The holidays can be a wonderful time. They can also be a time full of stress, anxiety, and fear. For those of us in abuse recovery, it can be especially difficult. I want you to know that I see you and I understand. As much as I love Christmas, it’s also extremely hard for me. So first off, I want you to know that you’re not alone.
As I was thinking through how I’ve survived the holidays in the past, I found a pattern and it made me pretty excited for this year. I’ve been doing a lot of work on myself over the last couple of years and it’s only been amplified as I’ve helped other women.
But even if this is your first year making yourself a priority, this strategy will work.
Below I share the top 3 things that you can do to prepare your brain for this crazy time so you can actually enjoy it. Let’s go!
Pinpoint what makes you anxious
Before doing anything else in your holiday preparations, you need to take some time and think about why you feel so on edge. While you may be rolling your eyes at me saying “…the holidays, dude. ALL OF IT.”
While that may be descriptive, you need to dig a little deeper.
If you don’t know what’s specifically triggering you, there’s no way to prepare for it.
If you’re not able to think of something right off the bat, that’s ok. Go grab a journal and turn to a fresh page. Set the timer for 5 minutes and just begin to write about Christmas. Whatever comes to mind, write it down. You don’t have to stop after the 5 minutes if you’re on a roll, but you do need to write for at least the full time.
Once you’re done, look back and read through what you wrote down. A lot of it may not make sense, but there’s a good chance you’re going to find some things you didn’t realize were really making you anxious.
Maybe its a certain family member or a place. Maybe it’s a memory that triggers you. Whatever it is, once you find it, you’re able to prepare for it.
This is one of the hardest things to learn, but absolutely the best thing you could ever do for yourself.
Learning how to set and keep boundaries is something that was really difficult for me. As a people pleaser, my worth existed in what other people thought of me. So when I finally decided enough was enough and set boundaries, I felt like everyone hated me. A lot of the time, I didn’t put any effort into keeping my boundaries, which made setting them pretty pointless.
It wasn’t until I figured out how to set and keep boundaries that my life truly changed.
If I could give just one piece of life changing advice, it would be this:
If they don’t respect your boundaries, they don’t respect you. If they get mad at you for having boundaries, they don’t truly care about you.
It’s a tough pill to swallow but it’s true.
Everytime you let someone violate your boundaries, you’re teaching them that your boundaries don’t matter and that you’re not important.
I go over this in detail in my Build your Boundaries course, but the basics are this:
Decide on what the boundary is and why it’s important to you
Communicate that boundary, whether it’s with a family member, friend, partner, etc.
Don’t allow others to guilt you out of it; accept that you matter, too.
Be consistent. The more you do it, the easier it will become.
You’ve recognized what makes you anxious, you’re learning how to set boundaries with the people that make you anxious, but now you have to get prepared. Allow yourself to think through the worst case scenario and begin to think through it.
Whether it’s calling your mom, going to a family Christmas party, or even just a family zoom call, you need to think through how you’re going to handle the situations that are going to make you anxious.
For example, if you’re going to a family Christmas party, it may be a good idea to bring your own car. That way if you feel uncomfortable, you can leave at any point. Even if you don’t end up needing it, just knowing that you can leave whenever you want to can help ease your anxiety.
Maybe it’s facing your mom and knowing that she’s going to ask about the relationship that you just got out of. How are you going to handle that? What boundaries do you need to get comfortable with now?
Pull out a journal and just begin to brain dump all of the things that are making you anxious. Then you can think of different ways you can prepare for it.
Just the act of going through the motions not only will keep you calm, but it will help your brain feel a sense of predictability which means it will function better when the situation comes up.
The holidays can be tough, but you’ve got this.
You deserve to enjoy the holidays. Just be sure to figure out what it is that makes you anxious, learn how to set and keep boundaries, and begin to prepare for the situations you’re worried about.
If you commit to doing this, you’ll find that your brain is much less a chaotic mess. You’ll finally gain control over your life and begin to let go of what’s holding you back. And that is one of the most powerful things you can do.
I know you can do this.
You’re capable and deserving of a beautiful holiday season.
Everything is always easier said than done. Doing this work isn’t easy but it’s always so worth it. One of the biggest reasons we struggle during the holidays is that we don’t believe in ourselves. We don’t feel confident in any area of our lives, especially when it comes to family members.
Confidence plays a bigger role in our lives than you may realize. That’s why I created my FREE Confidence Course!
This is a five day crash course in confidence with me as your coach. Every day for five days I’m going to share with you the exact same framework that I give my clients. In less than 15 minutes a day, you’re going to have all the skills needed to live your most confident life.
This course has impacted so many women’s lives and I know it will help you, too. Click here to grab yours!