Holiday Stress and Blues:
How to Not Let People Push Your Buttons.
Holiday stress and blues – it’s that time again!
The holidays seem to push more buttons than at any time of year. The stress of the additional costs of travel, meals and gifts can make a person feel angry at the financial setback it may cause. The self-imposed competition of making everything perfect – the gifts you give, the meals and parties, that you throw – can be driven by latent insecurities and the need for accolades. If a loved one has passed, there can be an emptiness, a sense of being alone and sadness that they are not there to share the time with you. Family gatherings can bring up old wounds from sibling rivalry to parental criticisms – the wounds of which run deep and have the biggest “buttons”.
Family relationships are some of the biggest triggers that can cause additional turmoil, conflict and stress, especially during the holidays. Old jealousies, judgements, resentments and humiliations can trigger hostile reactions during meals and casual conversation. Angry words can be exchanged which further damages relationships and widens the already yawning gaps.
As difficult as being with family is, being without family has its own set of problems. Geographical distances may make some feel left out of the celebrations. The loss of a spouse, parent, sibling or child can create a void in a person’s life that is felt all year long, but intensifies during the holidays. These situations create feelings of loneliness, sadness, and even regret of something that you did or didn’t say or do.
Some Things You Can Do
If these scenarios are all too familiar to you, there are things that you can do to feel more in control.
- Expect to have a good time and make a plan.
- Choose who you will associate with and decide on “safe” topics to discuss.
- Enjoy the food, the fire, the decorations. Find anything and everything that you can appreciate about the experience.
- Limit your time there. Stop by for 15-30 minutes. If things get uncomfortable, then make your excuses and leave. If you absolutely can’t bear to participate, then don’t and decline the invitation.
- Honor the loved ones you have lost. Do something special in their honor. Reflect on the good times that you shared and feel the love and joy from the memories.
- If you are alone, reach out to friends, neighbors or co-workers who are also alone and plan your own celebrations together.
- Volunteering can give you a purpose and improve your mood. It can help you feel like you are contributing and bringing some relief and joy to those in need.
- Plan an adventure of your own and do something new, or things that you love to do and that give you joy. It can be a vacation away, helping the needy or doing something fun with your pet.
The Best Solution
These are all suggestions that you can “do”, but to eliminate the discomforts of the holidays this year, and for all those that follow, it is best to understand what your buttons are and why you are triggered by them – which goes deeper into “who you are” and why. In other words, it’s not what is wrong with you, it’s what happened to you.
If your parents make comments about how you should have chosen a different career path, what reaction does that create in you?
Is there a sibling that you compare yourself to and always feel that you fall short of their accomplishments, making you fee less than, not good enough or unimportant? Where did those feelings begin? What happened?
Does your estranged spouse, or significant other say or do things to gain favor with your children which makes you feel angry or diminishes your importance?
Do your children want to be with their friends and not participate in the “family time” of the holidays? What button does that push for you?
There are a gazillion buttons that we react to holidays or not. The key is what happened in your life that started it all? It is usually a single incident, that to someone else wouldn’t have phased them at all. But, to you, it created a thought, generated emotions and most likely began a belief about yourself that simmers under the surface and boils up when that button is pushed.
Make Peace with Yourself to Make Peace with Others
The logical solution is to create peace with your emotions around the initial incident and any others that have reinforced it over the years. Therapy is typically used to accomplish this, but there is another, many times, faster way which is Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT or Tapping). It combines talking about the memory while gently tapping on acupuncture meridian points (acupressure). This process helps to neutralize the emotional reaction to the incident.
When that occurs, how you felt about it becomes a non-issue and no longer holds an emotional charge. Sounds crazy right? Unbelievable? No. Because those who have done it know the powerful changes they have experienced. A client recently said “You changed my life!”.
Imagine a Different Kind of Holiday
How would you like to look forward to the holidays this year? Would you like to enjoy friends and family without feeling anxious? Would you like to reduce the stress around the gifts, meals and gatherings? Banishing your buttons could make that happen in less time than you might think.
I am Christine Hunt, a Life Wellness Coach, and this is what I can help you accomplish.
A free, phone consultation could be the first step toward accomplishing that this year. You may schedule it here.
Questions? Contact me here.
Wishing you joy and peace this holiday season.