[caption id="attachment_1107" align="aligncenter" width="220" caption="I LOVE Cheez-Its. I went through an entire box the first few days I was home. This was bad, Michael Jackson BAD. "][/caption]
I never fully understood what people meant when they remarked that the holidays were stressful, until now. I returned home a few weeks ago to spend my holiday break with my parents and relax. But, of course I haven’t actually been relaxing. I’ve been working and stressing and not enjoying my “vacation.” I feel on edge. It’s not Christmas Day itself that is so hard to deal with. It is the fact that I am supposed to sit around smiling, baking cookies, and singing carols when I really feel like spiking the eggnog and telling little kids that Santa doesn’t exist. Ok, that was a little dramatic. But, I’m just being honest.
So what is stressing me out? Well, there is a long list of stressors including: family issues, work, school, and my boyfriend being laid off! I am certainly doing my best to channel this negative energy. But it’s all starting to pile up like a plate on Thanksgiving Day. Unfortunately when I start to feel this way, it triggers a bad habit pleasantly referred to as emotional eating. Or as I like to say, I start to eat my feelings.
This habit isn’t new, and I have been an emotional eater for as long as I can remember. Looking back, I vividly recall running home one day after school, hiding in the pantry and eating a couple bags of Lays snack size potato chips. I was so upset about my new school and not fitting in, and at the time, I thought eating was the only thing that would make me feel better.
Although I am not a chubby fourth grader with self-esteem issues any more, I still feel like her at times. Also, I realize the extra pounds I carried as a child were a reflection of how I dealt with the stress I had in my life. It is the same to this day; the pounds pack on and my jeans grow tight when I’m dealing with some sort of problem.
Luckily, I have learned a few ways to deal with stress. My go-to stress reliever is running. Whenever I feel overwhelmed, I tie up the laces and run out the door. But, my parents don’t live in an area that is conducive to running, so I have been going to the gym with my mom. It has actually been a lot of fun since my mom is on mission to lose weight. Four days a week, she wakes me and we go to the local YMCA to work out together. I never thought that I would be strength training with my mom, but I’m actually really enjoying it.
I am also talking about my problems more. Toni is my fill-in therapist, so I will be blowing up her phone and IM this week. I don’t usually open up, but I am realizing that the more I talk about what is going on in my life, the better I feel. Plus, Toni always reminds me that I food is not the answer.
Does anyone else get stressed out around the holidays? How do you guys cope with stress? How do you channel negative energy?
PS -Here are a few pictures of my mom pumping iron and doing an ab workout. In a few months, she will be the big 6-0. At this age she thinks that she has still got it... and she does. Preserve the sexy ladies!