How to Survive the Holidays

My groups and I have had some interesting conversations recently about self-care, specifically when it comes to the holidays. Now there are numerous articles written about staying healthy during the holidays, but I’d like to offer my input about how we can best care for ourselves, and ultimately others (notice the order), especially if you’re someone in active recovery.

Even if you’re healthy, there’s in an influx of potential food, people, activities to be a part of. This means a higher likelihood of overeating, getting annoyed with someone, and over-committing to things. Even if you’re not in recovery, the holidays can also trigger past pains or traumas from our past that we’d rather not remember. Our brains use holidays as memory markers, so even if you try really hard to avoid something, sadly sometimes your brain is going to remember it anyway. So, here are some ways to be pro-active in your recovery:

Know What Your Triggers Are

If you know that you’re prone to overeating when your aunt corners you to talk politics, or you emotionally shut down every time your grandfather asks you about your job, or loud noises/voices bother you…it’s okay to change the topic, or even politely excuse yourself from the conversation!

Have a Game Plan

It’s one thing to be surprised by difficult situations, but if you know you’re going into one, why not have a game plan for after? If there’s a gathering/event/people you have difficulties committing to and getting along with, it’s quite alright to make a quick plan of something you can do either during or afterward to help alleviate any stress you might incur.

In the moment, you might step outside for some fresh air, drink some water, bring some earplugs (if you’re sensitive to noise like me), and know that it’s allow yourself to take a break.

Sit in the Feeling

See if you can sit in the feeling for one minute longer. It won’t last long. Yes, it feels like an eternity, but hard things do increase our capacity for growth. Try waiting one minute longer than you typically would before tapping out of discomfort.

The holidays have the potential to be everything under the sun, and sometimes we can’t always control what happens, or how we will react to things. But we can control how we respond to our own needs, so that we can best be ourselves to those around us during this season.