My brother and sister-in-law cancelled Thanksgiving. Not really. But they did make the choice to postpone hosting a large family gathering family due to COVID. I get it. I’m hearing stories just like this all around me, and it’s bringing up all kinds of big feels.
This time of year can be particularly emotional, intense and taxing on our relationships. And gatherings can be stressful if you’re not mindful and aware of your own needs before circling up with others.
Entering the holiday season intentionally and with a bit of emotional self-care preparation and planning could be the best gift you could receive this holiday. Consider:
- Staying in your own rowboat. We are all energy beings but we often forget this when we gather as a clan. Feeling off? It may not be you. Own your own stuff, but be mindful to not absorb other people’s anger, sadness or frustration.
- Making rest a priority (read more). We can get really cranky really fast if we’re over-doing, going to bed too late or committing to things that don’t feed us. At our family gathering this week, we’ll have a dedicated “nap room” for guests.
- Setting a hard beginning and ending time for visits. A really sweet time can head south fast if folks overstay their welcome. Make sure and get on the same page about the length of celebrations and stays.
- Dropping expectations. Enough said. We can get bent out of shape when we don’t go with the flow and practice “good is good enough.”
- Keeping your self-care at the top of your to-do list. Stay hydrated, eat nutrient-dense foods, keep sugar and alcohol to a minimum and move your body every day! I’m all for indulging occasionally, but ultimately, “How bad do you want to feel good?”
- Scheduling post-holiday support now. Book that therapy or coaching appointment for Jan. 2, plan a walk with a favorite friend or mentor, organize a nourishing girl’s or boy’s night out. These touch points will help you recalibrate and find your center post-holiday craziness.
- Focusing on connection. When attending a family gathering, I always ask myself, “What if this were the last time I were to see _______?” This puts things in perspective. I love the reminder: You can be right or you can be in relationship.
Be extra compassionate and understanding with yourself, your loved ones and friends this week. There is a reason the suicide rate always jumps around the holidays. Many people are grappling with deep loss, feelings of loneliness and most are experiencing a wide spectrum of emotions, particularly now (for more support read When Holiday and Pandemic Stress Collide). When in doubt, be generous and kind.
Maya Angelou said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
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Subscribe here to Live Inside Out, a weekly blog written by life balance coach/author/speaker Renée Peterson Trudeau. Passionate about helping men and women find balance through the art and science of self-care, her work has appeared in The New York Times, Good Housekeeping, US News & World Report, Spirituality & Health and more. She and her team have certified more than 400 facilitators in 10 countries around the globe to lead life coaching groups and women’s retreats based on her work. She’s the author of two books on life balance including the award-winning The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal. She lives in Brevard, NC and Austin, TX with her husband and is enjoying being a recent empty nester. More on Renee here.