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Release pressure

I’ve been writing this month about the importance of taking care of yourself. So much happens in this busy month, and I’m only looking at the calendar. Holidays, end of the year, changing seasons, long dark nights here in the Northeast. Add in the external pressure that accompanies all of that – to select and buy gifts, to attend parties at work or with friends, to prepare food and host guests, to live up to the hype in seasonal movie plots, sing songs at the coffee shop, or just compete with our own nostalgia. Yep, even comparing our current lives to fond memories of the past can become a form of self-defeating competition – and it’s one that you cannot win. And that’s before you start feeling the pressure of resolving to make some sort of change in two weeks.

I love Christmas; always have. All that stuff I just described? I love it – up to a point. But by now, I’ve been through enough Christmases to have learned that we all need to keep within our boundaries. And boundaries are fluid. So, some years it’s easy – like butter – and other years it’s hard. Or sometimes, this season can feel annoying, or sad, or overwhelming. And, once in a while, it just might be meh. Empty.  

You know that there is a scientific formula for pressure? (We use a lot of language from the sciences without thinking too much about it.) Pressure equals force divided by area. Here’s a two minute video I liked that explains it simply. P = F/A.

Now here’s my invitation to you. In this equation think of yourself as P, that is, you are the one experiencing pressure. And think of F as all those parts of the season you feel obliged to do or be. And A? That’s the time between now and Christmas. And that A, that area, was much larger a month ago. Two weeks ago. Even last week. But it’s getting smaller and smaller. So the P, the pressure you may be experiencing, is increasing. You can’t move Christmas, so what do you do?

Sit. Find a time or place to yourself, even if that’s only by closing your eyes. And breathe. Just focus on breathing in and out. Put your hands on your heart, letting go a little at a time, just breathing, knowing that Christmas will come whether you do everything, nothing or just something in between. It will come with you or without you. It will come again next year. Just breathe. Let go of what you can in this moment. Feel yourself expand.

Take care of yourself this way, this week. As often as possible, check in with yourself and take a few deep breaths. Eyes closed. Even if it’s only for a moment, doing this will help reduce F and expand A, thus releasing P.

And you thought you didn’t know science.  Pfft!




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