life preserver

Five Quick Tips to Survive the Holidays

life preserver

I’m sure this week is a busy one for you whether you’re running around doing last-minute errands, working hard to manage your mind, or feeling vulnerable as you tend to your heart.

This time of year can be the season of “extra.”

Extra eating.
Extra spending.
Extra commitments.
Extra sensitive buttons.
Extra expectations to be happy and jolly.

All of this “extra” can make it tough for you to take care of yourself, so here are five quick tips to help you enjoy (or at least survive) the rest of the season:

  1. Be mindful of your expectations.
    The little kid inside of us can get excited at the idea of family and friends coming together, exchanging presents, and enjoying yummy food and drink. Sometimes we picture a Norman Rockwell painting and it ends up being anything but.It’s great to have hopes of a festive gathering, just keep your expectations in check as well. If anyone in attendance tends to push your buttons, come up with some ways to navigate conversations with them to save yourself some grief, if need be.

    When I’m around someone who pushes my buttons, I silently say in my head “She’s not an asshole, she’s just wounded,” to remind myself to practice compassion. OK, full disclosure: I usually sing it to the tune of “He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother.” Whatever works, right?

  2. Have an escape plan.
    If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, triggered, or cornered, remember, the bathroom is your friend. Escape to this one place where you’re guaranteed privacy. Close the door, run the water, and breathe.Even when I’m having a great time, I’ll take an unnecessary bathroom break to ground my energy so I can be more present with everyone.
  3. Avoid overindulging.
    Mindless eating and drinking are rampant at holiday gatherings. Whether you’re getting lost in conversation and don’t realize you keep reaching for the chip bowl or you’re grabbing for carbs or wine to numb out, overindulging leads to feeling like crap — physically and mentally.
    To curtail this, consider eating a little something before you head out to the festivities so you don’t show up starving. And mingle in a room separate from the food and drinks so you have to make a conscious effort to go get something.
  4. Don’t underestimate the need to decompress.
    Even if you had a great time, debrief after a gathering. Whether in a quiet car ride home, through a venting or sharing session with a trusted loved one, or in a relaxing hot bath, have something lined up to help you settle back into your energetically-familiar and nurturing space.
  5. Whatever you’re feeling, let that be ok.
    Maybe you don’t have any family or close friends around or you’re grieving the loss of a loved one. Don’t beat yourself up for not mustering up jolliness.On the flip side of the same coin, if you feel happy when you think you should be sad, let that be ok, too. The best gift you can give yourself any time of year is self-acceptance and that means loving yourself right where you’re at.

The holidays can be tough what with the emotions, expectations, frenetic energy, and general exhaustion, but with some mindfulness and pre-emptive planning, you just might get to enjoy yourself!

However and whatever you celebrate this holiday season (or don’t), I wish you love, peace, and comfort.

1 reply
  1. Sarah B
    Sarah B says:

    Dear Kerri,

    Thank you for your gentle reminder for me to be more aware of my own needs during this busy time of year. Releasing a couple unnecessary commitments has been extremely helpful to let go of the small amount of stress I was feeling about a situation. I especially love the ideas of allowing time to debrief after a gethering and saving yourself the suffering of expecting or hoping people will be different than they are. I love the reminder to accept what is. I trust the choices I have made will be comfortable for me. Thank you again for a great letter.


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