Let’s face it. The holiday season can be tough for everyone, even if you don’t celebrate any holiday. From overcrowded stores playing the same holiday songs on repeat for the past few months, to family dinners with invasive questions about your dating life and that one family member who excels at turning every conversation into a political debate, it may feel overwhelming or triggering which can result in negative feelings. Below are a few examples of things to help prepare you for this holiday season and why we think they will be helpful for you.
Gratitude is a great way to prepare yourself to deal with stressful situations. Practicing gratitude in the days and weeks leading up to an event, can help you gain a better awareness of the positive aspects your life has to offer. Doing this allows you the opportunity to fortify your mental defenses and decide what is, and is not, worth your effort and mental energy.
If you want some great tips to incorporate this into your daily life, click here to read our blog about Gratitude.
Set some Boundaries
Boundary setting is a skill that can seem incredibly overwhelming and difficult to obtain. Despite that, it is a skill that is straightforward to learn and implement. Like practicing gratitude, boundary setting is something that works best when you start small and work your way up to more difficult things. Some great ways to get started including setting some boundaries with yourself and asking a friend to practice boundary setting with you.
According to the Cambridge Dictionary, boundaries are “real or imagined lines that mark the edge or limit of something.” A good practice example would be thinking of a conversation topic that you do not want to engage in. If someone starts talking about that topic, firmly and gently, let them know that you do not wish to be a part of that conversation. If that person persists, restate the boundary, and let them know that if they continue that conversation that you will disengage and walk away. It is okay to tell people that you have a boundary. If they are not willing to respect it, it is okay to walk away. Your time is your own to do with what you please.
Find an Ally
Sometimes even with the best of preparation, things can still be tough to handle alone. This is where allies come in. Who is someone that you feel safe with that you can take to holiday and family functions with you? Who is someone that you would feel safe with being an ally for? This would be the perfect person to practice your boundary setting with. Before going into a function, practice some example conversations and discuss what your entry and exit plans are. Are there people that you want to avoid? Are there any conversation topics that you will need help navigating or setting a boundary for? Great allies are an excellent thing to be grateful for, so experiment with ways to incorporate this into your gratitude journey.
Self-care is an amazing way to rejuvenate and focus on areas that need a little more love. Self-care does not have to be a major spa day or fancy trip. Taking the time to do little things for yourself on a consistent basis can have a huge impact. With it being the holidays, maybe the thing that works for you is finding the most tear-worthy Hallmark movie. Or maybe its simply buying yourself that container of raspberries that you missed on your last grocery trip, but you really wanted because they remind you of summer and warmer weather.
When was the last time that you spoke with your therapist? Self-care can even be things like making sure you make it to your therapy appointments and tidying your space so that you do not get overwhelmed by the disarray. The examples of self-care are endless and vary from person to person. The most important part is discovering what works best for you.
Here at Tabono we are available to help you come up with your own thriving through the holiday plan. The holiday season can be tough for everyone but that does not mean that it must stay tough. If you or someone you know are interested in meeting with one of our licensed therapists to support you through the holidays, check out our contact us page or give us a call at 513-846-5283.
Boundary. BOUNDARY | definition in the Cambridge English Dictionary. (n.d.). Retrieved November 18, 2022
Furlan, J. (2019, November 14). Holiday survival guide: Family style. NPR. Retrieved November 18, 2022
Hailey, L. (2022, May 11). How to set boundaries: 5 ways to draw the line politely. Science of People. Retrieved November 18, 2022
Lawler, M., Colino, S., Walsh, K., Lawler, M., Byrne, C., Bedosky, L., Jesner, L., Carstensen, M., & Zapata, K. (n.d.). What is self-care and why is it critical for your health? EverydayHealth.com. Retrieved November 18, 2022