The holiday season is supposed to be filled with joy. 'Tis the season to be jolly. Fa la la and all that crap. Whether you are spinning dreidels or baking Christmas cookies, there better be a smile on your face. But what if you are not feeling so freaking festive?

Things were going fairly smoothly around here until today. Today I hit the snag of all snags. No. Strike that. Today I ran straight into a brick wall.

WARNING! I'm about to have a bit of a moan, as they say in the U.K. If you are not up for listening to me moan, here's your chance to click over to something more bright and cheery. Bluebirds singing, maybe. Or a dog pissing on a Christmas tree.

Anyway, today Mother Nature decided to throw us a curve ball. The polar vortex came to visit, way ahead of Santa. The wind roared and the temperature plummeted to a high in the mid-twenties. Now I realize this is much warmer than regions north of Maryland, but this is WAY TOO COLD for me! Walking the dogs was not just unpleasant but downright painful.

Add to this, my body is crying from my bootcamp workout yesterday. I know: BOO HOO! Poor me, I did 100 kettlebell swings and now I want to die. Despite the fact that I did this to myself, I am still suffering mucho.

Not to mention the unmentionable: I got my period yesterday. Add in the usual array of menstrual symptoms such as bloating, cravings, and a headache that will not quit despite ibuprofen, headache balm (thanks, Susan!), caffeine, and gingersnaps. (Not sure the last is actually a headache remedy but I was willing to try anything.)

On top of all this, I still fasted this morning, as I have been every day since Thanksgiving. But today was the first day that I really struggled. The aforementioned headache, but also some dizziness, and some nausea after eating made the whole thing extra ugly.

After dinner, my sweet hubbie made a fire in the woodstove to take the chill out of the air. (Our heat pumps have been running nonstop all day and can't even bring the indoor temperature up to 60F!) I was still feeling like total doggie doo-doo, so I went and sat in front of the fire.

I just sat.

I didn't read a book, or do some knitting, or fill out a crossword, or write in my journal. I just sat with my cup of tea and my two dogs by my side. I watched the fire instead of the boob tube. (Young people: this is an old-fashioned term for the television.) I sat there for an entire hour.

And miracle of miracles, I began to feel better. Sure my muscles still feel like I've been beaten with a two-by-four, and my headache isn't totally gone, and my uterus aches, but my spirit somehow has revived. Maybe it was the beauty of the flickering flames. Maybe it was the peace and quiet. Maybe it was giving myself permission to do absolutely nothing. Maybe it was the gingersnaps???

Whatever the reason, the tea or the fire, my heart grew three times it's regular size. And once my heart wasn't feeling quite so tight, I hopped right up to write this blog.

If you're having a bit of a rough patch, and the holiday season isn't filling you with festive and joyous cheer, maybe you need to take a break. Grab yourself a cup of tea (or hot chocolate or mocha latte) then sit down. Put your feet up. Close your eyes or watch the fire. Let go of all the hustle and bustle around you. You are not a Grinch! You just need to recharge your batteries.

Hit PAUSE and give yourself a time out. Join us again when you're ready!