How to support yourself and thrive this holiday season
It’s the most wonderful time of the year! The days are joyful and merry and bright! The holidays can be the most challenging time of the year as well. There can be more demands and expectations on your time and energy from others as well as expectations and guilt that we put on ourselves. This all can lead to more stressful and tense interactions with those we love. In my last newsletter, I shared a guided meditation to help… Here’s a link…
Knowing how you want to feel and what you want to experience is key to support yourself and thrive throughout the holidays. Take a few moments now, before the big days, to check in with yourself and ask a few questions. One of the easiest ways to do this is to write it all out. Journaling is a great tool to connect with your inner wisdom and to remind yourself that you have your own answers. It doesn’t have to take huge amount of time; just try setting aside 5 minutes to start.
Here are a few questions to get started:
What do you want to experience this holiday season?
- How do you want to feel?
- How can you experience more peace?
- How can you experience more joy?
- How can you experience more love?
- What is important for me to know today?
Last year at this time I was planning to have a house full of family for the holidays.
I was both excited and a bit nervous at the same time. I wanted to have a lovely holiday with my family, but I also felt a sense of unease. When I checked in with myself, I realized I was nervous about the expectations, emotions and potential stressors from having family in my home for the holidays.
Why was I apprehensive about spending time with my family during the holidays?
Like many families, we have a history of mental illness, addiction and untreated trauma. Historically, we’ve had some rough holidays. Six years ago, we had extended family in our home for Christmas; one of my family members was in the midst of a psychotic episode that ended with a hospitalization on New Year’s Day. It was probably the most challenging family holiday in my memory, and it was the first time my husband had witnessed an active psychotic episode in my family. It was stressful and painful for everyone involved, and certainly not the most joyful time of the year.
As much as I love my family, the idea of new holiday trauma brought up some anxiety for me. I knew that the best way to deal with my anxiety was to acknowledge its presence and put together a plan that would support me in aligning with my desires for a peaceful holiday. Here’s what helped me.
Perspective is everything. As challenging as things have been in the past, I encouraged myself to focus on the present and to align with the true meaning of the holiday season. I prepared myself that no matter what happened, I would choose to align with peace.
I had a strong self care plan in place prior to the visit. Thankfully, my plan was solid and it was part of my normal routine. My self care plan throughout the year is about meeting my own needs: body, mind and spirit. It is about eating nourishing food, being consistent with exercise that feels good to my body, and getting plenty of rest and unstructured time. And all the while taking care of my spirit with meditation, prayer and choosing to see things from a positive perspective. At times, those rose tinted glasses are the best medicine we can take! And finally, my self care plan includes having a solid sense of humor. Being able to bring in humor can help lighten any situation, and it is a powerful tool in itself.
I decided before my family arrived to make a feeling of peace be my number one priority for the season. No matter what came up, I planned to do my best to align with peace. Anxiety runs high in my family, and it can show up as friction or conflict at times. My guiding mantra last year was “meet friction with slack”. I knew friction was likely, I was prepared it, and I made the decision to respond peacefully as much as I could. And it worked. Last year ended up one of the most peaceful family holidays that I can remember.
What was different? I reminded myself often to “meet friction with slack.” I chose peace, no matter what. Looking back, it was an excellent opportunity to practice being consciously peaceful, which I’ve brought forward throughout this year
One of my favorite memories from New Years Eve last year was sitting around a firepit in my backyard with my family and one of my best friends. We each had pen and paper and spent some time reflecting on the year about to end. We acknowledged our successes from the year, and then we wrote wrote down a few of the things that we were ready to release on small pieces of paper that we tossed in the fire. It was therapeutic to see the paper burn! We also spent some time thinking about the future and wrote down some of our goals and dreams for the year ahead. It was a lovely way to bring in the new year. And it was peaceful!
Forgiveness, love and gratitude are superpowers to shift your energy!
Practicing these three superpowers can make a huge difference in your life.
Forgiveness is a gift we give to ourselves. Holding on to resentments contributes to our own suffering. By practicing forgiveness, we can release some serious chains that bind us.
Gratitude is another superpower that we have available to us. Start with a simple practice that you can do every day. Write down three things you are grateful for. If your gratitude involves another person, share it with them. Telling someone you are grateful for them is a gift we give and receive.
Practice love. Love yourself. Love others. Love has the potential to help you find an opening when you are feeling stuck or down. When you spend a moment focusing on love, you will shift your energetic vibration which can have a huge positive impact on your life and your world.
Here’s a five part plan for thriving this holiday season. It’s one that helped me. Feel free to adapt this for your own use to support yourself this holiday season. As with many things in life, it’s all about practice, not perfection.
- Perspective is everything.
- Create a self care plan for yourself
- Have a mantra or two in your back pocket
- Know what you want and align with that (see the questions above)
- Practice forgiveness, love and gratitude
Wishing you an abundance of peace, joy and love this season.