Emotionally Sober denotes the awareness of our emotions as they happen and the ability to choose our responses with maturity and clarity. How do you do this during the busy holiday season?
If you are like most families, you run from one holiday party to another. You grab your phone to shop Amazon in between events or at stop lights. Sometimes tempers get short and nights get long trying to accomplish all the Christmas prep.
I think Jesus loved a party and the company of friends. He did turn the water into wine when Mary asked in Cana. Also, Jesus asked us to think carefully about our resources of time, money, and energy as Paul shares here.
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart. Ephesians 5:15-19
Listen to our Sober on Purpose Podcast Destress Your Christmas
How Do You Stay Emotionally Sober During the Holidays?
- Build the Joy
Reflect a little on your past holiday experiences. What went well and what did not? How can you foster more of the Joy and less of the not so fun? You can make a list. Not a to-do list but a not to do list. What positive traditions, activities, and thoughts, especially thoughts, do you want to focus on this year?
- Create Plenty of Margin
My dear sweet husband hates the fact that my to-do list is never-ending. I always have one more thing I could do to make life better. What he hates, even more, is all these tasks make me late. Who here hates late? You know what, me too! Last Christmas, I reviewed a book about how not to get it all done. The white space between the activities is where real connection happens. We changed our tradition to have plenty of margin.
- Plan An Escape Route
This works for parties and houseguests. Don’t stop doing the basic caretaking routines during the holidays. Guests will understand if you slip out for a run or go to the gym. At parties or family gatherings, it may be wise to take two cars. If you need a break from all the family bonding, offer to go to the store for last minute items, offer to walk the dog or just go for a walk. You can have a friend call just to check on you. Also, you can be the wingman for your spouse.
- Decided Ahead of Time How Long You Will Stay
If you are traveling by plane, this is done for you; but even, if it is just going across town it helps to have a plan. You can always change it, but a least start by clarifying with your host and your family when the main events will be taking place and plan accordingly.
- Plan Activities
Nothing makes my family more cranky than sitting around the house. Not everyone will want to participate in everything–try several different ideas. A friend of my Mom’s held tricycle races in the basement one year! She said the adults loved it the best! Board games, making cookies, watching a movie, or a few more active indoor games are some are viable. You can find a few indoor games to play here. Sock Fight!
- Plan a Special Drink or Food That Fits Your Needs
If you no longer drink alcohol/soda or eat carbs why not plan to bring something to serve as a fun option for those that are choosing not to drink or pig out on sugary foods find a lot of fun recipes here! Fun drink recipes (warning does contain lots of sugar.)
- Have a Safe Person
Maybe you bring an extra friend to the event (check with the hostess first); or as mentioned in the escape route you just have someone on speed dial.
- Transition Time
Most of us just can’t jump into something right away–settling into a party or a family visit. Say yes to a beverage and just move around the room and feel the vibe. Think Mr. Rogers, he always changed his coat, shoes and sang a song as he shifted from the outside world to the inside of his imagination. Take your time. There really is no rush.
- Make Peace with the Negative Voice in your Head
Ugggh, sometimes the voice in our heads is the loudest of all. Practice before you leave saying nice things to yourself. Have your safe person whisper nice things in your ear. Find a list of affirmations here.
- Do Not Look for Offense
This is like the last one. If you walking waiting for Aunt Cindy to insult you, she most likely will. Later, out of jest, Cousin Sid will surely bring up that time that you… If you go looking for a reason to be upset, most likely you will find one.
- Make Yourself Useful
This is my favorite. Especially, when I do not know a lot of people or am feeling a little tense about the folks I will be spending time with. I get busy. Give me something to do then I feel connected, useful and distracted from the thoughts in my head and often the minor irritations from others.
- Play With the Kids or Pets
Get back in the present, if your mind is wandering to the dark side. Hey, if everyone else is driving you crazy go play. Kids love it when you hop in and offer to play a silly game. In fact, bring a book of Knock, Knock jokes and offer to read to them. Mom’s love the person who is willing to color or play with the little ones while they are busy in the kitchen. Be sure to keep your pets safe.
- Bonus: Meditate! No kidding both secular and religious people do this. A few minutes of quiet in the morning or afternoon will re-center you for the next several hours. Holding your breath is the best way to create anxiety. It will alert everyone, even the pets in the room, that something is wrong–learn to breathe.