Holiday Stress Relief Tips from a “Year 2” Law Student

I’m so pumped to share this guest blog with you!  My friend, and college-roommate, Margaux is one of the funniest people I’ve ever met.  She sends me hilarious blog-like emails about the trials (no pun intended) and tribulations of law school in the mountains, where she’s studying Environmental Law so she can save Mama Earth.  When she told me she was writing a guest blog about handling stress over the holidays, I was already laughing. Her tips are not only fantastic, but they’re seriously helpful! Enjoy!

Holiday Stress Relief Tips:

I’m two weeks out from the halfway point of law school—in the past year and a half, I’ve learned a thing or two about stress.

The holiday season can be a serious stressor, but no worries,  I’ve compiled a handy list of the top 5 ways to survive the holiday season (and battle stress in general)

1. Go Outside

  • Studies have shown that being outdoors can significantly reduce your stress level. Yes, its winter and not everyone gets down with winter snow sports, but even a little walk can do wonders! Dress warmly and slooooow down your sprint from the car to the office/mall/whatever. Why run for a windowless space filled with recycled air, and more than likely someone else’s cold germs, any faster than necessary. Add walking to get morning coffee into your routine (preferably with your own reusable cup.) The fresh air works magic.

2. Approach the mall like battle. These resource intensive behemoths require strategy, snacks and a steady, ready supply of water.

  • Have a plan of attack. Go in teams. Divide and conquer.
  • BRING WATER. Mall dry mouth sneaks up on you and NO ONE wants to take on the smoothie line.
  • Bring snacks. The view as one enters that dark hole at the center of the mall, known at the Food Court, is like simultaneously standing at the precipice to Hell and looking into and angry zoo. Just stay out!  Exhibit A. The half-eaten granola bar I found in my purse around hour 5 of Black Friday shopping was the only saving grace that kept my mother and I from wreaking havoc and bludgeoning every person in the Yankee Candle line.  Respect your arteries and don’t underestimate the power of low blood sugar.

3. Begin the day with Yoga

  • Before taking on a healthy Christmas season breakfast of cookies & coffee, take a minute in the morning to get centered. Itunes has tons of (short) podcasts you can download for free. Even if you’re not a morning person, I’ve seen podcasts for yoga that can be done in bed or just roll to the floor. Ten minutes of calmly centering yourself in the morning can do wonders for your attitude throughout the day.

4. Don’t be afraid to day drink.

  • Day drinking is like investing in ear plugs, Valium and patience all at the same time. Maybe this is just my Eastern European ways talking, or the fact that last Christmas my Sister and Grandfather went shot for shot, but really, it’s a mood changer! Don’t let studies, or society, tell you that you need to wait until the evening to enjoy a nice red wine (preferably served inconspicuously in a Holiday mug) or frosty brew. It’s the holidays, and to quote one Clark W. Griswold, “Nobody’s leaving. Nobody’s walking out on this fun, old-fashioned family Christmas. No, no. We’re all in this together….We’re gonna press on, and we’re gonna have the hap, hap, happiest Christmas since Bing Crosby tap-danced with Danny f***ing Kaye.” So when your trapped in the kitchen and sandwiched between that crazy Aunt over-sharing about her personal issues, and your Grandmother continuing to ask about your uneventful love life with “you know your sister is engaged” (No, Gram, everyday I miss that rock – thanks for keeping me posted) while somewhere off in the distance is the soft rumble of the gentlemen of your family swearing at each other, the house, and every Christmas light that won’t light up, just remember, it’s the holidays…. there is an endless supply of booze.
                          Clark W. Griswold

5.  Embrace the late night

  • There are a few moments every Christmas season when the elders have left basecamp for their respective dwellings, the rest of the house has finally conked out and the only thing left is quiet and a glowing tree.  Keep the tree on, find a TV Christmas movie, and RELAX for a minute. This peaceful moment of solitude will tide you over until the next morning when chaos ensues again.

Thanks for writing Margaux – please post again soon!  Do you all have any hilarious Christmas stories?  Please share in a comment!

XO Stephanie


3 responses

  1. Dear Margaux,

    The stress levels are rapidly climbing to extreme heights…I am trying to follow your plan…I hobble slowly to my car after a LONG day of crushing work…You know, I am getting older and the arthritis flares but those little f####### elves bash into my knees trying to fill Santa”s list while I’m at the mall. I forgot the water…I had to elbow another woman to get out of line before I passed out from dehydration! I have tried the yoga….An elderly gentleman helped me unceremoniously pull my leg from behind my derriere and he also helped with the cramp I had in my arms from the “downward dog” (now I understand what the means!) position! You will be happy to know that I have secretly indulged in “day drinking”!!! There are several bottles of “apple cider” in the garage. I fill a large glass and everyone thinks I am celebrating late autumn/early winter with a glass of refreshing cider. Hee hee hee! Its been fermenting in there….Someone has to taste it for quality assurance don’t they? For some reason, the corks are continuously popping from the cider bottles! I have been trying to embrace the late nights….I don’t know! I have the cider, take a shower and before I realize it, I am passed out snoring and drooling! What can I do to improve the quality of my holidays?

  2. Hahaha the only thing I can think is “like mother like daughter!” So funny. Especially the cider! Can you please provide a recipe for your garage drink? I have zero advice on to how to improve the quality of your holidays. I’d suggest more cider.

  3. Thank you for your kind reply. I am sampling the “cider” as we speak! Yum…cinnamon! I think it may be 90 proof! It is a very good thing I don’t smoke because I think Santa would need to alert the fire department!! The grinch made the cider; the recipe is from “Mother Earth News (what a coincidence!) Make your own hard cider”: “Best is made from sweet apple cider fresh from the cider mill” Since they are difficult to locate in Pgh, I suggest you go to Sorgel’s and get preservative free cider. The recipe is verbose so I suggest you google it so that you, too, may have popping corks in your garage! The frinch’s recipe ( I’m drinking cider) has amazingly produced a lovely high quality moonshine with a bit of effervescence to it! If the winds are blowing from the proper direction, please stop by (leave the bas**** elves at the mall) and sample some of this “cider”. We are open for business any weekend!
    Please tell Margaux that Mrs Claus has inquired about her and invites her also to sample the “cider”.
    Mama V

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