This is the season to be jolly fala-lala-lala NOT! The truth is that as much as we love the holidays, they have become a source of stress for many. Perhaps is the pressure of gathering with the whole family, our eating habits out the window (TURKEYYYYYYYY!!!!) or the economic pressure of it all. Running away to hide is not an option, not unless you consciously choose to spend these days in solitude and preparation for “the new you”- (I’ll see you in January!). Whatever the holidays may trigger in you- from joy to over spending, SAD (seasonal affective disorder) or FOMO (fear of missing out) these 5 tips can help!
- SELF REFLECTION – Stop running away from yourself. I don’t want you to over think, but I do suggest you do some soul searching. This can go in several ways… Reflect on how the holidays trigger you (every time you’re around your aunts you revert to young reckless you, and that’s not a pretty picture) and prepare yourself with good coping skills. Self-awareness is key to growth, don’t be afraid to go down memory lane to learn from past mistakes, but don’t dwell! On the other hand, you can focus on who you are today. Empower yourself and choose wisely. I believe in you. You can and you will respond from a place of love, even if your grandma says you look fat. After all, granny doesn’t know about self-love and self-acceptance, she grew up in another era!
- HONOR YOUR FEELINGS– The beauty of being human is to experience emotions, it’s up to us how we interpret them. Anger doesn’t have to send you in a rampage, easy with that road rage, Turbo. If you encounter injustice or unfairness use self-awareness to dig a little deeper, self-observe, engage in introspection and ask yourself how are you hurting? At the root of anger, we often find fear, have compassion towards yourself and others. We all go through hard times and we all try to avoid pain and suffering. Redirect the negative emotions/thoughts and breathe deeply. Speak to yourself with love (that inner critic turned cheerleader).
- SELF-ACCEPTANCE– Come the holidays you can’t hide your scars from yourself. You may fool the family or friends but consider that you don’t have to. If you are struggling financially, be sincere with yourself. Don’t go in-debt to try and buy happiness or “likes”. This is your reality now, but it won’t always be. Give a gift from the heart, a ticket to snuggle and have hot cocoa together, redeemable during the winter. Perhaps self-acceptance comes in loving your image, all those extra pounds included. Take self-acceptance as a gift of love to yourself.
- TO DO LIST– Lists have a way of helping you organize yourself, that mental work really pays off. Start with your priorities and give yourself permission to say no. Make time to veg out, meditate and keep with your healthy routines. Forget FOMO and turn that phone off, if you’re having a hard time with that, put a show in a different language and make yourself read the subtitles. If you need a wing woman/man, don’t forget to put it on the list to ask them ahead of time to save the date.
- VITAMINS– Take your Flintstones people! Lol Really, the winter can be rough, and you could use vitamin D. Less natural light, the cold and chapped lips can be a nightmare in a bottle. Get some light therapy (a full spectrum lamp will do), chromotherapy (just wearing happy colors can help) and don’t forget to buy organic Chapstick. Nobody wants to ingest those nasty chems.
You can also consider starting counseling now, to emotionally prepare for the time ahead. With the holiday season many deeper issues tend to surface and it’s a good idea to work on that family trauma, stress and isolation before depression shows it’s sad/angry head. Remember that therapy is an app away nowadays, so don’t stress over that. If you need me you can always find me on my website, tamaraliz.com and then we can Jackson Pollock this holiday season together!
Tamara Liz Rivera Hyde, LMHC is a mental health counselor, art therapist and spiritual guide. She loves to inspire people to tap into their innate creative abilities to self-express and self-actualize.