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Posts Tagged ‘Stress’

Yesterday, I woke up and felt the day looming large. Every morning Bob asks me what’s on our agenda, which should be funny right? My reply was “Absolutely nothing!” I was somewhat short and slightly incredulous while trying to smooth out a bumpy start to another day in quarantine. Day number 62 or 63 or 64? After coffee, I reconsidered.

I wanted to change the sheets, I needed to do a Shipt grocery order, and before long the Bride called because she needed Bob to print something out for her. Kids today don’t have printers. Or landlines or clothes lines. Or cable TV.

This morning is different. I woke up on clean sheets and thought to myself, “Hooray it’s Tuesday.” Today I’ll be writing and listening to Dr Tony Fauci on CNN speak remotely to a Senate panel about the coronavirus. Bob’s planning on listening to SCOTUS discuss Mr T’s taxes on NPR. We’ll be having a dueling listening party in our separate offices/guest bedrooms with a background of birdsong in the garden. Deciding our lunch plans seemed a long way off.

Yesterday, I also remembered I wanted to mend a pair of pants, an old, soft corduroy pair of Eileen Fisher pants that I love. So I picked up my iPad to scroll through Pinterest because I knew I had saved a tutorial on the Japanese art of Sashiko under my “Corona Crafts” board.

Time really flies on Pinterest! Before long, I realized I’d ordered the wrong iron-on facing and I was going to need an embroidery hoop. I thought I had embroidery hoops because I’d made dream catchers for the Grands with ribbons of feathers since we’d moved to Nashville. So I opened up my overflowing office closet and began organizing my jewelry making materials while looking for an embroidery hoop… My office was littered with beads and unfinished knitting projects.

I was also trying to find a picture of me at 13 so the Love Bug could compare me to Hayley Mills. Then my phone dinged and it was Vanderbilt texting to tell me that I had an eye doctor appointment. “Text YES to confirm or NO.” And for a day with nothing planned, I suddenly felt overwhelmed. I’ve never been great at multi-tasking, but could I be developing adult-onset ADHD?

Now Dr Fauci is talking about the “inevitable return of infections,” and I thought about the wisdom of our Native people. A governor in South Dakota is threatening to sue native tribes for attempting to keep the virus out of their community by setting up roadblocks, “checkpoints,” on state roads.

“The chairman of the Cheyenne River Sioux tribe, Harold Frazier, issued a statement in response to the governor on Friday, saying: “We will not apologise for being an island of safety in a sea of uncertainty and death.”

“You continuing to interfere in our efforts to do what science and facts dictate seriously undermine our ability to protect everyone on the reservation,” he added.  https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-52615311

Our country has infected Native Americans before, we have thrown them off their land and herded them into reservations like the Cheyenne River Sioux, who have only one hospital with no intensive care beds. It happens that my Parnassus First Edition Club book this month is all about tribal history. “The Night Watchman” by Louise Erdich.

Based on the extraordinary life of National Book Award-winning author Louise Erdrich’s  grandfather who worked as a night watchman and carried the fight against Native dispossession from rural North Dakota all the way to Washington, D.C., this powerful novel explores themes of love and death with lightness and gravity and unfolds with the elegant prose, sly humor, and depth of feeling of a master craftsman.”

Today Dr Fauci is “cautiously optimistic.” I wish I felt the same way. I used to worry about violent, mentally ill patients in the ER when my daughter announced she was interested in Emergency Medicine. I never thought about a virus like this, even though Bob has dealt with Ebola, H1N1 and HIV over the course of his career. This morning the Bride called on her way to work, she is a courageous and resilient young woman, so I must let go of my fear. I must focus, and try to create an island of calm in the midst of this crisis.

I must order an embroidery hoop online. This was yesterday, in the garden.

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I’m exhausted. And I’m experiencing a pretty high state of anxiety; I don’t want anyone else out there, reading this, to think that you are the only one. I tell my children, “I survived a tornado, so what’s a little virus gonna do?” Plenty, as it turns out:

My brother and sister were going to visit us this week, they cancelled; My son and his wife, plus our NY cousins were coming for the Bride’s seder, they cancelled; Dinner party, cancelled; This morning I’ll meet up with the Groom at the hospital after my PT to pick up the Love Bug because school was cancelled. The L’il Pumpkin’s school is in the hospital, should I be afraid?

It honestly terrifies me that the Bride sits at the front door to this pandemic. And she starts her early morning shift in the ER soon. She’s talked to Bob and the Groom about taking precautions because we all know the big wave is about to hit our country, flooding ill-equipped hospitals with seriously ill patients.

We don’t have enough tests, we don’t have enough ICU beds, we don’t have enough Ecmo machines to carry on the work of the heart and lungs.

And the Groom will have the most immuno-compromised, the most critically ill patients in his Medical ICU. Will he need a Hazmat suit? Vanderbilt is planning to screen people in their underground garage, at least they have a plan. Is my fear realistic?

Thousands of new cases across the world are being reported each day, and the true scale could be 10 times higher.

There are 1,323 confirmed cases in the US, 117 in Canada.

Thirty-eight people have died in the US due to the virus and one person has died in Canada.

Officials say risk remains low for the general US public, but is growing.

Mr T’s speech on Wednesday night only served to accelerate my anxiety, given on the same day the WHO called the Coronavirus, aka COVID-19, a pandemic. Europe has porous borders, banning everyone except British people makes NO damn sense. This disease is already here and it strikes randomly and with precision, like a tornado. Only 20% will become seriously ill, most of us will feel like we have the flu. Will they take my temperature when I visit the Great Grands?

Our country could have started preparing for this in November, but Mr T demands loyalty and supplication from his civil servants, and so he has gone about decimating the very structure that should have been in place. We elected him to disrupt the government, and look what we got! A reporter with the Rolling Stone says,

“…we lost both the top White House official in charge of pandemic response and his global health security team last May, and none of them were replaced. This is what it looks like once a government that was built ostensibly to serve the public is deconstructed and reformed to serve an autocrat in training wheels. It looks like a chief of staff claiming the press is only covering a pandemic that has spread to at least 56 nations because “they think this will bring down the president.” 

A virus is not political – COVID-19 will strike anyone at will. This bears repeating – it is not the media’s fault, the Coronavirus is not a hoax! When I get over this generalized feeling of doom and gloom, I’ll remember to be mad at the clown in the White House. Bob told me yesterday, “The problem in this country is lack of testing. In South Korea, for instance, almost 4000 people per million population have been tested. In the Netherlands, it is 350 per million population. In the United States it is five per million.” 

5 people per million.

I’m not sleeping, and if you’re having trouble sleeping, let’s make a hot steaming cup of Ginger Vanilla tea together and breathe.

My hands are sweating. Don’t worry if you have clammy hands too, because we don’t need to shake hands anymore anyway. We need to stay 6′ away from everyone.

I kept my appointment with my hair stylist yesterday, I missed it last Tuesday because, you remember, the tornado on Monday night. Bob told me if the hair stylist was sick to come home, and he meant it. But he was fine and we had a small dose of fun. He fixed my pale pink hair, now it’s a bright fuchsia!

To be perfectly honest, right after the tornado I had a bad headache and was congested. I thought my headache was because we had no power – so I had no coffee. Caffeine withdrawal can be brutal. I thought my congestion was because I’d been sweeping and cleaning up city sidewalks. Nothing like a disaster to mask the symptoms of a common cold.

The L’il Pumpkin had croup, and the Love Bug had a cough. I stayed away from Great Grandma Ada and Hudson.

And now I wonder, did we all have this virus? I didn’t run a fever and never even had a sore throat. Last week, being tested for Coronavirus didn’t cross my mind. But if I did, how long is it communicable? It would have been nice to know, but without a fever I probably wouldn’t have been tested even if I wanted one. Even if my doctor could get her hands on one.  I’ve been to the gym once, a few days ago, and I usually have to wait for Bob to finish after my workout. A guy sat across from me coughing, without covering his mouth in any way.

I wanted to smack him.

And I’m really not a violent person, I went to Catholic school. So let’s give ourselves a break and realize that we are all feeling somewhat unmoored and adrift at the moment. In this social contract we have to each other, let’s practice “social distancing.” I’m not going to a really cool concert in East on Sunday. Nicole Atkins, a friend of the Rocker’s is singing, and Norah Jones will be there. And the Heartbreakers, but maybe the Bride and Groom want to go?

Nope, Nicole just DMed me, the show has been cancelled.

I just wanted you to know you’re not alone out there. We’re all scared and needing a little TLC right about now. If you’re working from home, or your kids have been sent home from college, you’re lucky. Your livelihood doesn’t depend on tips or touring. If you have small children at home, try to treat this time like an adventure. Stress can take its toll on all of us.

This president started his term with a lie. Let’s stay #NashvilleStrong and keep it real. I’m always available via social, text and email. Let’s stay connected. Here we are doing arts and crafts last weekend in the stairwell – our safe place during the tornado.

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The big move was done in little pieces. We ferried small things over in our car piece by piece, the ubiquitous Pod was delivered and emptied by a team of BellHops, then finally Music City Movers emptied our townhouse. Ten days later I threw a Seder for family and friends – 17 altogether. To say I’m exhausted would be missing the point; I’m feeling like I got hit by a truck and I don’t have the flu….

Remember that book we all read years ago, required reading in every high school English class, “The Things They Carried.”

Twenty years ago, writer Tim O’Brien released a book of stories about young men and war, his war, Vietnam. Among many other things, he listed the weight of each soldier’s clothes, canteens and can openers. From the book: Every third or fourth man carried a claymore antipersonnel mine, 3.5 pounds with its firing device. They all carried fragmentation grenades, 14 ounces each. They all carried at least one M-18 colored smoke grenade, 24 ounces. Some carried CS or tear gas grenades. Some carried white phosphorous grenades. They carried all they could bear and then some, including a silent awe for the terrible power of the things they carried.

https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=125128156

I’ve been reevaluating all the things I’ve carried around with me from my glory days as a new wife and mother in Massachusetts, to moving back to NJ when the Rocker was just 2 and unpacking was almost impossible, to building our small house overlooking the Blue Ridge in Virginia. Then finally the fantastical move to Nashville, leaving Bob to sell most of our furniture to the new owners of our house, while I stayed here on Nana duty.

Unlike Great Grandma Ada, who cocooned in her home for fifty years collecting the things her two sisters left behind, I’ve had ample opportunity to prune and shed the things that were weighing me down.

I still carry: some of the school papers from my children; the Bride’s baby dresses; a big, antique French cupboard; the heron and guinea hen prints, the kilt I was wearing when I first met Bob; my 1960s avocado green mixer; my 60s blue Dutch oven, the one I found in a store in Cambridge, MA, the same store I’d see Julia Child shopping in from time to time, it’s a heavy workhouse of a pot that found its way back into my heart during Seder prep; the oil painting the Bride did of us on Windsor Pond; the Rocker’s self-portrait from high school. All the old photographs.

And my beautiful desk, the one I’m writing on just now. I’ve missed it for 2 years.

I’ve carried all I can bear, but still the Bride insisted on “Marie Kondoizing” me. She dumped piles of clothes on my bed and asked me, one by one, if they sparked joy?! “Mom, you have two similar black Eileen Fisher dresses, which ONE do you want?”

I was resistant at first, but then I saw how my style, me weight, my essence had changed over the years. No woman wants to be stuck in the same hair style their whole life, and I could finally see that “Pittsfield-me” was too Laura Ashley, “Rumson-me” was too Lilly Pulitzer, and “Nashville-me” is something entirely different. I thanked my dated clothes for their faithful service and bid them farewell.

Bob has always traveled light, and so he was happy to see the Big Purge, but to my surprise he kept a few sentimental things of his own.

We are ready to tackle the garden now, to plant and transplant, to install the fairy house. I hope y’all had a wonderful Passover and Easter weekend and you’re looking ahead to blue skies and warmer days. Ms Bean has her favorite sunny spot on the porch, and I just might join her!

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There, I said it. The first step is acceptance. I’ve tried every type of mind numbing hobby over the years; quilting and sewing when the kids were little, knitting later on and working in a friend’s shop named “Tanglewool.” Of course writing, cooking and gardening were always there, forming a tapestry of my days, until Great Grandma Ada turned me on to Beads. When I was packing up my aviary last summer, I knew I had to have my beads with me, no matter what!

I’ve already started stringing some green landscape jasper and white jade this morning. Last night I wore a coral and turquoise number to the Love Bug’s school, she was wearing an elephant necklace we’d made together. It was an International Night filled with foods from every corner of the globe, Bollywood dancers and Spanish songs. But I zeroed in on the Mission Table to Uganda – they were selling beautifully intricate paper beads. I realized I was powerless and had to have them.

Before our move to Nashville I’d been venturing outside my comfort zone, knotting pearls and working with tiny seed beads. The results were spectacular but the work was tedious and long. Yesterday I’d stop and look at my design on the dining table, adding something here, subtracting another bead there. This morning after coffee and the daily “damage report” from Bob, I picked out my wire and started stringing.

It’s like a meditation, almost like moving rosary beads in my hands when I was little. Your mind is focused on one thing, all the rest fades into the background noise on the street. And the finished product is uniquely mine, a small piece of art. Out of the chaos of my dining room dresser filled with beads I’ve created something new. Most of the necklaces and bracelets I’ve made I give away as gifts, but sometimes a piece will win me over and it gets to stay.

Some people have said I could sell my creations, who knows? Maybe some day when I get into my Pod and find all those eternity necklaces I made with freshwater and coin pearls. An eternity necklace has no clasp, no hardware or “findings” as we say in the Biz. I wonder what people would pay for them? There is some research yet to be done, and there are plenty of cute boutiques in the area, surely one of them might give it a try? But who knows, what if they don’t sell? Wait, there’s always Etsy!

My sister Kay made beautiful needlepoint pillows, I treasure the one on our bed in the likeness of our Corgi, Tootsie Roll. I have the white cotton coverlet my Nana crocheted over a hundred years ago, and I sent the lilac Easter sweater the Flapper knit to our cousins in California. What treasures will our children and grandchildren decide to keep, and what will go to Goodwill? Everybody is wired differently, and stringing melts away the small, still, everyday stress of life, like reading a good book.

Robins are dancing outside on the grass, and a squirrel keeps promenading up and down the sidewalk. I’m thinking of Spring colors, the yellow burst of buds, the soft green of moss. It’s time for some spring cleaning, but not before I finish this necklace.

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Call me crazy, but yesterday I picked up the latest, golden-colored Atlantic magazine with a picture of the Donald on the cover. “The Mind of Donald Trump” is the cover story, all about how a psychologist would dissect the Trump brain, what makes him tick. Since he had recently entered my dream life, yes folks, Donald gave me six million dollars for a book deal, In. My. Dreams., I figured I owed myself a reckoning. But I didn’t read that story, I read the one about kids, and achievement, and toxic stress. http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2016/06/how-kids-really-succeed/480744/

It seems we are now a country with more than 50% of children living below the poverty line, requiring free or reduced lunches at public schools. Once I got over that shocker, I read on…educators are looking beyond standardized test scores to predict why some poor kids fail and some thrive in school. They are looking into the character traits that contribute to a child’s academic success…

“…often referred to as noncognitive skills, or character strengths—that include resilience, conscientiousness, optimism, self-control, and grit. These capacities generally aren’t captured by our ubiquitous standardized tests, but they seem to make a big difference in the academic success of children, especially low-income children.”

In other words, who has true grit? Lo and behold, research has shown that this stuff cannot exactly be taught. It takes a combination of forces, all environmental (although if you ask me, nature plays an important role here as well) that combine in the right way during early childhood, and can be enhanced by a certain pedagogy. And most importantly, if a child is raised with “toxic stress,” he or she will adapt to school in a way that makes learning nearly impossible. They will close off and become “behavior” problems.

Toxic stress is defined as severe and chronic stress, the kind a child living in poverty is more likely to encounter. Is it safe for them to play in the street, or walk to school? Do they see loved ones routinely, are they consistent when they do ? Are they hungry, can they sleep at night? Are their needs being met? Imagine a child growing up in Syria, or Chicago. Stress baths a developing brain with all the wrong signals.

In a way, they are learning not to trust the world, or anyone in it.

“When those signals suggest that life is going to be hard, the network reacts by preparing for trouble: raising blood pressure, increasing the production of adrenaline, heightening vigilance. Neuroscientists have shown that children living in poverty experience more toxic stress than middle-class children, and that additional stress expresses itself in higher blood pressure and higher levels of certain stress hormones.”

Yesterday I also got a note from the Bride telling me that a certain Principal was moving from their neighborhood school to a magnet school. Yes, in Nashville there are public elementary schools where one can be immersed in Chinese and learn to stand and speak in class, into a microphone, with impunity. Students grow their own veggies and feed into the very best high school. The problem is getting into those schools is a matter of luck – it’s a lottery system. Which in my mind seems cruel and unusual.

It’s one thing to abandon “No Child Left Behind,” which arguably didn’t work anyway, but then to offer the best practices at only some schools in the country is a piecemeal approach to the problem. Fostering a feeling of belonging, a willingness to learn and resilience almost always comes down to each individual teacher.

Let’s train and teach our educators, ALL of them, to foster true grit in their classrooms. Failure is OK, keep trying. Don’t say to the boys who sit at the back of the class with their caps pulled down covering their eyes, “We know who the losers are in this class.” Let’s make every school magnetic, with high expectations for every student and : “…less lecture time; fewer repetitive worksheets; more time spent working in small groups, solving problems, engaging in discussions, and collaborating on long-term creative projects. It’s a style of teaching and classroom organization that is relatively common in independent schools and in wealthy suburbs but quite unusual in inner-city public schools.”

School is almost out for the summer. It’s time to raise a child who feels her or his world is a safe place. Let’s work on our children’s resilience this year, a little indomitable spirit never hurt anyone. It’s takes a piece of grit to create a pearl.  IMG_4265Yesterday, the sun came out.

 

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There is only one area of my life where I exhibit OCD tendencies. My kitchen table is semi-covered with a cloth (so the cat wouldn’t slip off) and miscellaneous notes and magazines. My study is a study in my “file by pile” method. But when it comes to books, once I find an author I love, I’ll stick with her/him and find everything they ever wrote. Which is how I came to read Abide With Me by Elizabeth Strout.http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/03/16/AR2006031601632.html

I loved Olive Kitteridge and The Burgess Boys. But in this story she has entered a new realm. I’ve always wanted to have faith, to believe that everything has been planned for us and all we have to do is pray. But my early lapse from a severe Catholic upbringing, coupled with a conversion to Judaism so my children would be raised in a faith, has left me adrift in a spiritual mumbo jumbo, a limbo of grace deferred. So it was a rare pleasure to lose my doubting/Thomas/self in a young minister’s life.

I’d recommend this book particularly at this time of year. It’s about loss, and fathers and daughters, and so much more. It’s about a marriage that was probably a mistake, a New England community filled with gossip and judgement. The protagonist preacher, Tyler, thinks about what Catholic saints and German Protestant ministers jailed during the Holocaust would do in certain situations. He is suffering because his wife has died.

One of my favorite Buddhists is Pema Chodron. She shares her breathing contemplation/meditation to relieve that little sense of discontent we all experience from time to time. Suffering is inevitable, “Everybody dies” as Bob likes to remind me. Pema tells us to take six deep breaths and open our hearts to the pain, even the everyday disappointments:

“When you breathe in, you can recognize that all over the world — right now and in the past and in the future — people are going to feel exactly what you’re feeling now. A feeling of being rejected. The feeling of being unloved. The feeling of insecurity. The feeling of fear. Rage.” Chödrön says. “Human beings have always felt this and always will. And so you breathe in for everyone that they could welcome it, that they could say, ‘I haven’t done anything wrong.’ Embrace it.”
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/12/02/pema-chodron-exercise-suffering-discontent_n_6255410.html

Pema calls this practice “Compassionate Abiding.” We accept our fear, our pain, our feelings and we learn to incorporate them, not to resist, in order to forge our spirit. What a beautiful concept, this is, in a way, prayer. It’s saying the rosary after confessing your sins; but without the beads and the dark priest’s closet. And the shame. It’s forgiving yourself.

When everyone around you seems to be in the “spirit” of the holidays, and you find yourself feeling blue, take a few moments to breathe, and abide within the feeling. IMG_1764

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There’s snow on the ridgeline this morning. I’m back in my mountain home after 10 hours on the road with my 4 month old Bug and her parents. She did well for about 7 hours with many stops, which is 1 hour more than my limit in a car. And yesterday I did the hand off to the other set of grandparents for their New Year’s week visit. In the midst of this transition, after my long stretch of babysitting, I had a nightmare.

The Bride was leaning back on the balcony of a large white iconic building (hospital?) and she fell slowly over the edge. I watched incredulously but could not reach her in time. When I looked over, she was hanging on by her fingertips. “Help her!” I yelled at Bob and then promptly woke up in a sweat. She had worked 5 straight nights in a row (including Christmas Eve and Christmas) and before that, 4 daytime shifts. Shift work takes its toll on a body, just ask any nurse or police officer.

“Society is oriented toward traditional daytime work hours and work at night will often intensify fatigue and reduce alertness. Workers generally will not acclimate to night work, and sleep patterns will generally be disrupted so the non-work periods do not provide full recovery, resulting in sleep deprivation. Studies suggest that it can take up to 10 days to adapt to a night time work schedule.” http://www.osha.gov/OshDoc/data_Hurricane_Facts/faq_longhours.html

When I was writing about normal holiday stress, I didn’t factor in having to change your circadian rhythm or nursing a 4 month old baby. I always joked that Bob became a director because he didn’t want to work nights; only it’s not a joke. He won’t do nights, he sleeps…at night. If he met a doc who wanted to work nights, he would hire him/her immediately. Keep this in mind future EM residents, if you are a night owl, you have an advantage.

Naturally, the Love Bug is off her schedule. Babies will change it up just when you figure it out, but this little nugget has been in 2 different homes the last few days and her mama was away many nights and sleeping-in many mornings. I tried to explain it all to her, I told her that she can be very proud of her mommy for saving lives. I told her that things will get better in the New Year. Her daddy and I did our best to play guitar and sing her to sleep at night. Hang on baby girl. Our country may sail over a cliff, but your mama is on solid ground.

My big news of Christmas week is the birth of 2 brand new baby girls! Congratulations and welcome to the world Great Nieces’ Francesca Lynn and Evan Margot. Have a very happy and healthy New Year everyone!
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We’ve all heard of seasonal workers, and seasonal affective disorder (SAD) when you live, say in England, and rarely see the sun. Well seasonal stress disorder (SSD) should get its very own ICD9 code. For the non-medical reader, these are the letters and numbers that correspond to a diagnosis your doctor provides you and your health insurance system with – then someone at a desk decides if the doctor (or NP or PA) gets paid. Simple as that. I imagine that depression gets its own ICD9 code, with all its reasoning and corresponding symptoms, but the stress of everyday life? Probably not so much.

Starting with the Thanksgiving day bird that needs stuffing, and quickly moving on to the next day…the Blackest of Shopping Fridays…the push is on to get going:
Deck the halls and drag out or cut down a tree;
Find our buy ornaments;
Decorate the tree and serve eggnog;
Bake cookies;
Mail holiday cards:
Attend parties;
Act happy.

And it’s the “acting happy” part if you’re feeling blue that can hurt. I don’t want to be all Scrooge about it, but even if you’re a reasonably sane person for most of the year, the stress of added or forced jubilation coupled with going into debt to serve a consumer-driven culture during the last six weeks of the year can squeeze the joy out of a season that’s truly all about giving. According to this article, 90% of doctor visits are due to stress-related problems. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/29/reduce-stress-real-life-tips-that-really-work_n_2204938.html?ncid=edlinkusaolp00000009#slide=1814158 So how to avoid burn-out in a nutshell when we’re getting down to the wire? Easy. Put on the brakes and give yourself permission to relax:
Take a walk, preferably with your dog; EXERCISE
Take a bath, or better yet, jump into a hot tub; STAY WARM
Write down 3 things you are grateful for; THINK POSITIVELY
Help someone else who needs help; ACT KINDLY
Watch a funny movie LAUGH
Learn to love chaos ACCEPT YOURSELF
(ie give up perfection or trying to live a “clutter-free” life)

Where have you gone Betsy Ford? OK, maybe that last part is more mine than yours, but studies show that putting a smile on your face makes the brain trick the mind into feeling happy. Most moms today are working AND trying to do all of the above Christmas-related chores which would drive anyone nuts, IMHO (which I just learned means “in my humble opinion”) but if you use this too much are you really humble? Just heard Deepak Chopra say that babies learn very early on whether life is going to be “Yummy or Yucky.” So I’m starting my NEW New Year’s List
and it’s not about the good the bad and the ugly with resolutions galore to add up to more stress. It’s simply a reading list and Chopra’s new book “Super Brain” will be on it. Here’s a little brain test – can you tell which card doesn’t belong? I forgot, along with keeping Santa, I also do “Merry Everything” cards, which is much easier with Shutterfly. There’s Betsy upper left, my Rumson Clutter Counselor.
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Answer key: The new 2013 card of the Love Bug is nestled in last year’s display. Don’t worry, I’m archiving the old to make way for the new. Make it a perfectly yummy holiday and Happy Hanukka to all my Jewish friends and family…is it easier or harder when Hanukka comes so early? Answer key: Easier!

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