Don’t Let Illness Ruin Your Holidays

Good morning! I hope your day is off to a great start.

I’m trying to re-learn the art of breathing. The guy who almost never gets sick stumbled into a pile of germs somewhere, and they’ve taken up residence deep in my chest. I guess it’s time to see somebody better trained to deal with this. Too bad the liquor store won’t open for several more hours. They’ve got lots of experts in there.

I normally don’t get sick, so I can’t really complain when something like this catches me off-guard. I take the best vitamins you can buy, and normally when everyone else is in bed all day, I get by unscathed. Like anything else, you get what you pay for. I figure what I spend on vitamins in six months is less money than it would cost me to miss a single day of work. Food for thought.

But when something like this slips through, I’m a big baby. I didn’t know that until my wife informed me in no uncertain terms. And I guess she’s right. When you’re used to being sick, being a little sicker is no big deal. But when it only happens once every couple of years, it’s like slamming the car door on your middle finger. Trust me, the first aid for that one can get you in a bit of trouble. Hi boss!

This is a time of year when lots of people battle just about every imaginable kind of illness. And if you dare to see your doctor, the first thing they do is make you put on a surgical mask. Brilliant! I’m here because I can’t breathe, so let’s make it even harder. How about saving those masks for the people who are healthy and have the most to lose instead of trapping all the germs against my face?

And one more question while we’re at it. When did doctors decide it was a bright idea to stick a light in your ear and then immediately put the same light up your nose? Is this a prank they dreamed up at a frat party? “Hey Fred, watch this! Bet I can make him sneeze!” I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather have snot in my ears than ear wax in my nose. I’m just saying.

I’m trying to maintain a sense of humor about this. That’s how I approach most of life. Not all – just ask my wife. She can provide a pretty comprehensive list. But I try to look at things from a lighter perspective. It served me well when I stood on a stage in front of complete strangers who paid me to make them laugh. And it serves me well when my lungs are disintegrating from the inside.

For those who work where I do, a word of warning – I don’t waste my paid time off to save all of you from breathing the air I just exhaled. I’ve never been one to stay home sick unless I just can’t get up. Halfway through the day, the TV changes to shows I’ve never seen. If you don’t feel bad already, watch a little “daytime TV.” As the Stomach Turns, Mates of Our Wives … don’t get me started.

Okay, in fairness, nobody really sits close enough to me to make a difference. Every time they’ve put somebody next to me, they’re gone within two weeks. I’m starting to think maybe it’s me. But I’ve found that I recover faster if I just plow through instead of lying around in pajamas with a dozen used tissues in my lap. And the vitamins I take play a pretty big role in that. I may get sick, but not for long.

I hope you’ve made it through the season so far without illness, and if you have, I hope your luck holds out. There’s never a good time of year to be sick, but nobody wants to be sick through the holidays. Treat your body right when you’re not sick, and it’ll treat you a little nicer when you are. Meanwhile, enjoy the season and keep those germs to yourself.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Don’t Mess With Stress!

Good morning, and happy Friday! I hope your day is starting off just right.

For those who asked, my daughter went home from the hospital yesterday. There are issues that will require follow-up, but she dodged the bullet this time. Then, yesterday afternoon while chasing my grandson through the back yard, my wife tripped and her face and right shoulder took the full brunt of the fall. Two hospitals in two days. I seriously hope we’re done for the year.

This time of year, I don’t ask anybody what they’ve got planned for the weekend because I know. Most of us will be shopping. And it’ll be that way for the rest of the month. It’s a happy time, as we pick up gifts and imagine the look on the recipient’s face when they open it. Giving does bring joy.

But along with the joy of shopping comes the stress. Finding a parking spot, finding an empty shelf where you were hoping to pick up that special gift, and realizing the whole time that your budget has been ripped to shreds. Those little gifts for the neighbors, the stocking stuffers, extra eggnog for the party … all of those things add up and before it’s all over, you’ve spent a small fortune. It happens.

Stress takes away from our enjoyment of the holidays and, left unchecked, it can lead you into a deep depression. It wreaks havoc on your physical and emotional health. And, the thing we don’t really think about is that stress doesn’t care about your emotional state – it can happen when you’re excited or … well, stressed. Any big change from the ordinary, good or bad, is a source of stress.

Don’t believe me? Hang around a couple as their wedding day approaches. It’s probably the happiest day of their lives, and all the planning is geared toward making sure it’s absolutely perfect. The dress, the venue, the food, the flowers, the color choices, the guest list, the limousine, where to seat Uncle Fred so he isn’t too close to the bar. Is it any wonder newlyweds need to get away for a few days?

And, whether you’ll admit it or not, none of us handles stress very well. Nobody. I love it when somebody says, “I thrive on stress!” No, you don’t. You just take it out on everybody around you. You bury yourself in your work and forget that life exists outside of work. You imagine yourself the hero, but you’re really just wearing yourself down. And sooner or later, we all have to pay the piper.

Stress is like a rattlesnake, just waiting for the opportunity to strike. And when it does, the effects can be just about as devastating. But unlike a rattlesnake, stress doesn’t give you any warning that you’re about to have a really bad day. It just sneaks up until the opportunity is right, and leaves you wondering what happened.

As you go through the holidays, pay attention to the signs of stress. It’s easy to spot the bad kind. Impatience, a short fuse, exhaustion, and despair, are all signs of stress. Do you find yourself going through the entire day without eating? Stress. Are you driving just a little faster than normal? Stress. Are you working harder to get those projects done so you can take a little time off? Stress.

It’s impossible to avoid stress at any point through the year, but especially during the holidays. The key is recognizing it and doing something about it. Allow yourself a little extra time. Get up a little earlier and start the day a little slower. Drive in the slow lane and let the hotheads race around. Eat lunch with a friend. Turn off the news and turn on your favorite holiday show. Relax. Breathe.

Stress will always be there, to some extent. We can’t eliminate it completely, but we don’t have to add to it unnecessarily. No matter what you’re doing, find something to enjoy. Make time to do the things you like to do. Have a drink. Light a candle. Read a book. Share stories. Look through old photos. It won’t eliminate stress completely, but you’ll have a lot more strength for the next round.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved