Embracing The Holidays: Staying Grounded
Do you have visions of sugarplums dancing in your head? Or are there visions, of relatives being smug, and judgmental? Does the thought of traveling to visit family cause you stress? Perhaps you are hosting for the holidays and believe that you have to be “The Host or Hostess with the Mostest”, where everything has to be perfect to appease everyone. Do you feel the sting of a loss, recent or from a long time ago? Wishing you could be with that loved one that is no longer with you? Does any of this sound like you?
There are many things around this time of year that can cause one stress if dwelt upon. Many times we get on the thought train that takes us back in the past, sometimes we wish that we were there, other times we struggle to get over what happened there and have difficulty moving forward.
Sometimes we forget that we don’t live there anymore. Dwelling on the past or worrying about the future does us no good. Ultimately we only get more of what we think about.
As we are entering a time of heightened emotions we can reclaim our power by focusing on the now, the present moment. This may mean saying no to a few invites when you are already over extended. And that’s ok. Regardless if it’s the holidays or not we are not meant to be on duty 24/7. Honor yourself and your body. When you are starting to feel anxiety, or overwhelmed then you need to take a break. It is when we don’t seem to have the time that we need a break the most.
Some idea’s to ground or center and nurture yourself:
Keep breathing. Notice your breath is it shallow? Take in deeper breaths through your nose, expanding your abdomen out like a balloon counting to four, hold for the count of two then release out the mouth or nose slowly counting to four. When you breathe like this you are oxygenating your lungs and getting fresh air down to the other organs. Which is revitalizing to your body.
Remove yourself from everyone. Even if it means sitting in the bathroom for a few minutes or going outside to get some air. Need something from the store? You can be the one that runs out to get more snacks allowing yourself to decompress in the car during your trip. Turn on the music, and sing!
Put things into perspective. Do not allow people’s actions to change your mood. Yes YOU are in charge! If uncle Harry is always sarcastic, remind yourself that it’s not your mission to change him or anyone else. We all have patterns that we have learned from family, friends and society that we use until we make the choice that they are not a part of our personal truth and that they are no longer expectable. Remind yourself that you will no longer let the behaviors and actions of others to change your emotions. Remember to be mindful and notice when past patterns of relating and communicating that are negative come up. Yelling at uncle Harry most likely will not solve anything. If anything it will cause you even more grief. When we take action steps to identify these patterns as they come up we can start to heal and release them. In doing so we can see the part we play in certain situations, and how we affect others too. If need be change the subject, take a break, and maybe even see the humor in the situation.
Limit the amount of and time of the outings that you go to. If you know that you feel exhausted after three hours with you family, or just out in general, excuse yourself take that break, or set up your schedule in advance that the people that you are with know you will be leaving at a certain time. Example: I can’t wait to see you Sara but I will need to leave at 3 pm for a previous engagement. You do not have to make up excuses. And if you start to feel bad about setting limits remind yourself that you are important too.
Limit intake of sweets and fats. Before the groan starts, just wait and listen. I didn’t say that you couldn’t have them. You know your personal limits. Our bodies are our vehicles and we only get one this lifetime. You wouldn’t pour sludge into a car engine and expect it to run correctly, right? You know the feeling that you have after you’ve had too much junk? Afterwards, you most likely were not feeling your best and were not able to function like you could have. So go ahead and enjoy those cookies at grandma’s house, but be mindful that two pieces of peanut butter pie at a friend’s later may not be the fuel that your engine needs.
Drink plenty of water. Hydration is the key. Many times that we feel hungry or tired our bodies are signaling to us that we need more water, so drink up. Studies have shown that caffeine and alcoholic beverages can cause dehydration so remember to have some water too.
Honor loved ones that you miss. It’s important to honor your feelings of sadness, and heal. Whether they are deceased or they simply are no longer in your life. Look back over the relationship that you had with them. What moments brought you joy? Ask yourself what was the purpose of that relationship to you. What did you learn from it? Did it make you grow in anyway? Other souls are in our lives for a reason, a season, or a lifetime and serve a higher purpose that sometimes we don’t understand until many years later. Maybe their absence is a way for you to learn to let go and move on. If the relationship was abusive in any way be thankful for its ending, what it taught, and that it now gives you the opportunity to figure out what you really want in a relationship. What you are truly worthy of. From my spiritual understanding those that transitioned, their soul is never gone and they would want you to be filled with peace and love at this time and at all other times, They would want you to continue to live, keeping your spark of life ever ready for all of the good that you have coming to you. If loneliness sets in you might find benefit in visiting others that are lonely in nursing homes, hospitals, etc. If for any reason that you or someone else that you know feel that you/they cannot go on, please seek help from a mental health professional.
Remember to participate in the things that bring you joy and that relax you. Do you like to read? Let the kids watch a movie while you take some time out for you with that new novel that you've been putting off reading. Or you watch a comedy, while they are in their room doing something else. Don’t skip out of your exercise routine that you enjoy because you feel that you “have to” meet up with someone else for the holidays. Give yourself permission to keep certain activities in your schedule that make you feel good.
Most importantly remember that at this time no matter what your beliefs are and those of others around you, this is a time of joy. Sometimes that joy can be found in the moment where we look upon the sink full of dirty dishes and realize that we just had a family meal together that has not happened in a long time. That we were blessed to have that food, that company and another day to choose to see the good in everything around us.
For more indepth ways to ground your energy check out the chapter on Meditation and Grounding in my new Book Mental Alchemy: Spiritual Affirmations to Change Your Life.
Many Blessings for you and yours,
Tabby Sapene MSW, LISW-S
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