Newsletter: Holiday Survival Guide 2023

Holiday Survival Guide 2023

Many cultures have a celebration of lights around the darkest time of the year. This year it feels particularly meaningful to have holidays that symbolize hope and joy when the days are shortest and many people feel scared or alone. Polyvagal theory teaches that interactions with others can calm the nervous system and helps us feel present, peaceful, and at ease.

Sometimes, it’s not easy to feel grounded and connected to others during the winter holidays. There’s the rush of parties and gift shopping (and returning!) and we often have to spend time with people that wouldn’t be our first choice (co-workers, friends of friends, family members). How can we maintain a sense of calm, connection, and equanimity?

1. Accept people as they are. Are you wishing for that family member that’s hard to connect with to finally change and become more emotionally available? That may not happen. Accepting people as they are can help you maintain your calm and not be as thrown off by difficult behavior.

2. Let go of expectations. When we expect people to behave in a certain way, they often will play the part. But if we’re open to seeing them in different ways, they may surprise us.

3. Maintain self-connection. Take time to connect with your wise self, that kind, calm, curious, compassionate self, that resides in all of us. Even if we can’t access it, it’s always there like the sun is behind the clouds even if there are weeks of cloudy weather.

4. Make time for true friends. Spend more time with the people in your life that truly see and appreciate you for who you are. You know who they are.

During this holiday season my wish for you is to feel calm, connected, and peaceful.

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