If you’re a current subscriber, log in below. If you would like to subscribe, please click the subscribe tab above.
Username and Password Help
DEAR HARRIETTE: I’m in my senior year of high school, and the pressure is intense. It seems like my friends and I are constantly mad at somebody. There’s just so much tension between friend groups and people who are dating or not and trying to figure out relationships. Plus, we are applying to college and worried about whether or not we will get in. I talk to my mother about it, and she’s kind of helpful, but it’s all just too much. I don’t know how to manage this time. One week I have friends, and the next week it feels like nobody is my friend. How can I stay calm and still get my work done through it all? — Overwhelmed
DEAR OVERWHELMED: I feel your pain. My daughter is a senior in high school, and I see how the stress can take over. We practice meditation, which can be helpful. Try this: Sit quietly with your feet flat on the floor and your eyes closed. Take three deep breaths. As you breathe in, feel the oxygen filling your body. Imagine your breath cleansing your entire body. As you exhale, let go of any tension you feel in your body. Repeat that for a series of three cleansing breaths. Then, breathe naturally. With your eyes closed, continue to notice your breath as it moves in and out of your body. As thoughts pop up, notice them, but don’t try to hold on to them. Allow the thoughts to pass like clouds in the sky. Some thoughts may be happy. Some may be worrisome, like storm clouds. Whatever they are, let them come and go. Invite yourself to be calm. With each natural breath, give yourself permission to be still and calm. After three to five minutes (however much time you have to devote to yourself), open your eyes. That simple meditative moment can help you calm down and access your inner strength.
As you go through your day, when the drama starts to build, pause and do a mini-meditation. It will help you regain control of yourself in the midst of so much that is out of your control. Trust that you can get through this, and that this extremely emotional time in your life will pass.
DEAR HARRIETTE: My niece recently had a baby. She is the first baby of this generation, and we are all excited for her. For Christmas, everybody wants to get her a ton of gifts. I’m sure that’s not ideal, though we should probably get her a few things. Should I talk to my niece about what she needs the most rather than just buying her a ton of stuff? Part of me wants to spoil the baby, but the practical side says I should speak to her mom. — Gifts for the Baby
DEAR GIFTS FOR THE BABY: Especially since there is only one baby in the family now, you are right that the chances are great that she will be showered with gifts. By all means, speak to your niece. Find out what would be most helpful to her, including cash. It may not sound particularly fun, but helping to start a college fund could be a fantastic idea. The baby won’t know the difference, but your niece will thank you in 18 years! Or your niece may appreciate a cash gift that will help with maintaining her household. Find out, and follow her lead