Oh the holidays! The family, the friends, the traveling, the food, the training, the swordfights – how can you survive this time year with your head still attached and your mind intact?
By this time in the season, fencing families are either a merry band of happy elves, or Grinchy green and ready for January to come. We’re hoping that you’re the former, but just in case you’re struggling to keep your head above the fray, we’ve compiled some advice to help you out. Here’s our ultimate holiday survival guide for fencing families. With these simple steps, we hope that you’ll be able to make the most of things while also laughing a bit along the way.
Holiday Fencing Survival Tip #1 – Run away
This is some solid advice. When you feel that there’s just too much going on, when you feel as though you can’t hear one more holiday song or see one more fencer wearing a Santa hat, just run off for a bit. Sit down with a giant cup of peppermint cocoa and some quiet.
Better yet, grab a big summery glass of lemonade and think your way to August when competition season is over. After a few minutes of this, you’ll be longing for some cheery holiday songs and to get back to the fun of the season.
Holiday Fencing Survival Tip #2 – Laugh until your sides hurt
There are some amazingly funny holiday movies out there. Take some time, as a family, to watch one together. Or maybe two if you’re really stressed out – make it a marathon! Pick the funniest holiday movie you can think of.
The holidays are a sentimental time, but they’re also supposed to be a fun time of family bonding. Go out and find things that make you giggle and let loose your inner happy self. Fencing training can be serious stuff, and so can life. Let go this holiday season and laugh out loud. Life is funny!
Holiday Fencing Survival Tip #3 – Say no
Somehow we seem to think that we have to say “yes” to everyone in order to be jolly for the holidays. You do not have to do this, and the world will not end if you do turn something down. Try this – say “no” to something, anything. Think about the things that will really make you and your family happy this holiday season, and just say “no” to the rest of it.
It doesn’t matter who’s asking. If it doesn’t serve the goals of your family, then just tell whoever it is that you’d love to participate in whatever it might be, but that now’s just not the right time. Be polite of course, but also just tell them no. You don’t have to go to every party, or to see every distant family member or old friend. Fencing families are getting ready to spend long days on the road for competitions. This is your one chance for some blessed downtime, so enjoy it! Guilt free.
Holiday Fencing Survival Tip #4 – Forget Fencing
What?? A fencing blogger telling you to forget fencing? It’s true – you can take a break and forget about training for just a few days at least.
For fencers this time of year, that can be a real challenge. We are still right in the middle of competition season, with qualifications for Junior Olympics happening already. It’s hard to stop right now – we want to squeeze in every bit of training so that we can be as successful as possible. Training hard all of the time isn’t the only way to do it – we all need breaks in order to get better. Top athletes know this, and it’s something that every fencer has to learn if they’re going to be successful.
You can’t push super hard all the time. During this special time of year, only think about fencing in ways that it makes you happy and keeps you stress free. Give fencing gifts ,watch fencing movies or read fencing books, but just forget about fencing competitions for the holiday. They’ll be here when you get back from taking a hard-earned break.
For now, just for these next few weeks until after the holidays, be selfish about your sanity.
Holiday Fencing Survival Tip #5 – Sleep
Go to sleep. (Well not right now, finish reading this blog, share it on social media, then go to sleep 🙂 ). Fencing families tend to be ambitious, we go hard and we push to get everything done. That often means we don’t get the rest that we need to be healthy.
Take this bit of advice to heart – get some rest over the holidays! You really, really deserve it. Your mind will be better with more sleep. Your body will function more efficiently with more sleep. That goes for the kids and the parents. Take a doggone nap for Pete’s sake. Sleep late a few mornings. Go to bed (gasp!) early!
You can suck the marrow out of life and still get sleep. If only we could bank the hours snuggled under the blanket for later this spring when we’ll really need the rest as competition season gets more intense.
Holiday Fencing Survival Tip #6 – Whack each other
There can be a lot of frustration built up by this time of year what with fencing competition season, holiday stress, school stress, work stress, baking stress, shopping stress – everywhere stress. That can be especially true among families as we tend to take those frustrations on one another. If you really want to give that stress a chance to dissipate, try this tip: whack each other with foam swords or pool noodles.
That’s right, call all the family to the backyard for a serious meeting, then engage in a free for all with soft foamy weapons that won’t actually hurt each anyone. Whacking can make the holidays better! Don’t dare leave it just to the kids though, parents need to give and get some good holiday whacks too. It’s lots of fun fencing a fencer with a big cushy weapon!
What are the ways that your fencing family copes with holiday stress? What holiday tips would you like to share with other fencing families to help everyone stay happy and smiling during the holiday season? Let us know in the comments!