Tune into how you want to feel:
How would you love to feel over the festive season? Maybe you’d love to feel more relaxed, or to have more fun with your family? Maybe you want to be more organised, or spontaneous? Jot down three or four feelings you’d love to experience. Imagine what you’d be doing to experience these feelings and then as you go about your days, check in to see if your thoughts and actions are aligned with what you desire?
If they’re not, what can YOU do differently? I emphasise the ‘you’ because often when we’re stressed, we try to get others to do things differently, yet when we take back our power and tweak our own behaviours, we experience more satisfaction.
Choose thoughts and actions which bring about your most desired feelings.
Discover your role:
What is the role you take on at this time of year? Are you the hostess with the mostess, all over the food prep, laid back and go with the flow, super organised, (some might say a bit controlling) or are you a reactive fire cracker, trying to control your emotions, yet not quite keeping it together? Or maybe your role is different again?
First thing, figure out the role you step into when you’re with family and ask yourself whether you actually enjoy doing what you’re doing or not. If the answer is yes, fantastic. If it’s a great big no or you hesitate, what would you love to do different? Maybe you’d like more help in the kitchen or you want to be more laid back like your cousin Suzy. Be really honest with yourself and jot down how you would love this time of year to be. Then take little steps to honour what you’d like. This might look like boundaries or asking for help, when people are used to you doing everything. Nothing changes, unless you change.
Choose to show up authentically and honour yourself, just as much as you honour everyone else.
Fill your tank:
Make sure you’re taking time for yourself over this period. If your tank is full and you feel connected to yourself, you’re going to cope with the stressful moments so much better. Write yourself a bliss list filled with lots of activities which help you feel good and then chose a couple of things off your list each day. You may like to get your family to make their own bliss list too. This will give you an insight into what everyone would love to experience and they’ll discover what you desire too.
Make sure you don’t let your self-care slip when you’re feeling good. It’s way easier to keep a cup full, than to drain it empty and then have to find the energy to start all over again.
Remember you matter.
Respond rather than react:
You know when that person triggers the heck out of you at family gatherings? Well I know at times it doesn’t seem like it, however you have a choice in every moment. When you’re feeling triggered, pause, take a couple of breaths and ask yourself ‘how do I want to feel’ your first thought might be calm, or happy or relaxed, breathe those thoughts into existence. Allow your body to relax with each exhale, imagine inhaling fresh air and fresh ideas. Encourage yourself and as you give yourself compassion, you’ll find it easier to see other people through compassionate eyes too.
Try using the Above/Below model.
Try and stay above the line as much as possible.
Be open to what you’re feeling:
Often what we feel intensely, is not actually about what is happening in the moment. Instead we’re triggered from a past situation that feels similar. For example, you feel your mother in-law speaks to you in a certain tone and if you look a little deeper, she has similar characteristics to a childhood teacher, who you felt never liked you at the age of 9. The feelings you’re experiencing take you back to your school days and you find yourself reacting to your mother in-law, like you’re 9 years old again.
When you begin to observe your reactions and ask yourself ‘where have I felt this before?’ You become aware that your inner child is ruling the roost and with this awareness, you can take a breath and shine a light on what’s unfolding within you. By doing this, you step back into your empowered adult self and can reassure your inner child and connect with the person who triggers you from a different perspective.
Remember your breath is a powerful tool which can bring you back into the present moment.
I know it can be hard to change, when your family have known you a certain way for so long, however, I encourage you to be your authentic self. Be true to you, share your thoughts, be vulnerable, set boundaries, let go, step up and love yourself through the process. There is no one else in this world like you, so why not show up being the incredible person you are. Yes some might not like it, however trying to be someone you’re not, is hard work. Why not let yourself off the hook and dive into being more of you.