Before we know it, the holidays will be here and many of us will get caught off guard with family members. For those of us who struggle with family relationships, the holidays bring up lots of feelings. Many aren't happy ones: fear, frustration, disappointment, loss - the list is endless. So how do we navigate through all these emotional "land mines"? The answer is plan ahead!
Now's the time to start talking about and planning for all the holiday "bombs" that might go off in the next couple of months. Whether it's who's going to go where for each event, gift giving, meal planning or just being with difficult or critical folks, planning ahead and having what to say and do at the ready will make this time of year manageable and maybe even pleasant.
Simple ideas around boundaries (and how to keep them), ways to take space when things get difficult, how to reach out for support and quick tips for journaling will all help make this an easier time. Taking events in small doses; coming late or leaving early will give you some space. Keeping a few "notes" or "sayings" in your mobile device ("on a scale from 1 to 10, how important is this?"), texting someone for support (even if you have to do it in a restroom) and saying a simple prayer under your breath can all help. Even simple "box" breathing will calm you down.
So, don't delay. Take time now to plan what you need to say and do over the next two months. And if you need a professional to help you figure this out, the counselors at Millennium are here for you.
Over the next two months, I'll be writing something every week to help folks through this stressful time of year. Hope you find them easy and helpful. Also hope these "tips" bring a better holiday season for all.
Ann Foster, MTS, LCPC, CADC, CMAT, CDWF
President ~ Executive Director