Thursday, March 4th, 2021

R Shopper Columns


If we deal with stress poorly, we'll miss the fun of the holidays.

A story has been told about a man who had the most unusual experience. It seems that as he was driving along a country road, he noticed a chicken running alongside his car. The man was amazed that the chicken was staying right with him. He had never seen a chicken run that fast!

Wanting to see what kind of chicken it was, he stopped his car. The chicken stopped. To his further amazement, he noticed the chicken had three legs! He got out of his car and followed the chicken over the hill. On the other side of the hill, he saw a chicken farm with chickens zooming back and forth across the yard. As he stared at the chickens, he heard someone ask him, "May I help you?"

He turned around to see a farmer. "I can't believe it," he responded. "All these chickens have three legs! How did that happen?"

The farmer said, "They are my chickens. There are three of us in my family, and we all love drumsticks. Since a chicken only has two legs, one of us was always left out. So I experimented until I came up with a three-legged chicken."

"How do they taste?" the man asked. To which the farmer replied, "I don't know. I haven't been able to catch one."

Make time to relax and worship.

When we examine our lives, we soon realize that we have created a three-legged chicken. We have over-scheduled our children and ourselves to the point that we seem to be running from one event or task to another. This leaves us feeling stressed out by being overwhelmed or burned out. Some of us have made a three-legged chicken out of the holidays. By the time they are over, we are exhausted.

One suggestion about taking care of ourselves during the holidays is to sit down with your family and talk about how you can downsize and still celebrate the days. What activities can we cut back? Another suggestion is to make a list of the things that need to be done, such as cooking, and letting others help.

There is stress when we think about getting gifts for everyone, especially if we have a large family. Karen, my wife, came up with a great idea. She suggested that instead of buying gifts for everyone, each adult can contribute a certain amount. With this money we will go on a family trip. My granddaughter suggested that instead of purchasing gifts, we should make the gifts. And we will draw names, so each person is only responsible for one gift.

Other ideas are: exercise and watch what we eat and drink. Shop early. Make time to relax and worship.

Dr. William E. Austin is a licensed psychotherapist and holds a Doctor of Divinity degree. He is a therapist with Tidewater Pastoral Counseling Services . He is well known for his warmth and sense of humor. His book, Creating Our Safe Place - Articles on Healthy Relationships, can be purchased through

Tidewater Pastoral Counseling: 623-2700