My invitation to you is to accept where you are at today. Whether you are cherishing every second or despising every moment or somewhere in between, it is OK to feel exactly the way you are feeling. Remember that your reactions are not fixed in time and they will be changing as you continue your healing journey.
If this current holiday season is a struggle for you, I have a number of suggestions that could help soothe the pain. First and foremost, give yourself as much compassion as humanely possible and then… some more. Remind yourself and your parts OVER and OVER again that emotional and physical struggles are a normal part of any healing journey. Explain to your parts that even though you cannot take pain away, you can soothe it. Hand on the heart practice (see below) is an excellent compassion balm.
Second, If you already practice listening to your parts from a compassionate place, then ask them how you can help. Validate what a part is telling you and then follow through on the request if possible. In the case that aforementioned practice is not a part of your repertoire yet, here are some specific suggestions of things to try:
1. Hand on the heart technique. Put one of your hands on the heart area, focus on the sensation of touch, breathe light into your heart. Repeat soothing affirmations, such as “I know you are struggling right now. Its ok. I love you just the way you are”. If saying “I love you” is impossible in the moment substitute with God, pet, child, etc.2. Move your body in a caring way. Gentle yoga practice is ideal for that. For suggestions and videos of specific poses visit my YouTube channel:
Such practices as Humming Bee breath and Forward Fold tend to be really calming for thenervous system. You only need to preform one of the practices 3-4 times a day to start receiving benefits (overall 5-7 min a day)
3. Set healthy for you boundaries with family and friends. Remember that you can end any unpleasant situation or destructive conversation by a variety of different means, such as excusing yourself to go to the bathroom, shifting to a different topic, explicitly stating that you are not willing to engage in X way, and if nothing else works, simply leaving the situation.
4. Schedule some personal time daily, when you do ONLY what you want in the moment. Give yourself different tools and options, such as paper and markers, calming music, good book,
a bath with essential oils, etc
a bath with essential oils, etc
5. Forgive yourself at least once a day and if needed multiple times a day. Regular forgiveness practice is a must during difficult times. A simple 3 min visualization of love and light that your Higher Self is sending into your heart is a good start.
6. Seek support from the trusted others. Before you leave for the holidays or host family at your home, discuss ways to stay connected via text, email, or phone with one or two close friends. Exchanging even one word or emoji when you feel upset or out of sorts can give you enough resource to do what needs to be done.
7. Prepare a plan B and if needed a plan C. If you are traveling for the holidays, think of the alternative places to stay, people to see, dates and ways of getting back. Always have an exit out of a potentially unpleasant environment planned. Flying by the seat of your pants, when you are going in the situation that has been dysfunctional in the past is NOT a good plan, even if you think everyone has changed since. Also, just a gentle reminder that when we are going into an environment in which we have felt traumatized before, it is very easy to freeze and blank out. This is why it is important to have the plan B spelled out, written down in a place that you have access to, and rehearsed a few times with a trusted friend.
Have a joyful and healthy holiday season!