Staying calm during a storm

Staying calm during a storm

As fun as the word “holiday” might sound, it brings with it a huge list of responsibilities to add to your woes. But if you somehow manage to stop and smell the roses in all that hustle, you might just find that moment of peace, reckons Reethika Azariah Kuruvilla.

To find that one moment of peace is sometimes akin to winning that ever elusive lottery. It is being able to spot the fun your children are having as they paint your kitchen table with soap from the hand-wash liquid that miraculously finishes by the hour every time a new one is opened. It is being able to look out your car window in a traffic jam and watch a lovely sunset.

It is finding that one clean spoon to stir your tea when all your dinner plates are left unwashed in the sink. It is taking time to smell the roses when you’re running late and have no time to open the gate, let alone close it behind you. It is having your house filled with guests and enjoying the noise and laughter instead of worrying about how you’re going to organize seating for the next meal. It’s that moment of calm and peace during a storm.

It is the season to be jolly. It’s always a priority to begin the holiday season on a happy note and end on a peaceful one. It’s certainly not unusual to feel like a Miss Universe contestant whose only dream in life is world peace. Easier said than done.

 Guest rooms need to be spruced up and gifts need to be bought. Old Christmas decorations need to be unpacked, end of term parent-teacher meetings need to be attended and report cards signed, holiday menus need to be planned and the idea of stocking up on energy drinks under your bed might not seem like a bad idea after all. Leave applications need to get approved if you’ve been procrastinating applying for a few days off.

Worse still, if you do plan to go out of town for a while, houses need to be shut down and bills need to be paid, suitcases need to be packed and first-aid kits organized as well as finding things to keep toddlers occupied on long haul flights. Chaos during the holidays is normal to say the least.

And although ‘normal’ can tend to get boring, sometimes in the midst of all that chaos is that one moment of absolute peace and unadulterated bliss.

Make lists

n Make lists of everything, from daily menus to grocery lists for a week at a time so you don’t end up running out to buy another dozen eggs for breakfast every morning.

n Stick reminders on the calendar about where you’re going for the rest of the month so you don’t miss appointments because you’ve promised to be at three places on the same morning. 

n Set reminders on your phone about guests who need to be picked up or phone calls that need to be made.

n List out all the people you need to wish for the holiday season instead of the odd general “Happy Holidays, everyone!” status update on a social networking site.

Smile please

n Let a smile light up your face at least twice a day – force yourself to smile, even when it feels like things are getting you down. There’s a line I read somewhere about how ‘you may not be able to contain the wind, but you can most certainly adjust your sails.’ 

n When it feels like you just cannot possibly stand for a minute longer, sit down and take a break and let somebody else make that cup of tea.

n Smile, and think of your Sunday morning coffee and newspaper, when you feel like if your computer will blow up in your face if you are asked to submit another report at the end of the day.

n Keep your sense of humour intact, especially when it seems like every other person and their best friend seems to want to test their sarcasm skills on you all day.

n Smile not just because you have to, but because you have a happy tune playing in your head all morning.

Go with the flow

n Try not to get too frustrated when things don’t work out as planned or organised during the holidays. Because this, from experience, leads to nothing but complete and utter exhaustion.

n It’s okay to not have control over everything that happens around you and let everybody, including you, enjoy days of doing absolutely nothing.  Feel good about all that you have managed to achieve and appreciate the good, bad and the ugly of all that life has to offer.

n Enjoy the fact that your family still feels comfortable enough to make fun of your cooking and congratulate yourself on actually managing to produce three square meals a day to feed them. 

n Don’t feel the unnecessary need to please the planet and take a deep breath and ask yourself if what you’re doing next really needs to be done or not. Prioritize.

Although known more for his George of the Jungle act or the unforgettable ‘Mummy’ movies, Brendan Fraser did seem like he knew what he was talking about when he said “As most people go, I wish for world peace - but chaos has a place in balancing out the light and the dark in the world.” 

Everything changes, and nothing really lasts forever. Peace is more fragile than anything else known to man and is most certainly never permanent.

Enjoy your moment in the sun while it lasts. Learn to ride those waves of chaos as best as you can and you’ll suddenly find yourself standing on the surfboard with the wind in your hair!

And amazingly, all those moments of paddling the shallow waters will be long forgotten... Here’s to a peaceful holiday season!

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