It's that time again! Holiday time. For some, this brings feelings of excitement and anticipation. While others, stress and a longing to go into a slight hibernation in hopes of by-passing the whole thing is on par. For the former, rock on and see you in 2017. For the latter, read on and hopefully, some of the strategies below will help make this time a little easier, or perhaps, even enjoyable.
#1 Plan Something You Like To Do: It's okay to make plans to do something you like. This can help balance some of the holiday activities you may not have much say about. Maybe it's going for a winter walk, or watching movies by a fire place. Explore the downtown shops or the local cafes you've always wanted to try. Whatever you like to do, plan time to do it or else you run the risk of time slipping by and another holiday season that you did not really enjoy will result. Remember, you don't have to do anything big or expensive in order for it to be fun, enjoyable or peaceful... or whatever it is you want it to bring into your holiday.
#2 Intentionally Create Positive Experiences: You know that Christmas function at Aunt Gertrude's you attend every year with reluctance? Spice it up a little by intentionally creating a positive experience. This could be anything from wearing your favourite ugly sweater to bringing a game everyone can play. Maybe you invite your best friend to help ease the awkward yearly questions asked by family members or you make it your mission to sit beside your most liked cousin whom you can chat up a storm with over dinner. Whatever it is, putting some thought and effort into how you can make the best of the event has to be better than doing nothing and expecting the worse! Maybe it still won't be the best time you've ever had, but maybe it's slightly better than you anticipated.
#3 Find Balance Between Social and Alone Time: This could go either way. Maybe you tend to isolate over the holidays, or perhaps you have difficulty saying 'no' to people. Try to find time for social and alone/down time. This way, you don't run the risk of being lonely, or over booked to the point of exhaustion! Isolating will only make the time go by slower and over booking will leave you worn out and needing a holiday from your holiday.
#4 Don't Forget to Take Your M n M's (Meds and Meals): Your routine and schedule will likely be nudge off track over the holidays. Maybe you're staying up later or going out of town more often than usual. Try to continue maintaining some of the basics in your recovery and wellness. Set an alarm to take your medication and meals so you don't run the risk of forgetting. Keep doing the necessary basics to help maintain your recovery instead of slipping backwards.
#5 Prepare for High Risk Situations: Don't go into the holidays thinking you can wing it. Take some time to know what activities or situations you are going into that are likely going to be stressful, or potentially triggering. This way, you can come up with a plan for how to manage them successfully. Write up a list of counter statements you can use when Uncle Mickey starts making unhelpful comments about weight or when Cousin Mildred gets on about calories. Use opposite action when presented with a food your E.D. is telling you not to have but you know you use to really enjoy. Know who you can call or text in times of trouble or stress. Go to your calm or safe place when you feel unsafe or distressed. In some ways, preparing for high risk situations is like fire drills. They help prepare you in case there is ever a fire to maximize safety and minimize harm.
And remember... regardless of how the holidays go... they will not last forever. Hang in there. One meal at a time, one day at a time, one event at a time. Be gently with yourself, and ease off the perfectionism a little. Allow yourself to say, 'no', when you need to, and 'yes' when you want to. Look at cat pictures of the internet.... like this one. Take time to smile every once and awhile and just 'be'.
(I couldn't resist this little guy... love hairless cats!)
Accessed from: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:2_weekold_Female_Sphynx_(Suki).jpg Dec.12, 2016