The holiday season is a time for great connection with people in our lives. It brings us together with family and friends that we may only see a few times a year. This time of year heartens us to make a great effort to be with our loved ones in authentic and positive ways.
But there are people who can make us feel stressed out and that anxiety can be heightened by the pressures of the holidaysSeeing them can make us feel apprehensive about celebrating or we may choose poor coping methods to “deal” with them when they are present.
Here are 7 self-care ideas to help you connect with people in positive and healthy ways making it easier for us to look forward to these festive get-togethers and truly enjoy ourselves.
- REMEMBER WHAT YOU LOVE ABOUT THE HOLIDAYS AND HONOUR THAT
What is your favourite memory of the holiday season? Maybe its from childhood, or when you got your first place by yourself Maybe there are certain traditions, foods, smells or people that bring a smile to your face. How can you have more of that now? Bring items, memorabilia, favourite foods, photos, games, to events to share with people. By incorporating things that remind you of good times, you create a focus for yourself on positivity and joy.
- SURROUND YOURSELF WITH THOSE YOU LOVE
Our time is so precious and limited, especially at this busy time of the year, so our time needs to be mostly dedicated to those we DO want to spend time with! The holidays really can be a special and wonderful time to strengthen connections with those you love. Make time for them – plan adventures, make new traditions and be playful!
- SAY NO
When we face spending time with someone we have a negative relationship with, we must ask ourselves these questions:
” Is this worth the time and energy I will exert?”
“Will I come out with my worthiness intact?”
If we answer no to either of these questions we owe it to ourselves to consider declining that invitation. Saying no may cause disappointment, or even anger, but for our own integrity it may be worth it. Practicing this with those who we are less intimate with is a good first step to declining invites from those more deeply rooted connections in our lives.
- LIMIT YOUR TIME
Sometimes we must see difficult people. When this is the case, we can limit the time we spend with them. We can go for dessert instead of dinner or stay in a hotel instead of at their home. However we choose to modify our time with them, we must do it knowing we have the right to. There is no shame in taking care of our own needs at the same time as considering others.
- BE REALISTIC AND PROACTIVE
We can create strategies to help us manage ourselves better by becoming aware of the interactions that consistently take place. This grants us the opportunity to mindfully avoid or change those conditions. This may include avoiding certain topics of conversation or checking the seating arrangements before sitting down at the table. Whatever small steps we take helps us feel the inner-strength to create change for ourselves even if the other person acts the same way.
- BE KIND AND GENTLE WITH YOURSELF
In difficult situations we must treat ourselves with the kindness we wish to receive from others. If we revert to behaviour that feels inauthentic to our true nature we can practice being gentle with ourselves. Getting a hug from a loved one, texting a friend, or going somewhere private to take a few mindful breaths will nurture us and help us let go.
- GO IN WITH A GRATEFUL HEART
No matter what the situation is we can always find something to be grateful for. Gratitude helps us to feel more positive, optimistic and courageous when we face challenging situations. It also helps us focus the good stuff – your aunt’s shortbread, wearing a dress you love, smelling that real fir tree smell, even that you will be leaving soon! The smallest things can change your mood quickly and for the better and help you cope with challenging people and situations.
Relationships can be tricky and at this time we may feel obligated to endure some people we otherwise would not spend time with. Remembering to rely on choosing healthy boundaries will help us manage them a little better.
And by concentrating our time on those we genuinely enjoy being with our holiday season will be filled with happiness.
Wishing you a peaceful and joyful Holiday Season.