Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Surviving the Holidays: Part 1

Surviving the Holidays: Part 1

Every holiday season has its ups and downs. However, sometimes we find ourselves wondering how we ever got through this year's season? The Awakening Center has some tips to help you survive the holidays.

Reclaiming the Holidays

The falling temperatures, crowded malls, long to-do lists mean only one thing—the holiday season is upon us.  Some cannot wait for this time of year, and they relish each and every tradition.  Others see the holidays as a time of stress, pressure, or loneliness and grit their teeth until January arrives.  Most of us end up somewhere in the middle.  Wherever you fall on this continuum, having your toolbox filled with holiday self-care resources is essential. 

Remember, your holiday survival toolbox will be most effective if it is customized to your particular needs.  You might need to carve out alone time to regroup and re-energize; or, you might need to connect with trusted friends or support people.  Be compassionate about what you need—‘tis the season for acceptance not judgment.

Just as you need to be mindful of which tools you need during the holidays, pay attention to your triggers as well.  Being clear and nonjudgmental about our challenges helps keep us in recovery.  

There is no one-size-fits-all way to enjoy the season.  Just because some love the hustle and bustle of the department store does not mean that your preference for quiet contemplation makes you a Grinch.  And if you feel energized and connected by shopping with friends or going to holiday parties, don’t let anyone tell you you’re forgetting the “reason for the season.”
Ask for Help

If you’re unsure what your toolbox needs, sit with a friend, partner, family member, therapist, or anyone you trust and brainstorm 10 self-care activities.  Think of what will help you stay mindful and connected to your inner self. Some ideas include:

--Taking a leisurely walk
--Reaching out to someone on the phone or in person

Plan Ahead

Having a plan when heading into holiday events can be your best resource. Many families and friends have traditions we can anticipate each year. With this in mind, we can schedule alone time amid all the activities. Or, we can choose to take care of ourselves by sitting out anything that we know will trigger us. For some, this may be honoring that we don't like a particular dish our aunt serves or spending more time with a friend or family member we are more comfortable with. Remember, you are the expert of you. When we listen to what our body wants and needs with a calm, compassionate mind we have the ability to make the decisions that are right for us.

Pace Yourself

It may be helpful to set alerts on your phone to remind you to slow down and check in with yourself. Do you need to take a moment away from all the hubbub?  Are you hungry? Are you full? How are you feeling in this moment? This season can be hectic for all of us, but many times we can hit pause and enter a place of clarity. This can be helpful during times of scrambling to finish last minute shopping or during a party. Set a reminder to check in with how you're feeling during this rush, and have a few close places in mind that can provide an enjoyable break. It may be a small boutique with fun gadgets, a park down the street from the mall, or simply taking a moment to enjoy the holiday decorations.

1 comment:

  1. A long time ago I read a book called "Unplug the Christmas Machine" which really helped me to simplify and de-stress the holidays. After watching 1,000 commercials which all stress the "perfect" gift and the "perfect" holiday - we forget that the most important part is to be with people we love and who treat us well.