According to the holiday songs that are playing everywhere this is supposed to be “the most wonderful time of the year” but right now it sure doesn’t feel that way.
The warm temperatures and smoky air aren’t helping me get in the holiday spirit – a wildfire haze in 80 degree temperatures just isn’t the same as the scent of smoke drifting from chimneys on a chilly evening – and neither are the lingering colds Don and I are battling….but it is more than that.
I have an overwhelming to do list and too many holiday events with too little downtime for an introvert like me. Add in an upcoming three day visit from my father and stepmother (and an obligatory holiday event with my stepmother’s family) that will be uncomfortable for a variety of reasons having to do with my father’s longstanding antisocial personality tendencies and the obligation to socialize with step-relatives that we see only once a year and with whom we have fundamental political and religious differences, and the result is a season that is more about stress and exhaustion than enjoyment.
I’m also realizing how much my regular lap swimming contributes to my emotional and mental well-being. The pool at the gym is closed for maintenance and I have had to rely on other forms of exercise for the past few days. I’ve been using the elliptical machine and exercise bike, but the noisy environment and proximity to other people mean that while my body is getting physical exercise, my mind is not getting the benefit of the solitude of swimming or the meditative effect of counting out the laps, which serves as a kind of mantra.
The result is that I am sleeping even worse than I usually do, am more critical and short-tempered with Don, and holiday tasks like writing our annual card that usually bring me joy have just felt like a chore. I fell like the Grinch!
The pool reopens next week, and I can’t wait! In the meantime I am trying to wrap up all of my holiday tasks so I can rest and relax in the remaining week before Christmas.