After teaching humor as a stress management tool for twenty years now (if anyone asks, I’ll say I started in kindergarten), it occurs to me just how much stress we women create for ourselves by our stupid fashion choices. It’s almost as if many of us get up in the morning and run through this checklist: Feet hurt? Check! Fabric riding up my butt? Check! Body shaper that squeezes me two sizes too small and prevents me from taking anything except shallow breaths? Check? Underwire bra bruising my ribs? Check! Ripping hair from my eyebrows and nether regions? Scheduled! Okay, ready to face the day.
Why is it that everything that supposedly makes us look female causes pain?
Last year on the DisneyLand episode of Modern Family, Gloria walks around the theme park in stiletto heels despite being miserable. Her husband Jay breaks down and buys her a pair of fuzzy slippers and asks her if perhaps the reason she gets very angry from time to time is because she’s always wearing uncomfortable shoes.
When I lead play sessions at conferences, the first thing I do is invite everyone to take off their shoes and the women are usually thrilled to do so. I used to wear high heels when I performed on stage and the whole time I was up there, part of my brain was thinking, “I can’t wait to get out of these heels and into my Danskos.” If these Danish-designed (originally, now they’re made all over the place) clogs are any indication, I’m thinking Denmark must have some of most relaxed women on the planet. In fact, according to a report on 60 minutes, the Danes are as a whole happier than most other countries. I’m sure it’s the comfy shoes and the calmer women.
If you’re wondering how you can reduce holiday stress this year, ditch the uncomfortable clothing. Give the 6″ stiletto heels back to the strippers. Use your thong panties to stake up your tomatoes or as an eye patch on Talk Like a Pirate Day. Put on your Snuggie (maybe you can embroider a snowman on it for the season) or PajamaJeans and take a few deep breaths. Once you stop caring about your muffin top, a little holiday shopping and decorating won’t faze you at all.