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Counseling Center of Cherry Creek

Presence required this holiday season!

December 12, 2016
Posted By: Counseling Center of Cherry Creek


Denver CO CounselingAre you feeling stressed this holiday season?


If ‘yes,’ then you are not alone. Holidays can be stressful.


Often times, while we are expected to rejoice in the thankfulness of the holiday season, we are unfortunately left muddling through the complicated verbal, and more often, non-verbal, engagements with our loved ones. 


As we are smack-dab-in-the-middle of the holiday season, there is great promotion within the media with suggestive tips for you to try and use in order to “just get through the holidays,” especially if you are in a challenging dynamic (separation, divorce, complicated relationship with parents, in-laws, or siblings, etc.).  And while, some of the media suggestions could be helpful to you, I want to dive into the helpful idea of "getting through it." 


This concept of pushing through your holiday solicits the notion that these moments must be hurried along, must but gingerly handled with the utmost care, and something where you must avoid potential negative interactions.


However, pushing through can create a great loss.


What you can lose by "justing getting through it" is the opportunity to step outside of your comfort zone, show up in a new way and challenge yourself to grow in new and sometimes exciting ways. Then there is the loss of being present and in the moment. Going into a holiday gathering only visualizing the end of it keeps you from actually being in it, and prevents you from being an active participant. 


"Getting through it" may be a tempting idea to use this holiday season, but before you are quick to jump at the idea of pushing through your engagement, consider this:


How fully present do you want to be in your life? How satisfied to you want to be with how you show up in the world? 


Not satisfied because it was easy, but satisfied because you showed up in an authentic, mature way.


Some ways you can not just get through your holiday include:

  • Be present and aware
    • We are talking mindfulness at its core!
      • Be in the moment with your audience 
      • Focus on their words
      • Engage fully in their conversation
        • Ask questions! How might their topic relate to you?
  • Keep your core values at the forefront 
    • Consider what you find to be most important in your life 
    • Explore how your values shape your thoughts/feelings/behaviors 
    • Consider how these values impact your engagements
    • Get aquatinted with setting boundaries if and when needed


  • Share what you love 
    • Is there one (or more!) area in your life that you are really engaged in and enjoying?! Share it with your audience! 


  • Keep feelings in mind
    • Know your audience: consider who you are speaking with and the topic of conversation. 
    • Recognize your location
    • Acknowledge the other person’s point of view, even if you don’t agree with it.


  • Know when and how to close out a conversation
    • Have some transition phrases in your back pocket.
    • Consider tabling the conversation for another time.


While this time of year can be increasingly stressful, and perhaps the notion of change is anxiety-producing for you, this is also a time of year of growth and change. 


Ask yourself, is this anxiety getting stirred up because of the impending change you are about to make, or because engaging in a potential new manner is overwhelming?


Your gut reaction may be to run from this change however that *fight or flight response* might also be an invitation to growth and transformation.


Don’t just push through your holiday this year. Show up. Be present. Be engaged. Be in the moment this holiday season.


Call us today if you want to learn more ways to be present this holiday! Call now (720) 457-3342. Our licensed therapists are hear to serve YOU!

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