Taking Care of Ourselves During the Holidays

“Love yourself enough to set boundaries. Your time and energy are precious.  You get to choose how you use it.  You teach people how to treat you by deciding what you will and won’t accept.”
Anna Taylor

I realize what this sounds like, “Just the holidays?” Not.

There are plenty of us, myself included, who have perceptions problems of ourselves and others. Years of indulging in things other than virgin egg nog produced paranoid, over-reactive, and sensitive reactions. Whether we are in recovery, holidays are notoriously a hotbed of misplaced judgments, ideals, and incorrect thinking.

Pressure Under Fire:

It begins with Halloween. Many of us have planned, as if on auto-pilot, into the week before Christmas up to and including New Year’s Eve. Where/What/How and When will we ever fulfill everyone’s expectations of what they want, how to get it, where we’ll go and when we’ll do or see xxx? Families grow larger, money grows scarce, and demands on the family unit become almost insurmountable.

Notice we never asked WHY. Why are we compelled to overdo, over-react and most-often, over-spend on everyone with nothing left for us? The old, “because it’s what we’ve always done” isn’t good enough anymore.  Times have changed, money has dwindled, while out kids tastes either kept up or exceeded market trends.

Whatever happened to giving a bag of oranges to everyone?

You may want to visit another blog I just wrote entitled “Asking for Help.” Let’s look at energy for example. Many of us were over-expended way before Thanksgiving. We’ve spent almost every waking hour planning, preparing and pushing ourselves so others will have everything they expect, and more. Here are a few things we can do to find balance and make thoughtful decisions for ourselves before we get caught in over-reactions of the Holidays:


Having to do more: This is one of our biggest delusions. We feel compelled to prove to the world we know how to cook, keep an immaculate home with decorations that would make our spouses and families proud and still take care of everyone!

We don’t have to do more. It was a story we told ourselves long ago that never lost its punch. We can ask for help, engage others, do less, or go away for the holidays! What is it that would make your life easier?  What is it you need to ease stress?

Having to please others: No, we do not. It is more important to please ourselves first or we’ll exhaust ourselves before we begin! If we must do the work, we must also divide it with balance in mind, or consider letting it go this year. We examine our motives with each impending chore and ask, “How Important Is It?”

Learning to Keep Opinions to Ourselves: I’ve learned the hard way that nine out of ten people aren’t concerned with my opinions, but never more so, when they were not requested. Everyone has one. Be the one who allows them to roll this year. We never respond if we don’t want to.

Take the High Road: 

Regardless if you are new in sobriety, a “Normie,” or an old-timer, these are a few reminders we can all use to help protect ourselves over the hectic and sometimes disorganized gatherings with families and others:

  • Leave the room, go for a brief walk and returned refreshed.
  • Don’t take part.Just excuse yourself.
  • Don’t judge. This is big. We never know “the rest of the story,” and we feel better leaving this one alone.
  • Become a fascinated observer. No opinions, nor need to communicate. Just observe and be a part of.
  • No Knee-Jerk Reactions. We remember we are in control of our responses and reactions at all times.
  • Have an escape route. Bring your car, leave long enough to call someone, or take a short break around the block.
  • Stay two hours instead of ten. Again, what we do today depends upon balance and what is appropriate for us. We no longer to prove anything to anyone.

If this is helpful to you, please comment below.

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