Goodbye Stress, Pass the Sparklers

Monday, December 14, 2009

I had a nice weekend of festive-related events:

  • Received a big shipment from Amazon, rounding out my Christmas shopping
  • Ushered for (and watched) the musical version of It’s a Wonderful Life
  • Baked cupcakes and decorated them with 25 kids at our office’s kids holiday party

Even with all of this is done now, I can’t help but feel overwhelmed rather than excited for Christmas. The next few weeks are going to be incredibly busy for me and I need to find some ways to deal with my stress.

But Ashley, didn’t you just quit your job so you would be doing what you loved and leave this stress behind?” Ultimately yes, but there are a number of things along the way before I get to calmer waters.

They have yet to hire a replacement at my office, which means I haven’t been able to start training someone. As a result, the beginning of January is going to be a ridiculously busy time for me. In that first week I will be starting rehearsals for my new show, starting school, leading 6 Weight Watchers meetings of my own and filling in at another PLUS training the new person. I thrive on being busy, but at the moment I feel like I’ve bitten off a little more than I can chew.

Let’s add to that my upcoming trip to Kirkland Lake to visit Joey’s family and friends smack dab in the middle of my transition. I have not been stressed about going up there for past holidays and visits, but this will be my first time up there since going gluten free and vegan. The last time I was up there was last Christmas and while I had made some changes in my diet, I made all the big changes a few months later. Kirkland Lake is a small mining town of 8,000 people. Considering that there’s only a handful of restaurants in town, I doubt I’m going to have a ton of choices when I go out, which means that I’m going to need to eat a lot of things at home. Joey’s mom is a wonderful cook, but very old school in her methods – lots of dairy, meat, and other things I don’t eat.

I see myself eating a lot of salad.

I plan to bring some things with me (cereal, almond milk, snacks, steamer basket etc.) and take a trip to the grocery store to stock up on fruits and veggies,  but it’s just not going to be the same as being at home and it feels a little daunting right now.

I also think that I’m just ready for my new life to start. When I first gave my notice at work, I felt a huge sense of relief. Waiting 2 months to go to school seemed much more feasible than waiting an entire year (until September 2010) The problem is that I feel like I’ve already checked out. My patience is wearing thin and it’s showing. I thought the the stress of my role would go away when I delegated some of my duties, but it’s still fairly high pressure and some of the people around me haven’t been on their best behaviour. Being in an open concept office makes this challenging and there have been a few days where I’ve just felt like walking out and/or crying.

So how am I coping?

I’m doing my best to take it day by day and stay positive. Negativity has gotten me nowhere in life and I truly believe in the power of positive thinking and words. January is still 3 weeks away, and projecting how stressed I’m going to be is not going to make anything better. I’ve got a lot of things to enjoy over the next few weeks including a vacation, time with friends and family and learning my part in my upcoming show.

I have to say that as a result of writing this blog post I feel a bit better and less anxious than I felt earlier. I’m also getting back into journaling. I’m reading Julia Cameron’s Artists Way 10th Anniversary Editionand am working up to writing my morning pages. Journaling is a wonderful way to release your emotions and thoughts in a constructive way. I’m also journaling something else: my food intake. I’m working on filling up my tracker each and every day because it’s really easy to make crummy food choices when I’m stressed out. Last but not least, I’ve been doing lots of activity and filling up my December Activity chart. Not only does activity make me feel great, but it also helps me to take my mind off things!

Heather sent me a great “message from the universe” last week,

Life isn't supposed to be all 'cakewalk' and no 'baking'.  Especially not for those who like to experiment, take risks, and be surprised.
Please pass the sparklers,
The Universe

So very, very true.

How are you coping with the stress of this season? What do you do to manage your stress? Any tips for me as I wait for my new beginnings?


LizNoVeggieGirl said...

So glad you're feeling better - keep on that positive path! **hugs**

Jaime said...

Aw girl, that is A LOT! Do you feel better now that you've purged some of it out in black and white?

I love that quote!

I can see myself using "please pass the sparklers" in times of stress even when other folks don't know what the heck I'm talking about!

Anonymous said...

Wow you have so much on your plate! I always admire people who can survive doing 232987 things at the same time.

Hmm I hope your holidays at the inlaws will go's not always easy going into someone's home and not being comfortable with the foods they offer. Even though people often still kind of feel bad because they will most probably try their best to suit your taste/needs but sometimes it's still isn't as good as when we're in our own homes!

Keep up with the positive attitude!

sclerogrrl said...

Hey, I grew up as a vegetarian in KL and was vegan for several years there. It wasn't really so bad. Plus, there is a much larger grocery store with a wider selection now. I'm sure there will plenty of choices for you with a little digging! True, you will be hard-pressed to find choices while dining out that are not huge and fried, but they do exist and you can actually find salads and stir-fries and whatnot on menus now. (Broadening the choices from breakfast, poutine, and ginormous poutine!)

Pure2raw Twins said...

I sure wish I read this post before I did mine tonight. I discussed my stress...and how I need to stop and just enjoy life. It is hard but you are one person I always look to for help. You are an amazing person, you have so much energy, so if you are stressing I cannot tell it in your writing!

You have a lot to look forward, so many exciting things. Just remember your old work stress will be gone soon and then you can really start to live your life!! Best wishes my friend!.

GF Gidget said...

I am dealing with a lot of the same issues. What can I say? Worry Warts, unite! I cope by combining two schools of thought that are ultimately one and the same.
1) As a Christian, I try to repeat one Bible verse over and over again, "God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind." Ultimately, worrying is a form of fear. It is not of God. Power, love, and a sound mind are!
2) Visualization is my second coping device. I tend to focus on the "what ifs....". What if I fail? What if I disappoint someone? What if I make the wrong decision? Instead of focusing on the negative energy, I am trying to focus on visualizing success. If you focus on the positive energy of success you will find a way to succeed. It may not be in the form you imagined, but it will be some form of success. Plus, it's a lot more zen to focus on positive energy than negative!
I hope this helps a little! Hang in there! You are a strong, beautiful woman!

Tracy said...

watch those stress levels, make time for yourself to get a little bit of rest and relaxation. The last thing you want is to start the new year with any stress related illness.

Merry Christmas

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