Happy Holidays, no matter what event you celebrate at the end of the year: Hannukah, Solstice, Kwanza, St Nicolas, King’s Day, New Years. As the year wanes, people all over the world take time to look back and gather with family and friends to commemorate the end of another year.

Have you ever noticed that with the carefullest of preparation and attention, things don’t go quite as planned? The dinner isn’t done on time, guests fail to appear (for the best of reasons, of course), the presents don’t arrive in the mail, the weather turns bad, or the children get sick. Isn’t this a continuation of what has happened this year? You probably are familiar with the Yiddish proverb, “Make plans. God Laughs.”

If you have been having a challenging season, you are not alone. Most of the people I know have been having difficulties completing projects, scheduling events, getting over illnesses, or in general been stymied in having things flowing easily.

I reported in a previous newsletter how well my house sale and move were going. Well…then the house sale fell apart, I couldn’t purchase the house I had my heart set on, and I ended up with a truck full of my worldly goods homeless in another state! Oh my!

I recovered and with help, I am now living with friends while the house is still on the market. I then went back to California to pick up the remainder of the household goods and ran into a disaster. A branch had poked a hole in my roof during the recent storm and there was water in the house. Oh my!

I’m not the only one running into the unexpected. Two friends contracted Covid, another the flu,  in the midst of progressing with tasks and plans. Another friend has revised her calendar almost daily because happenings keeping affecting her best laid plans. Oh my!

My friends and I didn’t give up and hide under the covers until next year. We faced the issues and looked for solutions (like resting and recovering from illness) and moving forward with flexible plans.

Sound familiar? Most of us have expectations that the Holidays will be happy and carefree. Rarely, does this happen. Holidays are times of stress with decorating, shopping, cooking, and entertaining along with our everyday jobs and responsibilities.  Winter is the season of colds and flu, not to mention Covid now. It is often a time where the sick or elderly transition.

Here are some tips to help with the Holiday Blues and Disasters:

  1. Keep your sense of humor. It’s OK to cry first, then as God laughs at our plans, we can too.
  2. Make plans for adjustments. If you have an alternate plan, you can relax.
  3. Lessen expectations, particularly of yourself. Don’t plan to do everything alone or cram all events in a short period of time.
  4. Find short-term answers to unexpected occurrences. For example, I got a roofer out the next day to patch the roof while I collected estimates to fix it.
  5. Be open to receiving help and support. When plan go awry, family and friends are often willing and able to supply us with answers, soup when sick, rides, or simply a sympathetic ear.

Although disrupted plans can be stressful and inconvenient, we can manage to salvage most setbacks gracefully if we truly understand that we are loved and supported by the Universe. Perhaps our plans needed to be adjusted so something better could appear. What benefit di you derive from the unexpected? A friend who got Covid said the gift was knowing she didn’t have to put so much pressure on herself to complete the work at her self-imposed deadline.

Remember, if the cat knocks over your Christmas tree, consider it an opportunity to decorate it twice.

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