Less holiday stress and more holiday fun…even with pain.

By Lorraine Faehndrich

Ways to have less holiday stress and experience less pain during the holidays

If you are a recovering perfectionist, like me, the holidays can trigger old patterns of putting lots of pressure on yourself!

Whether that’s pressure to keep up, maintain old traditions, get through an unrealistic to-do list, or achieve an imaginary and idealized image of the holidays, this time of year can create A LOT of extra holiday stress…physical and emotional.

You may find yourself worrying, judging yourself, snapping at the people you love, or feeling inadequate or alone, all due to added holiday stress.

Which is all even more difficult when you’re in pain.

Not only because of the added time and social expectations, but because you need to be flexible and willing to not meet some of those expectation.

Last week on my monthly Healing Female Pain community call, the amazing women in the group brought some questions about dealing with holiday stress and emotions.

The two main topics were:

1. Worry around family interactions, especially conflict.
2. Overwhelm from attempting to do everything (especially when others aren’t pitching in or following through).

I wanted to share some of what we discovered with you!

Here are some very effective ways to decrease holiday stress, and cultivate more ease, joy, and fun this holiday season!

1. No matter what…maintain a DAILY mind body practice.

Whenever we go through periods of higher stress or emotion, it is inevitable that our unconscious patterns of dealing with that stress and emotion will kick in.

In other words, in mind body language, that means more decoys, more dissociation, more lizard thinking, and more emotion suppression. In order to stay connected to your body and keep your emotions flowing in a healthy way YOU NEED time for yourself, and preferably a structured mind body practice to prevent your symptoms from flaring up…or managing better even if they do.

When you’re going through times of higher stress and emotion, it’s more important than ever to make the time to come back to your body, emotions, and soul.

2. Stay in your own business.

This is a principle from The Work of Byron Katie. If you haven’t heard me say this before, it basically means that you are responsible for your own thoughts, emotions, and actions…and ONLY you’re own thoughts, emotions, and actions…not anyone else’s.

This means that you are responsible for making choices that feel good to you, for taking care of yourself, setting boundaries when you need to, making space for your emotions, leading your mind, and acting in integrity with your body and your truth.

And, you are NOT responsible for anyone’s reactions, thoughts, or emotions about your choices about any of the above.

If you need to say no to something, say no. If you need to let go of something, let go. If you need to make time for your practice, make time. Trust yourself.

Everyone else will survive, and if they don’t, the good news is, it’s not your business!

3. Focus on connection.

If you’re holding any ideas of what you or anyone else “should” be experiencing this holiday season…whether that’s about presents, decorations, interactions, or anything else…I invite you to identify those expectations and choose to drop them like a hot potato!

The root of most holiday stress stems from judging our experience and thinking that it should be a certain way, and usually different than it is. You can’t always control what’s in your life right now, or what happens over the next few weeks, but you don’t have to feel much much better.

One great way to circumvent any perfectionism around what you wish you could do, or think you should, is to focus on connection. Connect to yourself, to your thoughts, your body, and your emotions. Connect to your friends and family. Connection is SO simple. All you have to do is notice and be present with what is in front of you. You don’t have to change a thing.

When you notice you’re feeling holiday stress, pushing yourself, or putting pressure on yourself, stop for a minute and consider…“How would I be doing this or what might I be doing differently if my goal right now were connection?”

Wishing you a warm, cozy, magical and connected holiday season!

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