Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

If the holiday season is already stressing you, then… November 28, 2012

Strolling along Central Avenue in historic downtown Faribault late on a Saturday afternoon in December 2011.

ALREADY I CAN FEEL the stress. Only four weeks until Christmas and so much to do:

I created a Christmas family photo card online yesterday (gold star for me) and will soon work on the holiday letter.

Greeting cards to write and send.

I’ll bake cookies, but probably not candy. How well I remember this ribbon candy of my youth, dropped into goodie bags parceled out after Christmas Eve worship services. This candy is artfully displayed by Vicki, a family member who has a real talent for decorating. The candy, card and lights images were all taken in her home.

Gifts to purchase and wrap. Cookies to bake.

The only lights at our home will be on the Christmas tree, although we really should decorate outdoors given we live along a busy street. But because our house was scheduled to be shingled (work started Tuesday), we could not hang lights in the balmy weather. And who wants to freeze their fingers now?

Decorating to do. Holiday events to attend. Travel.

My dear husband grilled this 2011 Christmas Day dinner.

Menus to plan. Food to buy and prepare.

It all can seem a bit overwhelming, throwing me into a rather Grinch-like state of mind. What’s a woman to do?

Short of acting like a Grinch and eliminating some items from that list, which I’m not going to do, I have one choice. That’s to cope. But how?

My friend Mandy Blume, who’s a nurse practitioner and the parish nurse at Trinity Lutheran Church in Faribault, my home congregation, is coordinating a Stress Relief Workshop set for 2 p.m. Sunday, December 2, in the Trinity Fellowship Hall.

If you can squeeze this into your pre-holiday schedule, do. Susan Knutson, a registered nurse and certified healing touch practitioner from Rochester, will speak on “Stress in the holidays & healing touch.”

Workshop attendees will participate in stress relief activities such as guided imagery, progressive muscle relaxation and deep breathing.

Mandy even promises massages. Can you feel your muscles loosening already, the tension easing from your body?

The majority of the workshop—and Mandy emphasizes the word “workshop” over “presentation”—will be hands-on participating in and learning stress-reducing skills. In other words, do not expect simply to sit and take notes or read hand-outs. Oh, no.

Additionally, delicious snacks (and knowing Mandy, also healthy) and beverages will be available and door prizes awarded.

Cost is only $10. Register today by contacting the Trinity church office at 507-331-6579.

Or, you can just show up at 2 p.m. this Sunday in the Trinity Fellowship Hall, 530 Fourth Street N.W., Faribault, with your payment, although Mandy would appreciate preregistration.

(If you cannot afford the $10 registration fee, talk to Mandy.)

HOW DO YOU DEAL with stress during the holidays?

© Copyright 2012 Audrey Kletscher Helbling