na’vi”, “Parseltongue”, “Huttese” and even some “real” languages. Want to know how to cut an onion without crying?Decluttering. Organizing. Tips and tricks. Life hacks. Health videos (beware). Magic tricks. CPR. Sourdough tricks. Watch (particpate?!?) exercise videos (personal fav for Fibromyalgia folks, https://cocolimefitness.com/). Chess. Poker. Meditation. How to budget (oh no, the “b” word again). Live performance and concerts. Music videos and events. Lip Sync Battles. Movies. How to make masks. How to sell on eBay. How to fight a shark.Find any fix. Find news…from anywhere in the world (galaxy?). Watch a NASA launch. Find reviews. Find things that make you snooze – am I the only adult that enjoys listening to celebs reading bedtime stories to me? Thank you, Dolly Parton, Jeff Goldblum (stories, umm, umm, umm, find a way),Tom Hardy, Sean Astin (I made a promise to read, Mr. Frodo), Ray Romano, Jude Law, Josh Gad (do you wanna read a story?),Jennifer Garner, Helen Mirren, Stephen Fry, Lupita Nyong’o, Justin Theroux, Glenn Close, Viola Davis, Chrissy Metz,Betty White (thank you for being a friend), Melissa Gilbert (Little Library on the Prairie?),David Harbour (Stranger Reads?), Kristen Bell, Allison Janney, Oprah (And you get a story! And you get a story! And you get a story!), Barbara Bain, Michelle Yeoh, Jake Gyllenhaal (I don’t know how to quit you),Chris Pine, Dule Hill, David Schwimmer (I’ll be there for you!), Chris Evans (er, just don’t read from Instagram, Cap), Kiernan Shipka, Christian Slater (Pump up the Reading Volume), Amy Adams, Samuel L. Jackson, Colin Firth,Lily James, Jeff Bridges, James Earl Jones, Reese Witherspoon, Sarah Silverman, Rashida Jones, Chris O’Dowd, Mac Conley, Jimmy Fallon, David Byrne, Billie Piper, David Tennant, Josh Brolin (his reading is inevitable), Ryan Reynolds, Kevin Costner, Julie Walters,Eddie Redmayne, Eva Longoria, Natalie Portman,Iggy Pop, Rami Malek (we are the reading champions), Meryl Streep, Lily Tomlin,Emma Thompson, and more, thank you for promoting reading!!! Most are children’s books, some YA and adult books, but whatever they are, thank you for reading to relax me, er, for the children and for charity.Also, free guided mediation on YouTube (Calm, limited; PureGym; Tara Brach UCLA Reasearch; BoHo beautiful; City of Surry; well, you get the idea, the sky’s the limit or beyond). Thank you Chris Hemsworth for the guided meditation. Thank you to the late, great Maya Angelou for leaving us recordings of her gifts; Neil Gaiman for reading us Dickens and Dr. Suess; Christopher Walken for sharing the horror of Edgar Allan Poe as only Walken can, and so many more. Get online and explore. Of course, for Shakespeare lovers and general sonnet lovers alike: Vincent D’Onofrio, Rufus Sewell, William Sadler, Michael Gaston, Lindy Booth, Sir Patrick Stewart (and more) – thank you for reading me stirring sonnets everyday (make it so).
17... Seasons change, but fun stays all the year long. There are many free or frugal activities for each and every season.Here are just a few.
Walking – free.
Loyalty – free.
Quiet – free.
Integrity – free.
Common sense – free.
Snuggling (the snuggle is real) – free.
Do you wanna build a snowman? – free.
Gratitude – free.
Courage – free.
Dancing – free.
Talking (words matter) – free.
Generosity – free.
Comfort – free.
Joy – free.
Forgiveness – free.
Compassion – free.
Snow angels – free.
Hope – free.
Imagination – free.
Smiling – free.
Games, so many games online, free. Puzzles, card games, board games, video games and so much more – free.
Friendship – free.
Sunlight – free.
Sincerity – free.
Perseverance – free.
Respect – free.
Empathy – free.
Moonlight – free.
Laughing – free.
Truth (not just your truth, the truth) – free.
Singing – free.
Love – free.
Understanding – free.
Ambition – free.
Fairness – free.
Cheer – free.
Art – free.
Literature (see library information above) – free.
Music (your brain is full of it, let it flow) – free.
Cookies – rarely free sadly (we need a weather machine that makes it rain cookies, who’s with me?), but you can buy the ingredients on sale or with price matching, etc., frugal.
The Grinch learned that Christmas doesn’t have to come from a store, that Christmas can mean just a little bit more. A timeless and free life lesson. And the same goes for birthdays, Easter, Thanksgiving, Halloween, every day. How much you spend doesn’t show how much you care. Caring is free.
Kindness is free! So spread it around. Sprinkle that kindness anywhere and everywhere. Fill the world with it…Kindness is the key, and lucky for us, the free key.
OK, OK, I see what’s happening here (I really don’t see what’s happening anywhere these days and don’t think I want to). You’re screen to screen with mediocrity, and it’s strange. You don’t even know how you feel (or if you should feel, oh gosh, so many feels…) It’s adorkable! Well, it’s “nice” to see/hear humans never change.
It’s been awhile, let’s begin. Yes, it’s really me! I’m back (does this feel like a pattern?). Breathe it in (through a damn mask) I know, it’s a lot… The snark, the jokes, gifs, memes, (all which may or may not hit the mark) I’m just an ordinary blogging universal life force
“Marvel”, “The Munsters”, and Midway” (Ed Skrein, Woody Harrelson, Luke Evans, Mandy Moore and many more, wow, imagine if they’d had social media like Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, TikTok, QQ, Viber, reddit, WhatsApp, WeChat…and war).
“Sanditon”, “Shetland” (needs 10 seasons, minimum), Stephen Colbert who’s still owning his COVID hair, “Psych” (oops, well, sounds like it starts with an “s”; I’ve heard it both ways), and “Snowpiercer” (These are our revolutions).
Thanks cartoons like: “Rick and Morty”, “Family Guy”, “South Park” “Justice League” (animated series)…not the “other” (shudder), etc.
“Julie and the Phantoms” (“Julie e os Fantasmas“).
Jimmy Fallon (I just feel there’s a lack of Paul Rudd on this show lol).
“Hamilton” (what would we do without Lin-Manuel Miranda? I don’t even want to think about it).
Thanks for even the thought of“Enola Holmes” and “Utopia” (can’t wait!).
Thanks to “Gilmore Girls”, though I’m trying not to indulge again, like a comfort food, but how about “The Golden Girls”, hey Netflix, I’m pitching you a new series, “Golden Gilmore Girls” with older Lorelei, Rory, Sookie, and Lane living in Florida?It’s gonna be a hit!
Well, come to think of it, Readers, honestly I could go on and on I could explain every unnatural phenomenon (https://yadadarcyyada.com/2017/10/26/my-big-fat-supernatural-life/) The sass, the grass, the colours, the vague meandering chats (books, movies, politics, TV shows and other shtick, it’s all about the laughs) before again going underground. Honestly, that was me just messing around…
I’ve murdered my blog, I’ve buried its guts, while trying to figure out what the heck is going on, it’s all coconuts!
What’s the lesson? What is the take-away? Be kind to everyone every single day!!! And the tapestry here on my blog Is simply sayin’, Don’t be trippin’ dawg!
Look where I’ve been (mostly home). NO, I haven’t been out of the country in 14 days (does YouTube count?). How the heck would I know if I’ve ever been in contact with anyone with COVID-19? This is a weird way to screen…for anything. Asking us, asking us, asking us, asking us, do you have: Fever•New onset of cough•Worsening chronic cough •Shortness of breath (sometimes, when watching Jason Momoa, does that count?)•Difficulty breathing•Sore throat•Difficulty swallowing (don’t say it out loud, that’s what she said)•Decrease of loss of sense, of taste, or smell•Chills (They’re multiplying; it’s electrifying!)•Headaches•Unexplained fatigue/malaise/muscle aches•Nausea/vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain (Have you seen the news/internet? If you don’t have these symptoms you’re not paying attention)•Pink eye/conjunctivitis (gross)•Runny nose or nasal congestion without other known cause (like what?)…Why make people do that whole spiel? Seriously. Why not have a digital tickety-tappin’ done by Lin-Manuel Miranda rippity-rappin’? (Ha ha ha ha ha ha, hey)And, did you Wash your hands? Seriously, before, during and after COVID, wash them!!!
So here’s the thing, every day now seems like a horror movie, full of: ghouls, fools, viruses, monsters, unknown terrors, people unable to follow simple instructions (very simple, i.e. arrows, a sign that says, “keep right”, etc.).
We’d be streaming incessantly (beyond Netflix, YouTube and Amazon Prime). I’ve been testing all the “Free Trials” of streaming services, I’ve tried: “Acorn TV”, “Disney+”, “Crave/HBO/TMN”, “Britbox”, and heading toward “Apple TV”, “National Geographic”, “Smithsonian”, and “Shudder” – who knows how far I’ll get, drinking my tea, watching me some “free”…
Who knew people would be fighting over and hoarding: hand sanitizer and yes, toilet paper (Seinfeld once again predicts the future).
We’d be trying to not gain something called, “COVID-19”, the virus or lbs.
Thanking our essential workers (literally not enough “Thank Yous” in the universe for that), even though many people and politicians didn’t even think they were worth giving decent pay, or really caring about them at all, until they needed them (newsflash geniuses, you/we always needed them).
Trying to learn languages. For me, I’m trying to learn the important stuff first, for example: “Spero tu stia passando una bella giornata miei adorati lettori, avete pasta per me? “(“I hope you are having a nice day my beloved readers, do you have pasta for me?”); “Ich brauche Kuchen” (“I need cake”); “¿Donde estan las galletas?” (“Where are the cookies?”); “Je veux de la pizza” (“I want pizza”)…just some essential phrases.
Traveling on YouTube (who knew it would take a pandemic to turn me into a travel blogger?).
We’d be learning (some of us) all kinds of new terms, like the ones below (how many did you know?):
Flattening/flatten the curve
Planking/plank the curve
Bending/bend the curve (I feel like these will also be diet names soon)
Data models (or as I call them, data stick insects)
Vector (what’s your vector, Victor?)
Essential workers (again, thank you just doesn’t seem to cover it)
Oropharyngeal swabs (updates from Dr. Fauci, Dr. Tam, Dr. Birx and others are like watching police dramas, they all talk about swabs a lot, “Did you get the swabs?”, “I got the swabs”, “Did you need another swab?”, “What do ya mean we’re out of swabs? Get more swabs!”, “We need billions of swabs!”. Police shows and pandemics, brought to you by Johnson & Johnson, but that’s a whole other story https://yadadarcyyada.com/2016/03/18/this-is-not-a-toy/)
ACE-2 is a gateway receptor (who knows what it will lead to?).
Be comforted by bedtime stories from: Dolly Parton, David Tennant, Oprah, Stephen Fry, Betty White, Rami Malek, James McAvoy, Sarah Silverman, Chris Pine, Kristen Bell, Tom Hardy – ooooh, can he read them in Bane (he was so ahead of his time, he worse a mask, quarantined a city and cancelled all events, including sports) or Venom voices too, please?
And James Earl Jones – seriously, Darth Vader reads me to sleep, “May The Fourth Be With You” and Beware the “Revenge of the Fifth/Sixth” and too much spicy food on Cinco de Mayo could cause Revenge of the Shi…well, you know, moderation, ok?.
Worrying about Murder Hornets, really, who came up with that name, at least make it alliterative, how about “Homicide Hornets” or “Horror Hornets”? Like this: “Slaughter Slugs”, “Maiming Moths”, “Assassin Ants”, “Snuff Snails”…
Getting slightly ever so bored with: baking (getting too warm now anyway); is there enough testing, not enough testing (it’s making me testy);
Zoomfail hashtags (don’t you wish you’d bought shares in Zoom?); “Baby Shark Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo”, kidding, who could ever get tired of that?,
people arguing about “Mandela Effect” online, hmmm, or maybe that never happened.
Making masks, cleaning masks, remembering to bring your masks, remembering not to wear a hockey mask to the grocery store…so many things to remember, what was I talking about again?
Being on video, seriously, before all this I hated going on camera or video, now it’s, “I’m ready for my close-up, Mr. Zoom, no, no, not that close!”.
People actually listening to someone that lies incessantly, slurs their words, and suggests we could kill COVID-19 by injecting disinfectant into the body and/or UV light, no buddy, why are you like this, why are you the way you are?
That we’d be staying so much: “Stay Home”, “Stay Safe”, “Stay Connected”, “Stay At Home”, “Stay Healthy”, Sit/”Stay”/Roll Over, “Stay in place”, “Stay trippy dude”, “Stay the course”, “Stay fresh” (seriously, you need to shower even if you’re isolated alone)…
I can easily imagine self-isolation has lead to re-enacting musicals with Star Wars action figures, Muppets and/or hand shadows, I’m sure someone somewhere is doing this (please, please, please send me links).
That our Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau (Canada rules!) would tell us the things, the things he knows that stop you from “speaking moistly”?!?
I’ll be here for you When the someone knocks on your door (gasp!) I’ll be here for you When you’re dreaming Obama is still POTUS
I’ll be here for you ‘Cause you’re here for me too (on Zoom?)
No one could ever know me (cause I’m wearing a mask) No one could ever see me (cause I’m doing a flask task at home)
Seems now more people know What it’s like to be…chronically me?
Someone to Facetime (Skype/Zoom/Messenger, text, call, whatever) the day with.
Make it through Quarantine Life (only going out for necessities of life, I don’t know about toilet paper, but donuts count, right?) with…
Someone I’ll always laugh with Even at my worst, I’m best with you, yeah
I’ll be here for you When the sun starts to shine
I’ll be here for you When for the great outdoors we pine…
I’ll be here for you ‘Cause we’re (patiently?) waiting for a sign
I’ll be here for you (speaking moistly)
I’ll be here for you (singing: Andrea Bocelli; Ultravox; Ramones; Ed Sheeran; Elton John; Cher (if we could turn back time); Green Day – don’t wannabe an, well, you-know-what;
Foo Fighters; Nivana; The Beatles – “Don’t Come Together”, “We All Live in Self-Quarantine”;
I’ll be here for you (sissying my quarantine fashion, picture me rocking Mickey Mouse leggings, Guardians of the Galaxy T-shirt, Paddington coat, and Nirvana baseball cap https://yadadarcyyada.com/2020/03/17/im-still-standing-yeah-yeah-yeah/, strangely enough, no pictures, that I know of, while putting red ribbons on the trees to say “Thank You – no thanks are ever ever ever going to be enough for our essential workers, but you could start with simple steps: Be Kind, Stay Home, Wash Your Hands).
Hope you’re here for me too (but like, not here here, like, there but emotionally here, together but apart, but connected, so non-contagious virtual hugs and chats and tweets, comments, Zoom, Skype, Messenger, and all that, but over there while I’m over here, but we’ll both be there, well, here for each other…I’m confused. I need more simplicity https://yadadarcyyada.com/2020/01/26/aggressive-simplification/What about you?).
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!).
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.
Look at the stars (the ones in the sky).
Plant yourself near a plant to reduce your blood pressure.
Karate (relaxed and ready to defend yourself, probably not against Ninjas or aliens, but maybe zombies or vampires).
Visit an art gallery/museum.
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).
Play board games.
Play video games.
Play card games.
Stay and enjoy.
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.
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”).
Wine/Beer tasting tour (Don’t taste and drive).
Learn some magic tricks (Be nice to rabbits).
Get/give a facial.
Watch the clouds (the ones in the sky).
Jump (jump jump jump around) on a trampoline (safety first).
Smile (I just like to smile, smiling’s my favourite).
Drink water (don’t waste it).
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.
Join a team (fantasy or real).
Pet sit (don’t actually sit on a pet).
Tear paper (then recycle then tear again).
Visualize (guided or unguided, just remember to leave some breadcrumbs to find your way back).
Pay it forward.
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).
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).
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.
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.
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 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).
Make soap not dope.
String popcorn (the eat, the popcorn not the string).
Visit (real or virtual as long as you’re there, in the moment).
Watch TV (question what you watch).
Listen to someone.
‘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.
Knitting? Did I mention knitting? What I want to 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 and even that’s not going well. The holes are there to let hopes and dreams in, yeah, that’s it. They’re a design feature.
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.
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). And of course these days, we’re not sharing any pools. Thanks COVID.
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 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).
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. I can dance again. Well, sort of. My version of it.
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).
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! Joyeuses 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.