5 Self Care Tips for the Holidays
The holidays are FAST approaching. If you gather with your community this time of year, it can be really lovely - and also really challenging. Many of us find ourselves extremely triggered and challenged by mandated family gatherings, and not much power to control the situation. But there are ways that we can aim to support ourselves and make the gathering easier on us. Here are some tips for getting through.
Before you go to the gathering, take stock of what helps you feel good. Maybe think about what you would do AFTER the event to support yourself. For instance, some alone time, a chat with a friend, or a walk. When you arrive to the holiday event or gathering, let the host know that you'll be popping out for X amount of time, and will be back. This helps the host not take offence to you taking a break, and also promises YOU a moment to yourself.
Take a moment to consider what boundary phrases may work in your community context. Some of my favourites include, "That's not my experience," "Did you mean to say that?" and "I'm not going to talk about that right now." Here are some more tips on coming up with boundary phrases.
In this context, "safe topics" means topics that you are comfortable talking to your community about. Remember: people don't talk generally talk about sex at holiday dinners until there is something out of their "norm." You don't owe them your personal business. Maybe you feel comfortable talking about a trip you enjoyed, or a book that you read. Perhaps you can share interior decorating tips, or talk about your favourite brand of candles.
Set your intention
Often, when we approach difficult situations, we focus on the impending diffuculty. I mean, it makes sense - we want to brace ourselves for what may come. One powerful strategy can be setting an intention for what you aim for event to go like - Think phrases like "I want to feel connected," "I want to feel joy," and "I want to nurture myself by setting boundaries."
Self-care in real time
Notice how you're feeling throughout the event. When you notice signs of stress in yourself such as elevated heart rate, mind racing, sweating, and shallow breaths, take the time to settle. Do you find box breathing helpful? Try following the instructions on the diagram below and see how you feel after one minute, two minutes, and three minutes.
The holidays will come and go. Strategies to support ourselves are forever.
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