Tuesday, November 27, 2012

It’s the Most Wonderful (Busy/Crazy/Insane/Happy/ Stressful) Time of the Year

Eating, shopping, Christmas trees, turkeys, time with family, decorating, parties—it IS a most wonderful time of the year, but you and I both know it’s also a BUSY time of year. Between my full-time job, my part-time job, my kids and their schedules, my husband and his soccer schedule, writing, blogging, . . . well, things are twenty shades of cray cray at the Miller house. Factor in the holidays and yeah, I spend most hours of the day looking and feeling like this guy



November and December are busy, a good busy, and most days I handle the craziness of the season well, but then we have weeks in November where middle school soccer starts up, my husband’s soccer team makes a State Championship run (which they won, btw), and despite all the awesomeness of everything going on, things get just a wee bit overwhelming, I fall into a mild funk, and then I push aside some, um, . . . important things. Ya know—like the roundtable.

Oops.

So, obviously no roundtable this month. And obviously, Alison needs some serious lessons in time management. So, I went to our teens to ask them how they handle busy times of year. With school and activities and jobs, I know that some of our teens are even busier than I am. Do they manage their time well? If and when they get stressed, how do they cope? Does the busyness and stress ever get them down? And how do they deal with that?

Here’s what they had to say…

LISSA: November is probably the most exciting month for me, which I love since I crave busyness. As a general rule, whenever I know that I have a lot on my plate, I try to tackle everything one at a time, in order of what's coming up closest. When I'm stressed, I try to incorporate things I really love into my schedule - i.e., if I'm studying, I'll make a huge One Direction/Ed Sheeran/Taylor Swift/John Mayer playlist (which I'm listening to right now because ohmygodguysIvebecomeahugedirectionerrrrr (Agent A loves this as much as she loves One Direction)) and will listen to that as I work; if I'm buying presents, I'll drag a friend along; if I'm practicing a speech, I'll start talking in weird voices and will start doing crazy dance moves as I rehearse. Which, by the way, reallllllly helps.

LAURA: Whew! I’m a giant stress-ball, but more like the bottle-it-up kind. I’ll self-combust occasionally, especially during the holidays or when people push, but most of the time I keep my head down and blinkers on. It’s not a method I’d encourage, but it’s the only one that works for me.

LEXIE: I handle it as best as I can--one step at a time. I try and get as much done as soon as possible and not put things off until the last minute, even if it's sometimes unavoidable, to dodge unneeded stress. When I start getting really stressed out and overloaded, I try doing something that requires minimal brain power to unwind. It does get to be a little much sometimes, and it will get me down, but I just sort of push on. I handle the craziness as best as I possibly can, and try and remember why I'm doing so many things, why I have so little time--because I love what I'm doing, because what I'm doing is important, etc. I deal with things as they come.

ERICA: I am pretty good at managing my time, but the busyness really gets me stressed, particularly with all my finals and stress that comes at the end of the semester. I'm terrible at coping with stress though. I don't really have any ways to cope and it really does get me down sometimes. That also is something I don't really deal with well so I just kind of push it down and ignore it the best I can until it goes away.

LENNON: I don't handle it. I power through it and then I break. Then I get over and the cycle starts again. For example, I'm not going to finish NaNoWriMo this year, which I hate but I simply can't do it this year. I want to maintain my 4.0 so I can get into a good college so I have homework for high school level and homework for my college classes, I am the stage manager for my year's performance of Antigone, and I'm a house rep this year.

KATIE: One day at a time! Literally! Sadly no... I've been starting to leave things to the last minute. Coping? Watch Doctor Who? :) Yes it's inevitable sadly. I always find that talking it out always helps.

RIV: Everything revolves around caffeine, sugar, and forcing myself to take a deep breath and kill time on Tumblr.

And in the busy craze of the holiday season, it’s sometimes easy to lose sight of what’s important. So since US peeps just celebrated Thanksgiving, I asked our teens to tell us one thing they are truly thankful for.

LAURA: My family. Life wouldn’t be the same without them, even if they do make me angry enough to deny it some days. I’m a walking Second Chance and they make each day worth it.

KATIE: One thing I am truly grateful for is my family! I have no idea where I would be without my mom!

ERICA: I am truly thankful for how blessed I have been this year particularly. I have struggled through a lot of more personal issues this year and without my family and friends, I don't think I would have pulled through the same way.

LENNON: As cheesy as this sounds, I really am thankful for my family and friends. I would be a wreck without them, they mean the world to me. I love them all to death.

RIV: Without getting all cheesy, I'm going to say that I'm thankful for my ability to write. It's such a great way of expressing myself. My stories, and the community connected to them, have helped me through a lot. (I'm also really grateful for Doctor Who. Because without it, I might actually have time to do normal things.)

LEXIE: People who care.

LISSA: I'm really thankful for my family, above everything. The love and support they have for me, and the great laughs and debates I have with them, make my life sososososo complete. I honestly have no idea what I would do without the ones I love -- my love and admiration for them goes beyond words.

It’s also important to take time out for ourselves. Since I know our teens love to read, and with Christmas right around the corner, I asked them: What book tops your Christmas wish list?

RIV: Since you're being evil and making me choose one, I'm going with the John Green (signed) box set. (Agent A reaction: There’s a John Green box set?!)

KATIE: I have such a huge pile of books to read all I want is time to read them!

LISSA: I really want to get to Les Miserables -- my excitement for the movie is like ashlfdshlgksdfhl!

LAURA: Oh, no. I could list about two hundred books! But I have been dying to read Hide and Seek by Sara Shepard all year. Everyone keeps telling me how good it is!

LEXIE: I don't celebrate Christmas, but for my Chanukkah lists, if I'm getting any more presents, the books I'd be sure to request are probably Days of Blood and Starlight and Send Me a Sign.

LENNON: The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory, Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia, The Host by Stephenie Meyer, and Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. The majority of those are books I want to read before the movie adaptions come out.

ERICA: Oh there are so many! My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick is one on top of my list - everyone keeps saying such wonderful things about it! Also The First Confessor by Terry Goodkind - I am absolutely in love with his books and this one came out a few months ago and I still haven't managed to pick it up. Code Name Verity is another on my list since everyone keeps raving about it.


Thanks to our teens for taking time out of their busy lives to answer these questions!

How about YOU? How do you deal with the busy times of year? What are you most thankful for? And what book tops YOUR wish list?

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