Hi there and happy holidays!
It’s the season of giving, and I have the perfect gift for you to give yourself. It’s grace – self-love in action. Good one, right? I asked my dear friend Kalli Kerr, psychotherapist and women’s leadership expert, to share some ways you can do just that. I’ve created this Take a Moment column as a safe space to provide encouragement for you to practice self-care, self-compassion and self-acceptance, and make yourself a priority. And I can’t think of a better time to kick it off than the holidays with some expert advice on how to practice grace with yourself.
Now, sit back, relax and let’s Take a Moment with Kalli.
Gift Yourself Grace
By Kalli Kerr
Ahhh, the holidays. It’s the most wonderful time of the year, right? Or is it? Sure, the season is full of fun parties, great food, champagne toasts, gifting and family gatherings. That sounds like fun, in theory. But in practice, studies show this is also the time of year when some feel the saddest and prone to depression.
Send grace to the rescue! During the holidays, don’t forget to put the oxygen mask on yourself first. Here are a few tips to help you get through some of the season’s most triggering, uncomfortable situations:
Family. Holiday reunions are often a time to reconnect with loved ones. But, hey, no family is perfect. While this can be a special time it can also be stressful. We tell ourselves that everyone is supposed to get along perfectly. But under holiday stress, unhealed family conflicts can be exacerbated, so be mindful of your trigger points. An overly critical parent, a sibling rivalry, or a less than ideal relationship with a child can heighten anxiety and ‘tis the season to be jolly won’t change that.
Politics. Especially in the current climate, politics can be a source of contention. In these situations, it’s important to set appropriate expectations about political debates to avoid full-blown arguments. Remember, any friction you may feel during the holidays is no one person’s fault. Grace allows for you to respect differences of opinion and know when to walk away from a stressful situation.
Significant others. We want to love and be loved by our partners no matter what. However, stress can affect our romantic partnerships. Knowing your own pressure points (working too much, not getting enough sleep, or have you even had lunch today?) can ward off feelings of provocation. And, knowing the stress points in your relationship dynamics can help you proactively mitigate the pitfalls. Do the two of you tend not to feel as connected in a particular situation? Do certain events create conflict? When handled with mutual respect and a desire to understand one another, conflict can lead to heightened intimacy, but timing is everything. Try not to enter a discussion with feelings of aggression, especially if you’re tired or stressed.
Boundaries, boundaries, boundaries. Listen to yourself. Listen to your inner voice. Don’t “it doesn’t really matter” it away. Listen, listen, listen. Respect where you are and be willing to walk away from a negative situation. The holidays ask much of us, but we’re only human. There may come a time when you feel stronger. Resist the temptation to measure yourself against the ideal you rather than who you are. The more you respect your inner world, the better you will be able to react to your outer world and make the most of the holidays (or any days) for you. Keywords -- for you!
You can learn more about Kalli Kerr and follow her on LinkedIn at http://linkedin.com/in/kalli-n-rimikis-kerr-ma-lmft-2b62ba10.