Tag Archives: marriage

How to anticipate and relieve holiday stress

Halloween has barely come and gone, if that long, before magazine articles, television programs , retail advertisements, and radio music  tell us that this is

“the most wonderful time of the year.” 

That is until the extra work of shopping, cooking, decorating, wrapping, planning and entertaining makes it the least wonderful time.

snowflakes making a Christmas tree

While we  welcome celebrating with family and friends, those encounters can create emotional tension and strain. When we feel  sad that loved ones can’t be with us, either through distance or death,  the season can become the worst of the year.

By anticipating these events and feelings, we can prepare ourselves for the physical and emotional stress of the holiday season, and find a way to enjoy the festivities with “hearts all a glowing.”

These  resources offer  sound advice for confronting  and conquering holiday challenges.

Writer Bruce Y. Lee takes a lighthearted but serious look at the holiday season and suggests music may help us cope better in

 How To Reduce And Deal With Holiday Stress

Twelve Days of Christmas”: Keep perspective and if the Holidays are tough for you, remember that the Holiday season is temporary and will pass. Try not to take yourself and things too seriously. Just make sure you maintain healthy habits and avoid behaviors that will lead to health problems (such as gaining weight) beyond the holiday season.”

colorful wrapped packages

Consider this advice from WebMD before going 

Home for the Holidays 

“Don’t worry about how things should be. Most people have less than perfect holiday gatherings — they have family tension, melancholy, and dry turkey too. If you have negative feelings, don’t try to deny them. Remember that there’s nothing wrong or shameful or unusual about feeling down during the holidays.

a cute snowman

31 Tips for a Stress-Free Christmas from Woman’s Day

#23 Know when to say no.

Can’t say no? Then keep your gatherings small and intimate. Get together with a few of your closest friends or relatives for the holidays. Choose to throw the big blowout parties at another time of the year, when you and your guests will have fewer commitments competing for your precious time.”

glowing cancles

 A Simple Christmas: A Faith-filled Guide to a Meaningful And Stress-free Christmas (Spirit of Simple Living) A Simple Christmas book cover

by Sharon Hanby-Robie

“The secret to a happy holiday is learning to collaborate and to create a plan that is uniquely yours with a goal to experience more serenity, more joy, and more opportunities to nurture the souls of those you love.

But, most important, it is to remember the greatest gift ever given, the gift of the Christ Child. Take time to simply sit and ponder this amazing miracle. ”

a nativity arrangement of the manger

And in his blog post

Choose Holiday Traditions That Serve You

Joshua Becker reminds us that

“Traditions should draw our attention to the underlying reason for the season.

Traditions should not detract from the season, they should elevate it.”

Here are the 5 key points I find in these references.

Which ones speak to you?

5 keys to manage holiday stress before it manages you 

  1. Set realistic expectations for yourself and others.
  2. Anticipate stressful situations, places, and people.
  3. Plan and prepare carefully, but stay flexible for the unexpected.
  4. Keep your  health maintenance routine- healthy eating, exercise, adequate sleep.
  5. Remember what is most important about the season-family, friends, faith.

Please let me know how your holiday season turns out this year.

Thanks to Pixabay for the Christmas photos used in this post.

I would love for you to share this  information  on your social media pages.

And follow Watercress Words for more information, instruction, and inspiration to help you explore the HEART of HEALTH .


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black and white person's' hands raised

Say Goodbye for Now- a book review

Say Goodbye for Now

A novel by Catherine Ryan Hyde

Published by Lake Union Publishers

(This post contains multiple affiliate links.)

In 1959, Dr. Lucille Armstrong, or Dr. Lucy as she is called, practices medicine of sorts in a small Texas town. Although she is a “doctor of human beings”, she spends most of her time taking care of stray and injured animals.

To support them and herself, she occasionally treats people; “ it’s not a hobby, I do it for the money.” But because “people there didn’t take well to a woman doctor”, her patients are not always the town’s model citizens.

Dr. Lucy lives alone except for the menagerie of injured animals she has doctored back to life. She likes her life the way it is, until she opens her home to three  unexpected and unlikely guests.


SAY GOODBYE FOR NOW by Catherine Ryan Hyde

Their effect on her life causes her to realize she doesn’t like being alone, it was “just better than being with most of the people I’ve known.”

Two of them were boys, Pete and Justin, who learn they live in a world where “just walking down the street together can get you viciously beaten.” The other, Calvin, a man who quit smoking, helps her learn to trust again. He remembers the day he quit because it was the day the Surgeon General announced smoking is harmful to health.

I  have reviewed several medical books, all of them non-fiction. I also enjoy medical fiction and have read many, mostly along the lines of medical mystery/thriller/drama. Probably the best known medical fiction are those written by physicians –

Michael Crichton- The Andromeda Strain,Robin Cook Coma,Tess Gerritsen- Life Support.

This book is different. I identified with the main character, a woman physician. Like her, I entered medicine when there were not many women physicians.  I like that she doesn’t read the newspaper because “the news breaks my heart.” ( It breaks mine too but I still read it.)  Dr. Lucy saves  letters; not just the ones she receives, but copies of the ones she writes.

As is true in the  practice of medicine, the main subject of this book is pain, along with loss,grief, injustice, loneliness, fear and anger.

But it is equally about resilience,recovery, friendship, love, sacrifice, and healing .

Almost like a surgeon, the author skilfully uses words to dissect and repair intense human interactions and emotions.

man and woman holding the letters L O V E

photo from Lightstock.com

The book intrigued me even more when I learned the author, Catherine Ryan Hyde, has written over 30 books, including Pay It Forward  (1999) named a Best Book for Young Adults by the American Library Association.

The book became a major motion picture, Pay It Forward.

In 2000 Ms. Hyde  founded the Pay It Forward Foundation, a 501 c3 Non-Profit Organization dedicated to promoting opportunities to do just that.

“The philosophy of Pay It Forward is that through acts of kindness among strangers, we all foster a more caring society. In the book, Reuben St. Clair, a social studies teacher in Atascadero, California, challenges his students to “Change the world”. That’s something we would all like to do, right? What if we could change the world, even in some small way?

One of the students in the class is Trevor, who takes the challenge to heart. As he goes about his day, he wonders what he could do, just a twelve year old student, to change the world. He starts by showing kindness to a stranger, and from there, moves on to the next person he can help.”

Besides mentioning the Surgeon General’s warning about tobacco use, Say Goodbye for Now references another historical event that impacted the characters’ lives.

In 1968 the Supreme Court considered the case Loving vs the Commonwealth of Virginia that challenged laws prohibiting interracial marriage. The ruling in favor of Mildred and Richard Loving changed their lives and thousands of  couples since.

The landmark ruling was detailed in a “documentary novel”, Loving vs. Virginia and dramatized in a 2016 movie, Loving.

LOVIE a movie

LOVING “A landmark film”

Like most good fiction, this book left me feeling  I made new friends. They were not perfect people , but none of my real friends or I are either. Each character faced the “rottenness of the world”, finding a way to live in it anyway and doctoring each other back to health.

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In the book Calvin successfully quit smoking. You can too. Consider these

7 surprising reasons to be smoke free

No smoking sign

If you need help, talk to your doctor or call 1-800-QUIT-NOW.