Northport Wellness Center bilingual licensed social worker and mental health therapist, Erika Valencia, offers expert advice on how to overcome challenging holiday triggers and enjoy the holidays!
It is no secret that the holidays can be the most beautiful time of the year for some, and the most challenging time for others. There are multiple reasons why we may experience emotional and mental health challenges during this time of year. They may include unresolved trauma or current stressors, feelings of emptiness, or challenging family dynamics.
Here are a few tips to help survive and cope with mental and emotional challenges brought on by the holidays:
Honor Your Feelings
It is important to honor your emotions and hold a safe space for what you are feeling without judgement. Our family, culture and society often teach us that the only emotions we should experience are the positive ones such as happiness, excitement and calmness. All feelings are important and all emotions play an essential role. Embracing and accepting all our feelings, helps us stay attune to ourselves and understand who we are.
One of the hardest things to do and the most essential, is establishing boundaries. It feels so uncomfortable because perhaps growing up with a space to speak up was not provided and we normalized staying quiet and following through. Placing boundaries starts by connecting to what we like and dislike. By doing this, we can identify an action plan that will help us navigate the uncomfortable.
Mindfulness will help us stay in the now and not focus on the past or future. Not staying present can increase our sadness, fears, anxiety and guilt. Mindfulness is a great opportunity to focus on what is currently available to us and increase our gratitude. Gratitude is the key to increasing our awareness of what we have, and therefore continuing to attract more of these great things to our lives.
Random Acts of Kindness
Sharing is transformative. As we remove ourselves from the equation, it allows us to make someone else happy. By sharing, we boost our immune system, relieve pain, and make our hearts stronger.
By recognizing holiday triggers and having the tools at hand to combat them, you can not only overcome obstacles but also enjoy this special time of year.