When reducing my stress increases it ...

The holidays are a time for family, more cookies than any one person should eat, Silk nog, cheesy Christmas movies and love.

Oh, and did I mention stress? The holidays seem to bring out the frazzled, burning-both-ends, a little scary, stress in most of us.

While often times this stress festers during a shopping war, a mile-long traffic jam at the mall or a burnt 19th batch of cookies, every once in a while there is no real cause, there's just stress. And more stress. And anxiety. And more anxiety.

Last week we had dinner with our family friends. They have a little boy just a year older than Pearyn, so we always let the kids do a mini gift exhange (aka, us creative moms churn something out for our little one to give to each other's little one). For the little man this year I made a scarf. A bright blue, green and yellow scarf (which I'm happy to report he wears in the house, anytime he feels a drift).

That's right folks, not only do I work, keep my daughter from putting herself in harms way everyday and put dinner on the table and delicious cookies in the cookie jar, I like to knit as well. It's a hobby that comes in spurts, and I'm currently on a mission to knit the Chubby Vegan household more scarves and hats than any family of three needs. I realized something today while I was knitting, though. What is supposed to be something I do to unwind and shut my mind off a bit, results in my clenched jaw and several other parts as well.

I am incapable of relaxing.

It started sometime after graduating from college. I spent four years majoring in English (in addition to pitching for the school team, having the best friends a girl could ask for, working tedious waitress jobs and meeting the love of my life), then all the sudden I graduated and had to do something with said degree.

Somewhere along the road I decided the only way I was going to be successful as an adult is if I hung up that fun, carefree side of myself and worried my life away.

I find ways to take seemingly relaxing activities and warp them into chores of doom. I worry that my knit isn't tight enough or my rows aren't straight enough. I love yoga, except I spend so much time analyzing whether I'm in the right pose that I forget to calm down and stretch my muscles. I'm not against the occasional glass of wine here or there, but let's face it, I'm already the Chubby Vegan Mom, I don't need to be drinking any more calories.

Do you see how I just turned my stressing out about how much I stress out into worrying about gaining weight? It's seriously a talent, I know.

So while it's too early to call this a New Year's resolution (and well, let's face it, I never stick to those anyway and I really, really need to stick to this promise), I'm going to let myself off the hook more often. I don't need to be perfect at everything, heck I don't need to be perfect at anything.

I just need to be the best version of me I can be - mistakes and all, burnt cupcakes and all, neurotic tendencies and all, extra love handles and ALL.

If I can focus on being the best Amanda I can be (did you even know my name was Amanda!?) maybe I won't be worried about being everything to everyone, it'll come naturally.

So let's hear it CVM followers, what do you do to unwind during the holiday season? Better yet, what can I do to start unwinding during the holiday (and every other) season?

Have you made your Not New Year's Resolution this year?


  1. I feel like I could have written this post, except I don't knit. I too am an overachiever who wants to do the best for my children and in my career and who gets stressed about it. I just have the added fun of hurting all the time. But I'm working on it. I'm working on balance and trying to accept that "the best I can do" has got to be enough. So glad to know others are going through this too!

  2. This is so beautiful and colorful do you sell any of these??