I don’t know about your family, but there are a few movies that I know we will be watching together come the holidays. There are a few classics we traditionally watch the day after Thanksgiving when we put up the Christmas tree or on Christmas Eve. One of them has always been National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation starring Chevy Chase. I thought it was funny as a kid, but now I see that movie as a fine wine...it gets better with age.
I can better sympathize the character of Clark Griswold, who so dearly wants to celebrate a most memorable and perfect Christmas with his family. He bends over backward to decorate the house with probably over a million lights. He treks through the wilderness to find the best, most magnificent tree. He braves the malls to find just the right gifts, labors over a holiday feast, and so on. Despite his earnest heartfelt efforts, he is met with the perils of his own faults, as well as the chaos and mayhem that ensues when you bring a group of family members (along with all of their idiosyncrasies) under one roof.
As I get older, I realize that I will never be able to recapture all the feelings responsible for giving me a sense of nostalgia for holiday seasons past. Things change of course...what's that saying, you can't go home again? An adult, I’m sure, will always experience this time of year differently from a child to one degree or another. Adults face demands to run the show, pay the bills, manage the family feuds, and to the best of our ability, keep a smile on our face while we honor the spirit of holiday cheer, generosity, and gratitude.
I’d like to preserve your ability to enjoy this upcoming holiday season by asking you to take a minute to recognize any triggers that lead to holiday stressors for you. Awareness helps, beating the stress by making a plan and taking action is even better. Think about what causes of concern you have as the holidays approach.
Finances tight? Maybe you’re worried your waistline won’t be able to handle any extra calories? Make a budget or an eating plan and stick to it. If you’re worried you’ll overspend or overeat anyways, I can help you make the necessary adjustments in your habits and attitudes to help you stay on track. Do you get a pit in your stomach when you think about having to deal with that “special” member or members of your family? Give yourself permission to skip out on certain events or conversations. Ask yourself why you would put yourself in situations that you dread?
If you’d like to strategically prepare yourself for handling or avoiding interactions with family, friends or coworkers - know that I can help you integrate the skills to do so. There are many dynamics that go on at parties and family gatherings which can create the potential for good times, or the worst of times :/ Hypnotherapy and Neuro-Linguistic Programming are excellent methods for creating new internal strategies (helping you to keep calm, confident, outwardly focused, acting assertive when necessary, etc.) to ensure your responses and interactions with others are from your most resourceful state – no matter how others are choosing to interact with you.
The key is to these methods is getting yourself into a calm, clear state of focus and intention. Relax your breathing and your body. Focus your mind on how you'd like to see yourself handling situations that have caused you stress but purposefully visualize yourself handling things in an ideal way. Whether it's by being more calm, taking preemptive action or being more assertive. You can imagine a role model whom you think would handle the situation more ideally, standing in your place instead if it's too hard to imagine seeing yourself behaving the way you'd like to at first. Watch it from a third person perspective in as much detail as possible. Note you or your role model's posture, body language, breathing, voice inflections, etc. Then try it on and rehearse how you'd like to handle this situation from a first-person perspective. This brain exercise allows you to integrate and prepare yourself for a new behavior.
You don’t have to be a holiday hater. With a little planning and some helpful thinking, you can enjoy greater peace and more thanksgiving throughout the holiday season. There are steps you can take to prevent undue stress and grief. Recognize your holiday triggers, such as financial pressures, personal demands or pitfalls, so you can prevent them before they lead to a breakdown. The Mayo Clinic has an excellent list of tips to prevent holiday stress and depression. Reach out if you need any help putting them into practice.
If you’re looking for effective hypnotherapy and NLP in the Seattle/Tacoma area of Washington state, click here to book your appointment now. If you’re not local, you can still contact me and we can consult to see if phone or video sessions are right for you! Call 206-552-8374 if you have any questions before getting your desired results.