• Carly Kelly-Fairweather

How to get through the holiday season

The holiday season can be a difficult time for many of us. With all the chaos and craziness of finishing the year, old wounds can often appear at the most inopportune time. Spending time with family may be great for some, but some can find this increased contact simply overwhelming. So, what can you do to make it through? How can you feel safe and supported during this often-challenging time of year?

1. Set boundaries

Firstly, be very clear with yourself about what it is you are willing to do, what feels comfortable for you, and what will keep you safe and secure so that you feel a sense of peace during the busyness of the season. This may mean you don’t get to every Christmas party or event but taking this time to acknowledge what is right for you may actually help you through this challenging time of year.

2. Tell your family

It may be a difficult time due to family fractures, complex relationships, challenging dynamics or simply because of the practicalities of seeing two or three sets of families in one day. Once you have a clear idea about what you need then you are more likely to express this confidentially to your family, friends or colleagues. It isn’t easy to often express your needs however again taking this important step can in fact ease some of the stress you may be feeling.

3. Find some time for you

If you are feeling particularly vulnerable at this time of year, if you know it’s a difficult period for you, then take some time out. If it is possible, take a break from work, even have some ‘me’ time. Having the space to allow yourself time to just be may in fact be what gets you through a difficult holiday season.

4. Practice mindfulness

With all the emotions, busyness and competing priorities of this time of year, taking that mindful minute in your allotted ‘me’ time will be so beneficial. If you are feeling overwhelmed, then take the time to practice simple grounding techniques which brings you into the present. Sit in a safe, quiet place and notice 5 things you hear, 5 things you see and 5 things you feel. This simply exercise could help you through a particularly chaotic Christmas Day.

5. Reflect on 2018

The end of year often signifies a time of reflection. A time to acknowledge what has happened and look to a new year. The year might not have gone to plan, it may simply be that you got through each day. But you did, and that is something to stop, reflect on and be proud of.

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