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Do More Than Grin And Bear the Holidays

Posted: December 9th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

The holidays are not easy for many people.  Perhaps you are one of those who endure, with white knuckles, through the season.  Since being around difficult family members has been a prominent concern this year, the following are ideas on how to handle the season with style.  With determination and preparation, you can implement creative responses so you don’t go from jolly to jaw clenching self-restraint.

Acknowledge your triggers and pre-determine ways to take care of yourself.   This is a time of triggers. If you take a step back and think about what upsetting feelings emerge around this time of year, you can go in with an action plan.  For example, if your cousin tends to dominate conversations, consider sitting somewhere in the room that is further away.  Perhaps there is someone who loves to find fault in everyone.  Identify ways you can stay grounded and neutral so you have the choice whether or not to engage.  Keep in mind that the more time you take between the trigger and the response, the greater the chance you are choosing how to respond rather than simply reacting.

Liberate yourself from expectations.  The reality of expectations is that when you set the bar high, anything that falls beneath that line will not be appreciated. Lots of loving acts go unnoticed because they were not exactly what had been anticipated.  Without conditions for what is o.k., you can be more open. You eradicate the fear of disappointment and create space for flexibility and new experiences.  (A great example of this is depicted in the Christmas Story, a movie when the glorious turkey is devoured by the neighbor’s dogs. The family winds up enjoying their Christmas meal at a Chinese restaurant!)

Re-evaluate the roles you play.  Roles are everywhere.  At an early age, we are conditioned to engage in certain ways and deterred from other behaviors.  Soon these responses become automatic and unchallenged.  Do any of these sound familiar:  the baby, the success, the responsible one, the fat one, the thin one, the rebel, or the black sheep? These are all different boxes we can get stuck in. We are denied the opportunity to be present in the moment and respond in ways that fit with our ever maturing values and needs.  Determine what roles you have been asked to play and consider ways to step outside of them.  You are so much more than any box you’ve been put into.

Of course, not all of the struggles are about family.  Feel free to peruse the following articles that might be more tailored to your needs.  If these strategies are still not enough, therapy can be a place to get extra support, skills, and strategies.  Call 303.915-5597 to find out more.

What to do when you are not so jolly this time of year

http://healthland.time.com/2013/12/18/why-the-holidays-dont-make-everyone-feel-so-jolly/

Balance

https://www.webmd.com/depression/features/25-ways-find-joy-balance-during-holidays#1

Food

http://www.cpmc.org/about/e-health/11-05%20healthy-holidays.html

http://www.ibpf.org/blog/bittersweet-holiday-treats-how-sugar-affects-your-mood

Stress

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/stress/art-20047544

I wish you peace and all that you need to have a happy holiday season!



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Side by Side Counseling.

Tania Henderson
M.A., L.P.C., N.C.C.