The exhilarating day can also be overwhelming and exhausting. Enjoy every minutes without the stress with these 4 tips.
By Shiffy Friedman
It’s meant to be the happiest day of the year, but it doesn’t take much for Purim to leave us women feeling stressed and irritable. With the house resembling an open air carnival (at closing time!) and your intoxicated husband dancing barefoot on the dining room table, you need some real muscle to stretch your lips into a smile, forget feeling bubbles of delight in your heart. But you can do it. And here’s how.
Fuel comes first.
Never underestimate the power of a good breakfast. It not only fuels your body with the physical energy you need to do the shalach manos rounds, break up fights over face paint, and cajole your toddler into keeping her hat on for just another snapshot. The right foods also provide the nutrients you need to remain calm and collected for a long time. Before the kids get into their costumes, make sure the entire family sits down to a balanced meal of protein, carb, and fruit. In our house, this means hard-boiled eggs, rice cakes, and sliced apples. Prepare the foods in advance if you know you’ll be too busy on the day of, but even if you haven’t, make this a must for a great start.
Keep it sugar-free.
You know what sugar does to you and your kids, but it’s hard to avoid it all year round. If there’s one day you want to seriously keep it out of your body, though, it’s Purim. Sounds impossible when we’re talking about the Yom Tov that’s practically sugar-coated, but do everything it takes to avoid the sugar high that’s followed by the crash. It’s one thing to see your kids on that roller coaster, but if you want to be the one sane, collected being around, save all your treats for later.
Mindful of the mitzvos.
You would love to bring shalach manos to this friend and that teacher, to invite the cousins who recently moved into town to your meal, and to open your home to one and all. But, doing more than you have to can—and does—get overwhelming. Keep in mind that the 4 mitzvos of the day are to hear the megillah, eat a meal, give tzedaka to two poor people, and to give shalach manos of only two kinds of foods to one person only. That’s it. If you want to do more, it helps to ask yourself, “Will this make me happier or stress me out?” On Purim, prioritizing takes on a sense of urgency. Since what’s most important on this festive Yom Tov, especially if your husband’s intoxicated state will deem you a single parent for the day, is to enjoy it, avoid any tasks or obligations that build up the pressure (think towering cellophane arrangements, delicate costumes, and accepting too many invites).
Draw your strength.
Being mindful of how your food choices affect your mood, as well as prioritizing, are important, but if you want to have a truly joyous Purim, feeding your soul does the ultimate trick. If you don’t have enough hours in this hectic day to daven Shacharis, consider waking up half an hour earlier than you planned and dedicate that time for tefillah. (See this post on why it’s worth it for you to give up sleep for davening.) Enjoy the sacred peace and quiet as you connect to Hashem and express what’s most pressing for you at the moment. Like the heroine of the megillah, Queen Esther, this is your opportunity for an audience with the King. Simply connecting to your spiritual self will envelop you in a sense of calm and inner peace. And don’t forget to ask for His help in getting through the day—with joy! Continue to do so throughout the day, in your own words. With Hashem at your side, this will be your most exhilarating Purim ever.
Shiffy Friedman is a kollel wife and mother of three kids. Whenever she’s not busy with drop-off or pickup (no carpools in Yerushalayim!) she works as a writer, editor (at The Wellspring) and therapist.