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It’s been a minute since my last blog post. And, I will be the first to admit that I needed to take a beat.

For me, particularly in today’s volatile political world, preparing for the holidays continually requires intentional self-care practices. And, family time can be complicated.

Maybe you can relate?

As I got ready this year for Christmas, I was confronted with a few different feelings: anger, sadness, fear and resistance. I was angry and sad about how anxious I was for large group togetherness time. I was anxious about being around certain members of my family. And, I was sad about how my desire to want authenticity can often hinder my own ability to relax. 

In fact, I was so anxious that my anxiety started to physically disrupt my everyday life: my body would tense, my breath would quicken, I couldn’t sleep, and I started to get anxiety attacks.

I don’t know about you, but I suspect that many of us are scared or anxious when we think about large family gatherings. Personally, I wonder if most of us are worried about belonging so much that it feels especially imperative to distance ourselves from our feelings of anger and sadness.

But here’s what I know: what we resist persists.

So, I’ve been changing the way I practice self-talk prior to large family gatherings.

Here are some things that I did:

I took a hot bath.

I rubbed lotion on my skin while verbalizing reasons that I loved my skin.

I deep conditioned my hair and spoke affirmations about my hair.

I allowed myself to meditate.

I lit incense.

I played a playlist of ocean sounds while I slept.

I prayed.

I connected with friends.

I drank lots of water and I granted myself graciousness.

When I speak gently and lovingly to myself, I can prepare myself for events which I suspect will be emotionally exhausting by strengthening my center.  Reminding myself that I am known, loved, capable and intelligent is a helpful strategy which allows me to re-center myself on my strengths rather than on my fears of what could be.  As a Christian, I often also speak truths about God to strengthen my spiritual self.

What are ways you prepare when faced with a tough situation?

This isn’t a fairy tale story. I didn’t end up at my Christmas gathering without any anxiety. But I noticed that because I had prepared myself mentally, I was able to feel more fully present. I was also able to rely on the strategies and resources I had developed more often than I have been able to in the past. And, these realities felt rather miraculous.

As you end this holiday season, what practices and supports have you incorporated into your everyday life which help you navigate the holidays?

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