The holidays are stressful for so many folks. Here are a few ways that you can use your angel to coach you throughout the holidays so you feel refreshed rather than stressed at the end.
Food and drink
For those of you who struggle with eating or drinking too much, here's a way to get your inner angel coach to support you:
- Before you enter a social gathering, decide how much you will eat and drink. For instance, decide that you will have one of each hors d'oeuvre or only have olives and cheese without crackers; that you'll have one mixed drink and one glass of wine or two glasses of wine only. Make a decision that allows you to feel celebratory but ensures that you will feel good about yourself and proud when you wake up the next morning.
- When you have had the food and/or the beverages you decided earlier were okay, take credit for doing what you said and then move as far away from the food or beverages as possible.
- When you hear an internal voice that says, “Well, this is a celebration. It's okay to have a bit of excess,” respond to that voice that you would rather feel proud of yourself the next day. Engage in a dialogue with the character who is urging you to do something other than what you agreed on. As strong as the voice is that urges you to change your plan, that is the amount of strength your angel needs to support you to stay with your plan.
For those of you who like a small amount of social contact, who consider yourself to be introverts, and/or who feel uncomfortable in big groups, here are some ways that your angel can support you:
- Before you go into the social milieu, take a few moments to breathe, quiet your nervous system, and tell yourself that you will be okay, that anxiety around people you may not know is normal (stranger danger), and that it is okay for you to stay a short time.
- Decide on a minimum time for you to stay that is long enough to engage in a few conversations.
- Choose how many new people you will meet and/or how many folks you know that you will connect with, if only for a few minutes.
- When you enter the gathering, take time to arrive, meaning slow down, look around, scope out the situation, and look for anyone you might know.
- You may want to find the host and hostess and say hello, or you may want to simply walk around, see who is there, where the food and drinks are, what the music situation is, and gather any other contextual data. Do whatever makes you feel most comfortable.
- If you know some other people at the gathering and you like them, start by going over to them, greeting them, and engaging in a conversation. That may ease some of your tension.
- If you don't know anyone, you might go over to the chips and dip table or the beverage table and hang out there. Since so many people go to both, it may be easier to start a casual conversation with someone there.
- When you've been at the gathering for at least the minimum amount of time you committed to, check in with yourself to see if you spoke to new people, engaged in conversations, or did whatever you agreed to do before you walked in. If you did, congratulate yourself. If you didn't, take the next few minutes to do something that you had committed to.
- When you are ready to leave, give yourself a pat on the back for going to the gathering, for doing all of some of what you wanted to do.
For those of you who experience a high level of stress when around your family, here is one way your angel can support you:
- Before you go to a family gathering, start with the end in mind. Reflect on how you want to feel about yourself, your family members, and anyone else who may be there. Keep it fairly simple like, “I want to feel proud of myself for staying out of any arguments, for being gracious and polite, for getting curious about how others are doing.”
- When you have a clear focus for the end you have in mind, think about what obstacles might arise that get in the way of your success. For instance, you might recall that when your family begins to speak about politics, people get cross with each other. Or you may think about the amount of alcohol that people drink and know that conversations start going south by the end of dinner. Whatever the catalyzing events are that create difficulty for you, get clear about what one or more of those are.
- Decide in advance how you want to deal with some of these tricky or sticky situations. It may be as simple as getting up from the table and helping whoever is in the kitchen or taking a walk with a family member. It could be that you say something like, “Hey you all. Let's talk about something like [insert example here] since it is an easier subject for us.” Whatever you decide, make sure it is something that you can do easily and gracefully, without making a big to do.
- Before the gathering, come up with some Angel reminders such as, “It's okay to step aside and take some time for yourself” or “It's okay to move into a witness position and observe the interactions of others.” Come up with any easy-to-remember phrases or words like breathe, slow down, etc. that will help you stay calm and balanced.
- Express gratitude and appreciations. It will boost your own and others' oxytocin level. This is a good thing.
- Remember to have fun, feel joy, and relax. Your brain will be happier.
- Give yourself a pat on the back after interactions that go well or you like how you're being. That will start the flow of dopamine from your reward center and it will motivate you to keep on the positive trajectory.
Gifts and your angel
Enjoy your holidays. If there are any areas of life you would like me to address from the angel perspective for the December 30th post, please send in your requests.
Thanks as always.