5 Therapeutic Tools To Help You Through the Holiday Season

Although the majority of pop-culture depiction of the holidays leaves a warm, fuzzy, and connected familial feeling, it is important to acknowledge and validate that the holidays can be hard for many of us; the overwhelmed, the anxious, the lonely, the othered, the depressed, and even those with the most loving of families. Don’t worry, there are therapeutic tools that can help so you don’t face this alone.

The good part of that sometimes difficult truth is that if you are reading this now, it means you already survived the start of the holiday slide that is Thanksgiving (or Thanks-taking as my Micmac family cheekily calls it).

Congratulations to you, and quite frankly to me too; we did it!

No matter what iteration of an experience you had at Thanksgiving, you are now on the other side. But with no shortage of Christmas carols blaring at every turn, we are also now reminded of the impending presence (no matter our religious beliefs) of December 25th.

Then, there’s the quick follow-up of New Year’s. And let’s be real, New Year’s can ultimately trigger our feelings of failure around every resolution we ever made but could never keep. 

This year, I am here as your virtual therapist to say:

Eff all of these emotionally disruptive traditions and rituals we have unconsciously agreed to in the past.

Let’s cultivate resources and use therapeutic tools to cope with our present rather than repeat the pattern of inundating ourselves with societal norms.

For example, the juxtaposition of a time of year that focuses so heavily on food being follow-up with a time of year focus so strongly on diet and weight-loss, has the potential to feel disorienting and confusing at best, triggering and traumatizing at worst.

Before we go any further, I want to honor that I hold zero judgement around any of these holiday experiences.

In fact, I am transparently naming that even as a therapist and body activist I can experience these feelings as well (yes, we are shockingly human too!) These feelings are not wrong, but we can also honor that they no longer serve us in any way.

So, say a big “see ya” to any feelings of impostor syndrome or self-gaslighting and say hello to these five therapeutic tools to get you through the holidays! 

5 Therapeutic Tools To Help You Through the Holiday Season

Tool 1. Take Space As Needed

There are a lot of unspoken rules that exist within families whom we very may well be spending the holidays with, which ultimately correspond to how we are physically and emotionally holding and posturing ourselves in any given instance.

If you’re still in your decision-making process for what you are going to do/where you are going to spend this time, I would urge you to really sit with what is coming up for you around it.

Do you feel excited to visit? Do you feel like you are obligated to? Is there any new holiday tradition you can envision creating as an alternative?

Check-in with yourself about any unspoken “rules” that may exist around your ability to take up space. Is it something that is encouraged in your family or have you been taught to keep yourself small?

Perhaps in the past, you felt you needed to dress more modestly or speak or eat less, not sharing your opinion or hiding parts of yourself.

Do you notice how you typically feel in your body when you are around them? Does this thought trigger any any sensations/feelings/thoughts/memories?

Allow yourself to cultivate awareness of how you feel in relation to taking up space around the holidays can be an important opportunity to learn more about our needs and how to have them met.

This holiday season, I want to invite you to TAKE UP SPACE! Live for a moment in the capitalized letters of LIFE. Allow yourself to feel big; large; to feel the sensations of spaciousness itself (whatever that means for you).

Maybe it looks like going for that extra slice of pie, maybe it means cultivating awareness of when the space you want or need to take-up may be in a different location than your family.

Whatever it means for you; honor it.

Tool 2. Create An Energetic “Safe Bubble”

Along with the many unspoken holiday rules that get passed down via our families or society, there is also A LOT of energy coming together in one space.

Sometimes energy feels like tension or discomfort; sometimes it feels angry or awkward; sometimes it feels positive and joyful; sometimes it feels like judgement or misunderstanding.

Whatever you have experienced in the past being projected upon you by others has been their energy not yours. So this holiday go-around, I want to invite you to cultivate this affirmation as a therapeutic tool: “Their energy is theirs. My energy is mine.”

Use it liberally and often.

Additionally, utilize your imagination space to create your own energetic safe bubble of sorts to protect against the emotional vampires tapped out on eggnog. I invite you to do this far before you have to engage with various holiday events that you know may be triggering for you.

Take a few moments to mindfully create exactly what the energetic protection is going to look and feel like for you (for example, mine is a burnt orange ever-moving blob of warm energy). Find one way to call this into a physical entity you can bring with you throughout the holidays.

I personally swear by my essential oil sprays and certain rocks and crystals.

The goal of this is so that when your aunt Linda inevitably tells you that you, “don’t really need to eat that,” you can imagine that projection just bouncing off your bubble so that you don’t internalize it as truth

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