The holidays are no longer simply approaching quickly, they are here. For many, the holidays are a time of celebration with family and friends, and for many others, it can be a time of grief or strife.
If you are struggling during the holiday season, below are some tips and tricks to help get you through.
Be aware of your experiences and emotions. Past traumas can effect our brains in ways that may not be automatically noticeable to us. Take your time; ask yourself: what am I truly feeling right now? What might be behind these emotions? Try to stay in the present, noticing that feelings are not ‘good’ or ‘bad’, rather they are just what you are feeling right now, and are not permanent.
Give yourself permission to validate your experience. For example, if you are grieving it is common to feel overwhelmed around this time of year. Listening and sharing stories helps us to reach the last stage of grief: acceptance. When we share, our experience is able to be humanized, so we feel less overwhelmed. Psychologists have shown that watching documentaries, reading memoirs, journaling, and sharing experiences with others can all be beneficial.
Take action in practicing self-care. In times of immediate distress, self-care might mean just taking a few deep breaths (mindfulness and grounding). Whereas, when we have some down-time, self-care might mean spending time with friends (social support) or taking a long bath with a good book (leisure activity).
Other proven strategies for self-care include:
Healthy sleep practices
Contributing to a bigger community (ie: volunteer work, church, etc.)
Set boundaries when needed. Being aware of who or what is toxic to your own well-being. Plan work-arounds in advance. For example, if you expect a certain communication pattern from family member during dinner, volunteer to sit at the children’s table instead. Or practice your assertiveness in the mirror before you go to an event. Rehearsal, though it may feel silly at first, makes it easier in the moment. Continue to practice a nonjudgmental stance for both yourself and others during this practice as well.
If your struggle is too much to bear alone, please reach out to a professional. Reclaim your life, make an appointment today. Contact us or call 952.898.5020 ex 4.