Create a Happy Holiday Season!
When the Christmas gift ideas and decorations start to fill up the stores, it’s a very exciting time for many people, but some just get a very familiar pit in their stomach when the holiday season rolls around. Holidays can mean overeating, confronting family drama or revisiting old wounds that aren’t healed. It can mean urges to drink and use drugs, or just feel exhausted by emotional overload. Our pain is a great messenger. It tells us when something is wrong so that we can take care of ourselves. Here are some tips that will help you make the holiday season a time to remember!
· Check in. Before attending any event, check in with yourself by asking the following questions: How am I feeling today? Is this something I want to attend? If you’re tired, emotionally exhausted or just feel that you have been attending too many events, give yourself permission to stay home and take care of yourself!
· Set an intention. Decide what’s your intention for the event (i.e. have fun, be present, reconnect with friends, meet new people). Setting an intention can help you stay focus on what you want to get out of the experience instead of being distracted by thoughts that can make you feel self-conscious or triggered.
· Practice the art of reframing your thoughts. When a negative thought shows up in your mind you don’t have to believe it. You can always use flexible thinking and reframe your thought by coming up with a different interpretation of an event or experience. For example, “This is going to be a very hard, long and painful night”. An alternative thought might be “I see this event is making me anxious. Discomfort means I’m stepping out of my comfort zone and that’s a good thing. I can do difficult things”.
· Focus on the person, not their body, achievements, and food. Comparison is the thief of joy! Try to increase connection by focusing on asking questions and being curios. You are you and they are them.
· Forget about food rules and stay present with each holiday treat. Listen to your body signals for hunger and fullness levels instead of what your mind says you “should” be eating.
· Set boundaries with others: Let others know what’s ok or not with you. Setting healthy boundaries can help you stay strong and present to enjoy the holidays the way you need, not the way others want you to.
· If you’re in recovery from an eating disorder make a list of support system and let them know your concerns, set an appointment to see your therapist and nutritionist, and write down a few things that help you stay committed.
· If you’re in recovery from drugs and alcohol attend meetings regularly during the holidays and spend time with sober supports, call your sponsor and use prayer to let go of the things that you can’t control.
· Self-care: practicing self-care during the holidays can help you find a sense of balance and release some of the tension that the holidays can arise.
The holidays, as wonderful as they are, can trigger enormous pain and take a tall on your mental health. Stay present to the messages that your feelings are giving you, and take care of yourself! Happy Holidays!