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#5: “Angstgiving”


“There is no such thing as fun for the whole family.”

I adore this quote by Jerry Seinfeld, a man who must know my family. The holidays bring out the very best and the very worst in people. Thanksgiving is the day where we give thanks and enjoy family, friends, food and tradition. It is immediately followed by Black Friday where people trample each other to save a few dollars on things they probably don’t need. The juxtaposition of these two days typifies the holiday season for me.  For the last six years we have had Thanksgiving with my family. My father’s cousins all live close to me. We aren’t exactly sure what the definition of our relation is but we call them our aunts and uncles and their children our cousins. Bottom line is they are fun, they are close and the food is phenomenal. Plus it’s the big family gathering that we see in movies and TV except louder. My husband however always tries to get us to go to his mother’s house, nine hours away, with the same five people. The truth is, it’s not fun: the drive is terrible, there’s no room and nothing to do. So every year I dread the holidays because I know the “discussion” is coming, and it always causes family tension. This year I tried something new, I avoided it completely. If my husband wanted to go, he was more than welcome to go but I wasn’t going to engage in the battle. I thought it would make things easier. The result was the same but with less drama. He was mad, which made my daughter mad, which made me stressed. The holiday itself was wonderful, the deep-fried turkey delicious, the desserts were plentiful. I ate more than I should but it was hard not to.

The tension in the house was thick for the rest of the weekend. For Black Friday we all went our separate ways, my daughter went with her friends, husband escaped to the beach to play some volleyball and I did what I always do: gave blood. I feel like it continues the giving and I avoid the horrible crowds. The rest of the weekend was tense with all of us walking on eggshells and avoiding conflict. I was off my game, frazzled and completely forgot to spray up. I was sluggish all weekend.

When Monday came around, I was relieved. The kid went back to school and the husband was back at work. I was hoping to get back to my routine, which included my morning Pilates class.  I take class with a friend who actually got me the job at BiomeTech, I’ve known her for 16 years and she’s like a sister to me. After class while at work she asked me if I was okay. She said I looked terrible (I did) and I wasn’t myself in class. She said the spark was out. I was on the verge of tears and I didn’t know how to stop it. Then she asked if I was taking my sprays. I realized that it had been days since I had used them. I was completely out of sync. The disruption of my schedule coupled with the holiday had thrown my routine off kilter. I suddenly felt like all the hard work I had been doing was trashed. I immediately used all the calming sprays and took a few minutes to just focus and breathe. The rest of the day was better. I came home and fell back into the flow. I did my PM sprays and had a decent night’s sleep. The rest of the week I made sure to be extra diligent and by Friday I was sleeping soundly and had my spark back.

Will there be setbacks on this journey? Of course, no one is perfect, life happens and on occasion we do fall back into old (and bad) habits. The good news is your body doesn’t hold grudges. Give it what it needs and it will reward you. The takeaway for me was to add a reminder, twice a day, to spray. It will help me develop a good routine and good habits. It’s also a reminder that I am human and that’s okay!

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