It is important with the approaching holidays to be mindful of the emotional state of both ourselves and our “battle buddies”. The holidays are a time many of us feel emotional in many different ways. Often the environment we place ourselves in determines whether we adequately experience an emotion, avoid it, move through it, or become a prisoner of it. This holiday season use these three tips to help provide a healthy and safe holiday environment.
Managing Holiday Expectations.
Whether you are celebrating old rituals or creating new ones, the holiday season can be a stressful time. Add on a sluggish economy, and the complications of the holiday season are quickly compounded. One way to lessen the punch of these stresses is to manage holiday expectations. To do this, think about what rituals, traditions, and indulgences you desire to participate in. As in any other area of life, it is always a good idea to set clear goals and plans for the upcoming festive season. Do you have expectations in the amount of charity you give/perform, family you contact/visit, or prefer to relax and be carefree?
Think back to pleasurable holiday experiences of the past; consider what in your current situation can be done to create a similar type of environment. One way to manage this is plan as if your holiday experience was a recipe – what ingredients would you need? If your first choice isn’t available what is the next closest alternative?
No matter what the answer to those questions (and any others you may feel are relevant), by discovering and recognizing them, you are on your way to a less stressful season. Once you understand your expectations, you can then develop a plan to make them a reality. If during your various celebrations certain expectations aren’t met, you can take a look at those that are and balance; make a decision whether you wish to continue participating.
Experience your feelings
At times, it is okay to allow yourself to be sad and reflective. However, as winter holiday season might be particularly “blues-inducing”, self-care is extremely critical. By understanding the way we process feelings of grief and sadness, we can make healthy choices to support that process. The challenge comes when this occurs in complete isolation. While many of us need time alone to experience certain emotions, it is important to know when to reach out to others or grab hold when they reach out for us. Even the lone wolf takes down his largest prey or obstacle with the assistance of his pack! Surround yourself with family, call an old friend, volunteer to serve food at the homeless center – always have a plan for escaping isolation if you feel you need companionship!
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Don’t get lost in the past or the future. If part of your holiday celebration includes projection and reflection, enjoy, but do not forget to include mindfulness. Appreciate the “here and now” and whatever it is that brings you pleasure in the present situation. Whatever your holiday rituals, be sure to include time for reveling in the things you are grateful for.
Be safe, enjoy and call your battle buddy!