When the Holidays Become Overwhelming
Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and New Years are just around the corner.
Are You Prepared?
With all of the excitement that accompanies the holidays, some people, just thinking about it, provokes a great amount of anxiety and grief. If you’re one of those people, there is a great benefit to continue reading. Even if you handle the holidays with great aplomb, you can get through it while experiencing more joy, less anxiety and sadness.
Here are three steps:
1. The amygdala in the back of our brain registers memories and is thought to play an important role in emotion and behavior. Sometimes these are not the best. Think about having an EMDR session to reduce the intensity of any anxiety inducing trauma memory.
2. When we are suffering, sometimes it is best to reach out to others and offer help. Not only does it aid in distracting you, it also produces the brain chemical, oxytocin, which helps balance our mood when we are joyfully helping others.
3. Get in touch with your boundary system and make sure it is secure. Sometimes when we conjure up an actual image, it helps us to better protect ourselves and to focus on the details of our boundaries.
Think of it like this: If you wanted horses to live on your property, you would install appropriate fencing to keep them extra safe. Investing in a good security system that provides alerts, will prompt you to check that your fence is secured, ensuring the horses can't get away. The same is true with boundaries. As soon as anxiety sets in, one should be aware of the many characteristics that can emerge. Take a quick assessment of yourself -- and-- know yourself well. If you seem to be falling, your fence must be down somewhere. Fix it by focusing on the issue at hand and get back to healthier living.
If you feel like you need additional assistance about how to better prepare for the holidays, please schedule a session.
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Christine Cantilena Barnes
A licensed clinical mental health counselor, Christine has been a part of Atlanta’s professional community for over 25 years.