Saturday, November 24, 2007

Holiday Stress

Perhaps you're one of those people who gets stressed out around the holidays. Gee, I don't know why you would. . .

The big family gathering where the sister-in-law who ruined your kid's birthday party is going to be. The reunion with the brother who told your kid to shut up because the adults are talking last year. Or the very, very long drive you took with your three kids fighting in the back seat so they could hang out with the extended fam-damily for two lousy days before you got back in the car again.

Then there's Black Friday, where the retailers go into the black and you simultaneously go into the black hole of credit card debt.

God, you need a cigarette.

Except, no you don't.

Here's the thing about holiday stress . . . smoking doesn't cure it. Having that cigarette won't make it any easier to see your sister-in-law or forgive your brother.

The smoke isn't going to make the kids stop fighting during the long drive. It's not going to wipe away the tears you get when you say goodbye to your aging parents and you wonder if your grandmother will live long enough for you to visit again.

Smoking certainly won't make it easier to face the black hole of Christmas expenses - in fact, it only digs you deeper into that financial oblivion at $5-$7 a pack.

You could break down and have a cigarette because "you have to."

OR. . .

You could muster up the courage and pray that God will help you face family members you don't really want to see. You could spend your time talking with someone else. You could opt out of the gathering this year.

You could decide to skip the malls and stores and announce a low-key Christmas, enhanced by stress-free shopping on the Internet.

You could stop and buy each kid a hand-held video game to stop the fighting or stop at a park to let them play.

You could just feel the ache of saying good-bye and say everything you're afraid you won't have a chance to say if you wait too long. I love you, I miss you, I think about you all the time, I'll come again as soon as I can.

There never will be life without stress. If you keep doing the same thing - smoking - and expecting an impossible result (stress relief) you're perpetually disappointed and stressed out.

Try doing something different to see if you can get a different result. Hold fast to your quit and realize that while this year may feel harder, by next year you'll have new coping strategies that will make things easier.

The only way out is through.

You can totally do this. I know you can.


Anonymous said...

How wise your are, Tracee. And too right. Smoking wouldn't have changed a thing.

I'll say it here first. I'm proud of my almost 7 week quit at last. I got through Thanksgiving (at my house!)and all the relatives, friends, and cooking. I didn't smoke. I kept promising myself I would because I DESERVED it. I cleaned, shopped, cooked, had a house full of people. It was going to be my reward. Just one. I'd think, "At five o'clock I'm going to have a cigarette." At six, at seven...I kept putting it off. Finally, of course, I didn't smoke. First the first time I feel proud. I made it. Even with that glass of wine with dinner, I made it. Whew...feels good.

Thanks for being there and listening.


Tracee said...

Congradulations Susie - I knew you could do it!

I knew the pride would eventually find you too.

Scott Singleton said...


Love your writing style, insights, and creativity with words...

This insight on coping is right on the money in my book and what is being attempted here is really a complete lifestyle change. And at the heart of it is using cigarrates as an avoidance strategy.

great insight...I take alot from it.

I'll stick with ya through my quit..k



Tracee said...

Thanks kindly Scott.

I'm glad you're quitting smoking! And I think you're more likely to stay quit because you recognize it's a change of lifestyle.