Last week, my extended family all hopped on a Zoom call to pause, check-in and share our intentions for this holiday season: what’s most important to us during our time together and what we each need right now when it comes to self-care. We decided to dump some old traditions and are choosing to keep things easy, simple and spacious. It felt really good to all get on the same page.
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 (and state of being) before circling up with others.
Entering this 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. I love Judith Orloff’s book “The Empath’s Survival Guide.”
- Making rest a priority (download my virtual Still, Dark & Quiet virtual deep rest retreat; available for a limited time.) 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 gatherings, we often have a dedicated “nap room” for guests. Read more about prioritizing rest.
- 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 extended family 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, I always ask myself, “How bad do you want to feel good?”
- Scheduling post-holiday support now. Book that counseling, mentoring or coaching appointment (read more) for January now, plan a forest walk with a favorite friend for later this month, organize a nourishing girl’s or guy’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 season. There is a reason rates of depression jump around the holidays. Many people are grappling with deep loss, feelings of loneliness and most are experiencing a wide spectrum of emotions. Add to that the ongoing uncertainty born from the last two years and you have a perfect storm for emotional mayhem. 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 mindfulness coach/author/speaker and self-care evangelist Renée Peterson Trudeau. Passionate about helping men and women find balance through the art/science of self-care, Renee has been facilitating high-impact, interactive workshops for Fortune 500 companies, national nonprofits/conferences and organizations/teams worldwide for 25 years. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Fast Company, Good Housekeeping, US News & World Report, AARP, Spirituality & Health and more. She and her team have certified more than 450 facilitators in 10 countries around the globe to lead self-renewal groups/retreats based on her pioneering self-care curriculum. She’s the author of two books on life balance including the award-winning The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal: How to Reclaim, Rejuvenate and Re-Balance Your Life. She and her husband live in Western North Carolina; her latest venture is Wild Souls Nature Adventures. More on Renee here.