The holidays are here! While it is truly a joyous season, it is also a time that is quite nuanced and filled with emotions that seemingly contradict one another. For instance, it's a time of year that is filled with joy and anticipation yet anxiety, stress, and anguish. It’s a time to gather with friends, family, and extended family as we reflect on the year that has gone by while acknowledging and celebrating the present. In the lives of many, it really is the most wonderful time of the year, but for others, it can be burdensome.
If you fall into the latter category, during this time, you may often feel either ill-equipped to manage the totality of the holiday season and its stressors or you feel like you just have to "get through it." While this experience may be the ghost of your holiday past, I’m here to declare that you can and you will do things differently this year…starting right now! You can learn to protect your peace AND establish boundaries all while hopefully having a little bit of fun as you gather with family and friends for the holidays.
Easier said than done, right? I know. Especially for Black families. We have some very familiar challenges we face as a collective:
You know, dealing with obnoxious family members,managing difficult conversations, and balancing being a wife and/or mother if either title applies.
Then, there is the pull to re-enter familiar but unhealthy and unfruitful romantic and platonic relationships.
Oh, and how can I forget the anticipation of the questions you should not have to answer like:
You gained weight, huh?
Are you dating anyone?
How's the marriage?
When are you going to stop focusing on that board room and start focusing on extending your family?
For many of us, all year, we have been fiercely and intently working towards our goals of becoming higher versions of ourselves, breaking the patterns and cycles that keep us stuck. We've been working to establish healthy boundaries that honor our humanity and reflect our values, and put the work in to reclaim our sense of agency. And yet still, gathering with family and familiar environments can erode your confidence and cause you to question your progress. The reality is that the environments and spaces we enter have great influence. But just because we're influenced doesn't mean we have to go backwards.
That is exactly why I want to give you 4 questions to ask yourself to protect your peace and honor your boundaries this holiday season:
1. Where do you anticipate your stress coming from this holiday season?
2. In what ways do you feel equipped to manage this stress? That is, what coping tools and strategies have you mastered that you can put to good use?
3. What relationships do you need to set boundaries around to protect your peace and progress?
4. How do you want to show up differently this year?
These 4 questions will tell you a lot about where you are and if you need additional support. If you find yourself stuck answering any of these questions or feel like the tools you have aren't sufficient to manage the level of stress coming your way, you may need additional support.
If the path ahead to managing holiday stress feels overwhelming and daunting, we are here to help. Join our list for tips, tools, and insights at www.drlawandahill.com or schedule an initial consult to get the extra support you need during the holiday season here: https://calendly.com/drlawandahill/initial-consult
This is the year you can break free form the patterns. I am rooting for you, sis!