TUNING IN THROUGH THE HOLIDAYS
By Dr. Jennifer Richardson
With the holidays nearing and reunification with family and friends fastapproaching, there is much to look forward to and prepare for. However, as thekids and we are shuffled from city to city and holiday party after holidayparty, there are ample opportunities for the holidays to become a source ofstress. Staying in tune with how we arefeeling, what we are thinking, and what we need for ourselves and from othersis especially important during these times. While spending time reconnectingwith family and friends can be rejuvenating and fun, it can also start to feela bit overwhelming or exhausting if too much is piled into our schedules all atonce. Maintaining a balance of quality experiences versus quantity ofexperiences may be important to consider as the holiday party RSVP’s are comingcloser.
In moments when we start to feel stretched too thin and overextended,we become more susceptible to responding ineffectively to our feelings of irritability,fatigue, and impatience. For example, we might be more likely to raise ourvoices and snap at a spouse for leaving a dish in the sink or to yell at thekids for not taking out the trash the first time he/she was asked. Considertaking some time going into this holiday season to plan how to best manage yourtime while balancing spending some quality time with friends and family.Remember to check in with yourself each day and ask yourself, “What am Ifeeling right now? What am I thinking about that is contributing to thisfeeling, and what is it that I need right now to effectively respond to thesituation?” Once you are able to identify what it is you feel you need in thatmoment, try asking for it. For example, instead of responding to a feeling ofbeing overwhelmed by saying to your husband, “You are so inconsiderate! I can’t believe you left your dirty socks inthe living room again when your parents are coming over any minute.” Try sayingsomething like, “I am feeling really overwhelmed right now trying to get thehouse ready for when your parents arrive, could you please help me out bycleaning up your things in the living room and keeping the kids occupied whileI finish vacuuming?” In order to respond effectively to how you feel and what youneed it requires first being in tune with yourself and what you are feeling. Sotake some moments this holiday season to tune in with yourself and you might bepleasantly surprised by the outcome.