Day 454, How Do You Cope from Thanksgiving to New Year’s?

Thanksgiving to New Year’s can be a stressful time.  The stress can be compounded with grief as we mourn the loss of people who were there for us on previous holidays.  Take a walk through a few days of this journey for hidden tips on combating holiday stress.
 
“It’s not the load that breaks you down.  It’s the way you carry it.” — Lou Holtz
 
Preparing For My Day
 
5-10 things I am grateful for:
  1. my home office desk
  2. the Bible
  3. resuming my weight loss
  4. all the clothing Jacque has given me
  5. my mindmaps
 
comments, feelings, ideas, moods, and empowering questions:
Stillness is the key.  Check out my stoic diary for November.
 
 
0-100
comments
mood:
85
I feel happy–good enough
energy:
85
I feel energized
 
accomplishments:
 
accomplishment
the reason it is important
next action(s)
1.
I lost to 52.3 kg, approximately 2/3 of my goal.  The chart below shows the entire journey from Day One.  Check out my Google Sheets chart: Earnings Per Notch.
Lose 15 pounds without sacrificing mood or energy.
Continue with intermittent, 15-hour fasting.  Eat 1/4 budgeted calories four times daily.  Target 60% fat, 23% carbohydrate, 17% protein; less than 55 grams total sugars; no added sugar; at least 30 grams of fiber; and at least 3500 mg potassium each day.
2.
I visited Jacque at the retirement complex this week.
Friendship.
Think of something to do for her.
3.
I ate homegrown alfalfa sprouts, home-cooked brown rice, and homemade nut bread, split pea soup, and green drink recently.
Food preparation skills.
Keep preparing foods that support your diet.
4.
I made many marvelous mindmaps to make my journey more pleasant.
Guides.
Keep making and using mindmaps to reach your goals.
 

Saturday Morning

 
Clearing memory on the computer, I look forward to the remainder of my morning.  My husband enjoyed the leftovers of split pea soup for breakfast.  Instead, I ate my blueberry, walnut, coconut, chocolate dish.  Instacart shopping will replenish our walnut supply from Costco.
 
I placed the Instacart order!  
 

Tuesday Morning

 

Gratitude

 
What gratitude I feel!  My husband has stopped drinking, and we have a warm condo.  Only half a mile away is the library.  At Vitality, I am getting expert chiropractic care.  We have food filling our fridge, freezer, cupboards, and counter.  Nearby, lives my husband’s son and his family.  My brother lives in Pueblo.   Enjoying vitality and capability, I am blessed!   Even though it is snowing, we have a physical therapist coming today for my husband.
 
Meditation
In everything, there is an opportunity to express gratitude!   I am grateful for my five-minute recorded meditation, which gives me a conscious breathing practice, an anxiety-reducing visualization, a relaxing body scan, and success tips.
 
Bible Verses
I am grateful for my mindmap, featuring seven blessings I have asked from God:
 
1) vibrant joy, 2) the strength of mind, 3) lasting eyesight, 4) a healthy body, 5) a healthy weight, 6) abundance, and 7) wisdom.
 
Weight Loss
Perhaps most of all, I am grateful for my recent weight loss progress.  In the past eight weeks, I have lost 2.7 kg with 2.3 kg more to reach my goal.  The coming holidays could present a challenge.  However, I am determined to continue my progress.  First of all, no sugar.  Eating fruit is okay in moderate amounts.  My daily 15-hour fast is crucial.  When I stop doing that, my weight goes back up again.  Fasting is not easy to do.  However, it is possible.   A habit I have established over the past two months, keeping a Cronometer diary, is also.
 
Cronometer is more effective with JV Life Tracker.  JV Life Tracker allows me to select aspects of Cronometer to inspect.  I check the nutrient balances, the ratio of protein to carbohydrate and fiber to sugars, the amount of potassium, whether the calories are within budget, and if not, are they within 15 or 30?   I inspect two nutrition charts in Trends, All Days since June 22, 2019, and since September 22, 2019.  I set the first point when I focused on doing Cronometer every day.  Since the second point, I have completed it fully 100% of the time.
 
I update two Progress records in The Journal, one for each report.   One shows steady improvement, and the other shows 100% every time.  Using both metrics is motivating.  The first indicates improvement, the second perfection.
 

Tuesday Evening

 
Today was a Denver-area snow day.  My husband’s physical therapist called to say she had changed her mind about coming.  We turned on the heat after leaving it off for weeks.
 
 
Notice that my calorie budget is only 1540 calories.  Cronometer automatically lowers it as I lose weight.   I had two Vitamix drinks.  Some weight loss programs forbid smoothies, which, however, work for me.  One guideline is not to add as much fruit as required by many recipes.   My sugars for the day were somewhat low at 46.2 grams.  My fructose intake was 17.9 grams, which is less than the suggested maximum of 25 grams.
 
If you are following an Atkins, ketogenic, or low-carb diet plan, the diet will probably fulfill these guidelines automatically.  If you have opted for more carbohydrates, pay close attention to sugars.
 

Joy

 
Today, I read Ingrid Lee’s Joyful.  Ingrid has traveled extensively to interview people and experience joyful situations.
 
Tonight, my husband wants to drink again.  He will not let me talk him out of it.  I am not feeling that joyful.  Without the right support, he will always drink again.  Getting him to AA is hard for me because it involves a lot of driving and pushing him in his transport chair.  Let me think of other things.  I reminded him of how sick he was.  He does not seem to care.
 
I can show strength in adhering to my diet and 15-hour fasts.
 

Thursday Morning – Thanksgiving Day

 
Today I weighed in at 52.1 kg, so I am less than 115 pounds.  I am so grateful.  I am losing about one kilo a month; I will continue doing what I am doing, and soon after the start of the year, I will reach my goal.  Then, of course, is keeping it off, which is sometimes harder to do than losing it in the first place.
 
I have planned an easy-going Thanksgiving.  Today, I plan to prevent a weight gain of one kilo or more, which is possible for Thanksgiving.  However, I am planning a pumpkin treat for this evening, even though it is not the traditional pie.
 
Jacque called and wished me a ‘Happy Thanksgiving.’  My step-son also phoned and said he would be here in 15 minutes.
 
Thursday Evening
 
What a celebration it has been!  I read more of Ingrid’s Joyful.  Her language is incredibly descriptive.  What can I do to incorporate her ideas into my life?  Festively, I decorated the table with my handmade table runner and added the grandchildren’s art as decorative accents.  We had Knutson’s Organic Just Cranberry cranberry juice.  I put on some classical Christmas music.
 
Tonight, I made a thick, pumpkin shake Vitamixed with whey protein powder, ground-up ice, oatmeal, almond and coconut milk, vanilla powder, and ground cloves and cinnamon.
 

Feelings

 
Something is missing from all of this, however.  My husband had me order some white wine yesterday, which will be delivered tomorrow.  He insists on returning to his drinking.  We just got him released from the hospital from the side effects of alcohol withdrawal.  He is hardly able to walk.
 
My step-son said he was living in the moment.  He felt comfortable bringing his three-year-old daughter with him today.  She presented us with her handmade poster of a turkey, which I hung on the wall.  Yes, today was okay.  Though I wish I could change my husband’s decision, I will make the most of my remaining time with him.
 
So cheer up, KaeLyn.  Do not be cast down.
 
It is approaching bedtime.  My husband and I talked tonight about how we had enough today without eating piles of extra food that we cannot even put away in a day.  We have enough in everything, and for that, we can be grateful.  
 
I mentioned how my grandmother and step-grandfather had a dishwasher, which they used for keeping their grocery bags.  It was important for their marriage to do the dishes together each day by hand.  They did not even need their dishwasher.
 

Saturday Morning

 
My MindMeister maps are not coming up.  I contacted the company.  However, I think they were all asleep.  Hopefully, they will resolve the problem soon.  In the meantime, I am summoning my inner resilience.
 
My weight went up the day after Thanksgiving, even though I carefully watched my food intake.  However, it did not go up as much as it typically does for Thanksgiving, which is about a kilo.  It usually takes until about Christmas to take off that weight, and then I gain even more.  This year is different.
 
Let me think of ways to celebrate the holidays that do not involve an excess of food.   I can start with music on iTunes, and I could decorate the condo.  Most of my Christmas decorations are in my storage unit, buried in moving boxes.  However, I can buy new things.
 
I am listening to “Breath of Heaven” by Gladys Knight.  Right now, I do not have access to the Bible verses I have in my mindmaps.
 
“Silent Night” is playing and now others.  I could get the Bible or use YouVersion.com.  There are so many Bible study options.  I still feel a profound sadness that my mindmaps are not accessible.  Yesterday, I started feeling depressed.  Perhaps I have a cognitive distortion.  Let me do my cognitive distortion exercise.
 
 
1.
All-or-nothing thinking
I may still think I should have roasted a whole turkey rather than eating Marie Callendar’s Roasted Turkey Breast & Stuffing.  My husband was perfectly happy with what I chose to do.
2.
Overgeneralization
I am still feeling down that my husband chose to drink again yesterday.  I could be over-generalizing about what is going to ensue.
3.
Mental filter
All the holidays with Dad form a mental filter over my thoughts.  He passed away on November 28, 2018, exactly one year before Thanksgiving Day.
4.
Discounting the positive
I have a cozy home, a loving husband, and my husband’s son came over on Thanksgiving with his three-year-old daughter with artwork to hang up and flowers.  Let me not discount that positive.
5.
Jumping to conclusions
a.  Mind-reading
b.  Fortune-telling
I am worried that my husband will not sign for our family’s trust.  However, that is fortune-telling, and I can read the documents myself.
6.
Magnification
I may be magnifying the impact of losing my mindmaps.  The company may resolve the problem soon.
7.
Emotional reasoning
I may be reasoning that because I have a tightness in my jaw that I am depressed.  However, the two things could be unrelated.
8.
Should statements
I can imagine a plethora of ‘shoulds’ for the holidays.
9.
Labeling
Fortunately, I am not doing this cognitive distortion.
10.
Personalization or blame
I could blame myself for my husband’s drinking, but that would be personalization.  I am not responsible.
 
 
Holiday sadness and depression are serious problems.  This year, I will not succumb without a struggle.  I just talked to my husband about getting involved in an organization.  He thought I had an ample network right here in the building.  I suspect he is afraid we will be separated more than he likes.  I want to be considerate of his wishes.  However, it probably does not adequately support me to be so isolated.
 
Al-Anon is foremost in my choices.  However, my husband may try to prevent me from going.  I have tried before, but that did not work out.  I have not knowingly done anything against my husband’s wishes.  Perhaps that is a weak approach.  However, I prefer to be at peace.
 
The meeting’s location is only 1.2 miles away by foot, 1.6-miles driving.  I could wait until the weather gets good enough to support an enjoyable walk.  By then, maybe I can convince my husband that going to Al-Anon is the best thing for me to do.  If he sees that I am resolute, he may relent.
 
Let me think that over.  As a gift, my husband gave me “How Al-Anon Works” before we got married.  I read it completely.  When I first came to Colorado, I planned to attend Al-Anon.  I found the location of the meeting.   However, I was still unsure of my navigation abilities in the area.  I am much less likely to get lost now.
 
Wow!  I just solved the problem with my mindmaps by clearing the Chrome browsing cache and image data.  Life is normal again.  I also perused more of the estate documents.  I am nearly done.
 

Sunday Evening

 

Looking Back

 
I listened to Joel Osteen’s sermon tonight.  It was about being kind to those who have done us wrong.  He encouraged us to let God balance the books for us.  He said if we are merciful to someone who wronged us, we are showing God that He can trust us.
 
I got up at 5:05 AM this morning.  Now, I am tired.  However, upon awakening this morning, I was joyous about finding a fix for my mindmaps the night before.  As you may know from reading previous entries of this blog,  I love mind-mapping and feared my links would lead my readers into a blind alley.  Those fears were unfounded.  I informed MindMeister so they would be aware that when the cache is too full, their product does not work.
 

Looking Ahead

 
Let me look ahead to the first week in December.  Tomorrow, I have a chiropractic appointment.  My husband has three therapy appointments.  I have resumed the chiropractic exercises of Achieve 50 kg.  I had stopped doing them when my knee was injured.  I need to schedule a doctor’s appointment for my husband and take back two library books.  (I have read 28 books so far this year.)
 
This week, I want to advance our work with the estate.  I have perused all the legal documents about it.  That will depend partially on my husband and step-son.
 
I want to continue my habit of listening to a five-minute meditation each morning.  That may help keep my stress response at bay.  Ditto for fasting 15 hours each day. This Intermittent Fasting chart shows my progress.
 
I need to get the mail and email and process it.  That can take hours.  I try to be as efficient as possible.  Soon, I want to work on JV Life Tracker, so it will work on an upgraded Google platform.
 
My mood has been a little flat since Thanksgiving.  Rooting out cognitive distortions helped.  However, I am vulnerable right now.  What can I do to brighten my mood?  I could be suffering from a lack of daylight.  For years, I had a Daylight lamp.  However, I donated it to a rehab center.  I do not want to feel guilty for not getting out more.  However, some sunlight would do me some good.  I could listen to more music.  However, with my hyperacusis, my ears are sensitive, so I cannot tolerate a lot of music.
 

Downers

 
There are many possible excuses for being down.  I miss my father.  My husband has resumed his drinking; he is making it hard to finish the estate work.   When my mood starts to slide, it gets harder to do the housework, and I get depressed about that.  I pushed through today, though, and did a reasonable job in the kitchen.
 
So far, I am doing okay.  I just feel down.  Nothing will bring my father back.  All I can do is celebrate his life.  He was an exemplary person, Christlike, easy-to-love, helpful, stable, service-oriented, capable of doing almost anything, meek, gentle, knowledgeable, well-traveled, loving, loyal to his wife–in my mind perfect.
 
My husband loves how his wine makes him feel.  Even though his balance is gone, he is often coughing, and sometimes he vomits violently.  When he sobers, he does not regain his abilities in full.  Perhaps that discourages him.  For my sanity, I must allow him to be as he is and find joy in his gentle personality.
 
My counselors in Utah introduced the concept of radical acceptance.  Once we accept the fact that life is hard, it becomes a little easier.  Death and drinking are very dreary to deal with.  However, my mindmaps are back.  That is a bright spot in my life.
 
Let me think of more bright spots.  My husband and I love each other.  We have a great place to live.
 
Monday Morning
 
How do you cope with weight issues, seasonal mood drops, and family challenges from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day?  I do not have all the solutions listed 1-2-3.  However, there are clues throughout this entry.  I have some ideas of what to do that are not fully implemented yet, like going to Al-Anon.  Even though I worked hard not to gain weight for Thanksgiving, I still did.  I let problems with my mindmaps upset me; I overate on Saturday.    Though I am well-intentioned, I still fall prey to my moods.  However, I have some coping skills.  I congratulate myself for doing as well as I am.
 

Prayer

 
 
MORNING Prayer
 
Dear Lord,
 
Thanksgiving was a rewarding and challenging holiday for me this year.  I am struggling with mood issues and physical pain.  You suggested an herb my doctor prescribed years ago for headaches:  butterbur.   It seems to be relieving the tension in my jaw area somewhat.  It may work better after I take it for a while.
 
Lord, I probably need to attend Al-Anon.  However, I am concerned about the time away from my husband.  He may not be in agreement about my going.  I talked to him about it, and he thought I could get what I need from my network in the building.  Will you give me wisdom about what to do?
 
Also, Lord, will you give me joy?  Since Thanksgiving, I have not felt the bursts of pleasant feelings I felt earlier.  Am I doing something wrong?  Is there a cognitive distortion in my thinking I have not rooted out?
Is it grief over the loss of Dad?  Perhaps, I am grieving over my sister.
Why now?  Why has this not affected me much before?
 
Grief and depression feel so much alike.  I just took some SAMe, which has been helping me the past several months.
 
I baked some nut bread this morning; I do not typically do that when depressed, so perhaps this low mood is simply physical pain from my jaw.
 
Lord, you said, “Ask, and it will be given to you.”  Is it the same thing I ask for, or could it be something else?  You also said, “believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”  How can I feel sure before the manifestation of receiving?  That is the key to faith, is it not?  Give me confidence that the joy and wisdom I seek are there.
 
Bless my readers with confidence also that they will receive what they seek.
 
Amen.
 
If you would like to join me on this journey from the beginning, please start with Day One.
 
 
 

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