This holiday season has been stressful.

And I know, I know, apparently the holidays are stressful for everyone (actually- I don’t understand that, but I yield to the possibility that will change with time.) but for my dh and I they have been a time of marked change, and that has required our full attention. Job and church changes and major decisions and possibilities… all while trying to build a marriage and figure out these new roles we find ourselves in. During the holiday season silence I was glad to receive encouragement from several fronts to continue writing. Thank you all for that. I’m not giving this up, but with personal concerns so pressing I chose not to write rather than, through writing, overstep the bounds I’ve set for myself. Though all of those things are still pressing and will be, they are more manageable now.

Which brings me to a subject I’ve been struggling with during all of this:

How do I deal with stress? Or, rather, how should I deal with stress? What is the healthiest way to do it?

Confession (for maybe the first but certainly not the last time): I get overwhelmed very easily. Particularly by the housework to be done. Balancing housework, schoolwork and relationships with husband and friends is much  harder that it appears. (That needs to be a warning sticker on those “Better Homes” / “Good housekeeping” magazines, don’t you think?)  I come home and am instantly struck that there are a hundred “little” things that need doing. And that my chances of doing those, doing my readings and essays and keeping the dog alive…. I may try to get “one or two” of the “little” things done, but often am confused as to how to make it happen or am frustrated that it makes a much smaller dent than I intended. Or it doesn’t get as completely resolved as I would like, so I don’t recognize it as a true accomplishment.

Confession 2: That feeling of frustration often comes out as a temper. (I.E. Not the healthy response. I know.)

How do I cope? Well, I don’t necessarily recommend any of this, but getting something done all the way does wonderful things for one’s sanity. (This is, essentially, the idea behind FLY Lady. Good resource. Very encouraging. Still working on getting that Day 1 concept.) I’m also learning to not punish myself for imperfection. I am not a failure for having a cluttered house. (Am I a failure if it stays that way and is not resolved really soon? Trying to convince myself the answer is “no”.)

For now? My goal is to de-clutter. Simplify. (Sounds peaceful. Peaceful is the goal. The de-cluttering may be achieved through slash-and-burn techniques… But I’m determined it will happen.)

In the meantime: Wives! Dyslexics! Moms! Anyone who’s listening! How do you keep sane? How do you attack housework? What are healthy coping techniques you have learned? Inquiring young wives want to know!

(P.S. That requires a physical WRITTEN answer. Any tips at all will help sanity be kept!)