Category Archives: Holidays

Christmas Self-Care: Energy, Time, Emotion & Money

spend

Spend only the energy, emotion, time, and money you can afford to spend.

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Holiday Self-Care Tips

This page of self-care tips is for everyone who finds Halloween, Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Christmas, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day an unhappy experience. I looked for quotes that go against what most people say and think about the holiday season.

I wrote these to help you pick those strategies that seem most suitable to you. If you think you need help developing your self-care tips, consider my Online Holiday Art Coaching Group.

Most of my life’s work has been spent with people who experienced abuse, trauma, grief and tragedy. I worry that someone with unhappy, abusive, and traumatic histories might feel isolated and alone during the holidays.

Watch this space. I’ll be adding a self-care tip daily. There are 2 other holiday pages: Quotes and Holiday Myths.

Halloween-Self-Care-Tip-1

You find your truth by asking yourself questions and listening to your thoughts and feelings. Part of this is what you’ve experienced. In this case, we’re talking about trauma, tragedy, grief, abuse, and harassment. These events and what you have experienced. It might surprise you to realize that the way you think and feel is normal for someone who has experienced events like yours.

There is more to your truth. Your truths also involve what you believe, need, want and think. These are often private thoughts that you don’t share with others.

Knowing your truths is one way you can make self-enhancing holiday plans.

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This one takes a bit of practice. You do have to go up against your own inner rules about your feelings. You might also need to go against the feelings rules of everyone else around you.

Like I wrote above, your feelings are normal given your history. If you acknowledge your feelings, you can make plans that are more suitable to you.

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Most people with painful histories judge themselves as bad and wrong for existing. I usually call this the “wrong rule.” It goes like this. I’m too fat, too thin, too tall, too short, too loud, too silent. If I think it, feel it, want it, need it, I’m wrong. And the wrong rule is simply by itself—wrong.

Instead, you want to turn this thought behavior on it’s head. Instead of judging yourself around the holiday season, find ways to make yourself right. Then find ways to self-soothe and comfort.

This one is easier than it sounds. You can pick any small are large thing you think, are or do and deliberately to yourself give yourself credit for it. When I began using this tool, I started very small. Every day, I praised myself for washing my face and brushing my teeth. There are many ways to expand this. But first you need to develop it as a habit.

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So many people who have experienced abuse, neglect, abandonment, trauma, and harassment just take the blame on themselves. It’s an easy mental trick. You, probably unconsciously, think “If I’m at fault, I can change this!”

Since we cannot control other people abuse and all the rest above have never been your fault.

This requires a lot of self-talk.

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For the upcoming holidays, you can listen to your wants, needs, and desires. It might take determination, but you can decide to ask yourself what you would like your holiday to be like. And then plan it just for you.

There are so many choices. Some of the possible choices will be posted here in the near future. The range is from ignoring the holidays completely to planning a holiday that matches your wants, needs and desires.

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Okay, okay, I know the stores are full of holloween candy! The television is advertising halloween scary movies. And right now, halloween is everywhere. In a few weeks, Thanksgiving will be imposed upon you in advertising, on television, at work and throughout your friendships. You can tune it out. Make alternate plans for yourself. Politely say, “no” to invitations. “Thank you, but I cannot” is a simple example.

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There is no right way to celebrate or not celebrate holidays. It’s a matter of finding out what is best for you. Some people find service allows them to turn their misery into moments of blessings. Others find it does the opposite.

Ask yourself what Y O U R needs are. You can ponder all of these ideas and pick the ones that are best for you.

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If you belong to a church, are comfortable in church, one way to spend the holidays is to involve yourself with the church of your choice.

Your feedback is important! If you have holiday quotes that are meaningful to you, please add them to the “Leave a Reply” box at the bottom of the page.

If you wish to say more, e-mail me at agentledrlaura@mail.com or by using the contact me box below.

If you like my writing and are interested in applying some of these ideas, subscribe to my newsletter.

email: agentledrlaura@mail.com                                         Telephone: (615) 464-3791

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©2016-17 by Laura Coleman, Ph.D.  All rights reserved.                    Privacy Policy

 

 

Holiday Myths Held by People with Trauma

This page of holiday myths is for everyone who finds Halloween, Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Christmas, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day an unhappy experience. I listed this series of false beliefs about the holidays because false beliefs tend to act as self-judgment. They often end up as an abusive stick to criticize yourself with as you try to live through a difficult time.

Most of my life’s work has been spent with people who experienced abuse, trauma, grief and tragedy. I worry that someone with unhappy, abusive, and traumatic histories might feel isolated and alone during the holidays.

It is my hope that you challenge these beliefs or at the very least remind yourself that they are false. In the Holiday Art Coaching Group we will be talking about tools to use for this.

Watch this space. I’ll be adding a myth daily. There are 2 other holiday pages: Quotes and Self-Care Tips.

Holiday Myth 1 colemanlifecoaching.com

This is a myth that you can walk into a space that reminds you of unhappy memories and just block it out. Not only is that not good for you, it hurts more.

I remember the first year of holidays after my late husband died. As I lived the year’s cycle of holidays, I was hit with such grief.

Instead of blocking the memories and feelings, think about them. Think about what you need. Then find a way to give it to yourself.

Holiday Myth 2

I’m not sure this is true for anyone anywhere. It’s harder for people whose life experience tells them that holidays can be tragic, painful, and scary.

I’m probably repeating myself over and over, but no one nowhere eliminate unhappy feelings.

Accepting your feelings and comforting yourself is key.

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I’m sure I’m not alone in wishing this was actually true. But you cannot. This is especially painful during holidays. Instead, if you can remind yourself you are normal, this will be a tiny bit easier.

Instead, if you can remind yourself you are normal, this will be a tiny bit easier.

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The cruelty of this belief is that people really try to get into the swing of things no matter what has happened to them. And because it’s impossible to do without some deliberately acquired  skills and actions, they fail. Then their inner critique makes lots of noise. In coaching we call this self-criticism, gremlins. This myth gives your inner gremlins lots of permission.

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This probably is self-evident. No one always loves everything. The oppressiveness of this belief is that it can leave you feeling out of step.

Even worse, you might falsely believe that if you cannot love the holidays, you deserve to be unhappy. In this way, people deny themselves the comfort they need.

I remember the Easter I was chased and attacked by a gang of roudy boys. They hit me with bricks and threw me down in the mud. I think, at ten years old, I was most offended by the fact they ruined my beautiful lavender organza dress.

I find Easter uncomfortable. The candy is problematic for me. I get to comfort myself and make regular plans for how I will cope with this holiday.

Your get to do the same for yourself.

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If you have a chronic illness and research does show that early childhood trauma increases lifetime illness, then you might hope this belief is true.

Chronic illness has it’s own special considerations. Self-care, pacing, and realistic expectations are all part of living day-to-day with chronic illness. Unfortunately, not everyone in your life will have reasonable expectations of you. This requires much self-honesty and assertiveness. And that is difficult.

Your solutions begin with gaining your own realistic expectations of yourself during the holidays.

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Again, if you live with chronic illness or have multiple demands upon you, this myth can be brutal. I live with chronic illness and find it difficult to do everything my mind can think of. Sometimes I visualize a fancy holiday party with foods, decorations, and such. Or making a creative costume for myself and my husband. Instead, I have to stay within my energy envelope. I only have so many energy marbles in my jar before I ‘lose my marbles’ to my chronic medical conditions.

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When I wrote this one, I thought, “Well, that’s rediculous!” Then I remembered how many times I tried to please everyone in my life. It’s quite difficult to challenge this one, because the people who want you to please them will argue about it. It might help to realize that the only person who can change this burden on you is you.

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I’m not certain I can write anything wise about this. I do remember years I’ve thought, “it’s okay, it’s the holidays” while I ruined whatever healthy eating plan I was following.

Your feedback is important! If you have holiday quotes that are meaningful to you, please add them to the “Leave a Reply” box at the bottom of the page.

If you wish to say more, e-mail me at agentledrlaura@mail.com or by using the contact me box below.

If you like my writing and are interested in applying some of these ideas, subscribe to my newsletter.

email: agentledrlaura@mail.com                                         Telephone: (615) 464-3791

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Credentials Verified by Psychology Today.

©2016-17 by Laura Coleman, Ph.D.  All rights reserved.                    Privacy Policy

 

 

Holiday Quotes for People for Whom the Holidays Are Difficult

This page of quotes is for everyone who finds Halloween, Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Christmas, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day an unhappy experience. I looked for quotes that go against what most people say and think about the holiday season.

Most of my life’s work has been spent with people who experienced abuse, trauma, grief and tragedy. I worry that someone with unhappy, abusive, and traumatic histories might feel isolated and alone during the holidays.

I picked quotes that seemed to me to express something other than the giddy happiness you see over the airways, on the net, in restaurants, stores, and so on. The pressure to be happy is everywhere.

This page and the following pages of holiday myths and self-care tips are all designed to help you handle this year’s season.

Holiday Quote 1

This quote just appeals to me for the feelings of Halloween. If you feel it’s all “toil and trouble”, consider trimming down your celebration. Or eliminating it altogether.

Holiday Quote 2

I was considering how scary Halloween could be to people who have been traumatized early in life. My cousin babysat for me early in life and told me the story of her first day taking care of me. I was an infant and naturally have no memory of this. She was five and not told it was Halloween. No candy to give out. No preparation for the costumes ringing the bell. I still feel the anxiety I felt when she explained this to me sometime in my twenties.

I still feel the anxiety I felt when she explained this to me sometime in my twenties.

When I was searching quotes, this quote reminded me of that feeling. And it’s okay to feel scared. Just also think of ways to comfort yourself.

Holiday Quote 3

“I definitely do not like Halloween. I don’t like masks, creepy clowns, dark things, goblins or witches. They’re not just my thing.” Tyler Perry. If you feel like this, know that you are not alone.

If you feel like this, know that you are not alone. You don’t have to like “masks, creepy clowns, dark things, goblins or witches.”

If you can acknowledge this without judging yourself, you can find ways to take care of you. You matter.

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To me, this quote also says it’s normal to feel scared at Halloween. Some people enjoy this. Some do not.

I don’t like scary things. They do remind me of my early childhood abuse. I don’t watch scary movies, go to costume parties where everyone gets to scare everyone else.

It’s my hope that you will take this to support and encourage you to accept any feelings you have at Halloween.

Halloween-Quote-5

And yes, that is the way it is. Try to figure out what exactly spooks you. Then, you can also figure out ways to plan your night that make it easier for you. And that idea does also apply to all the days up to Halloween too.

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“I’m not fond of a tradition that requires people to open the door for strangers. Or for kids to take candy from strangers.” ~Megan Erickson.

She’s a comedian and is making fun of the idea of Halloween. I thought about how irreverent this comment is making your opinions about Halloween perfectly okay. This quote seemed comforting to me.

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This sounds funny and people can laugh as if it’s silly to take care of yourself. But really it’s not silly to honor your personal history. It’s not silly at all to do whatever you need to be okay during Halloween.

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It’s okay to be frightened. The strategy to manage this during your holiday season involves owning your truth about your fear. Then you can make plans to comfort and soothe yourself. You can make decisions what to participate in and what to say, “no” to.

Holiday-Quote-9

As I was searching for Halloween quotes for people who have difficulty with the holidays, I stumbled across this one. I like it because it speaks truths that some people think but do not say. If you can think and feel how you really feel, you can participate or not in whatever parts of the holiday season you want to participate in.

Your feedback is important! If you have holiday quotes that are meaningful to you, please add them to the “Leave a Reply” box at the bottom of the page.

If you wish to say more, e-mail me at agentledrlaura@mail.com or by using the contact me box below.

If you like my writing and are interested in applying some of these ideas, subscribe to my newsletter.

Watch this space. I’ll be adding a quote daily. There are 2 other holiday pages: Myths and Self-Care Tips.

email: agentledrlaura@mail.com                                         Telephone: (615) 464-3791

Board-Certifications-Logos

Credentials verified by Psychology Today.

 

©2016-17 by Laura Coleman, Ph.D.  All rights reserved.                    Privacy Policy

 

 

Holidays for Adults with Unhappy Holiday Memories

hot air balloons at sunset colemanlifecoaching.com

Self-Care to Reduce Holiday Stress

Yesterday I went to physical therapy. Yes, physical therapy. AGAIN.

There were beautiful huge pumpkins decorating the waiting room. One on each side of the door. Today is a day in the last week of September.

Halloween is at the end of next month!

The holidays are coming! Thanksgiving movies are being advertised on television. Christmas music will soon be playing everywhere. Homes, schools, and offices are decorating.

Beautiful mouthwatering candy and cookies are tempting the most patient dieter. “Tis the season to be jolly”. Or is it?

This brings up memories. Happy memories or unhappy ones. Everyone experiences holiday stress. Yet people with unhappy childhoods experience sometimes massive holiday stress.

This blog is for you. I’m writing for each and every one of you whose childhood memories are unhappy ones.

I wish to discuss a myth. This fable suggests that all you need to do is let go. Let go of bad memories. Just decide to forget about it.

That’s not the case. People say, “Just go laugh and play; you’ll feel better.

Or “Enjoy the moment.”

“Forget the past.”

These false ideas make your holidays more difficult. Stressful.

People expect child abuse to be over when you grow up. You are expected to pick up with grit and a smile. Then carry on from the most stressful memories.

You were invisible before, but now you don’t exist. People expect you to disappear into the mainstream of society and have no problems with life at all.

People assume you will just deal with it all the time, but the pressure on you is worse around the holidays. All around you are expressions of happiness and joy.

Movies, music, stores, and other people are expressing happy feelings. You place expectations on yourself and create more holiday stress. You tell yourself; “be jolly.

Happiness is an expectation and a pressure on you. Instead, you feel like Scrooge. More stress.

When you laugh and play, you feel your innermost feelings. For a person with a happy fulfilling personal history, this is wonderful. You’ll remember Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, Easter and other family holidays past with fond and pleasant memories.

Sure, you have had problems in your life; but the overall picture of your personal history is mellow. You’ll remember smells, sounds, and people with warmth, joy, and feelings of anticipation.

If you grew up in a dysfunctional household, holidays were more likely to be chaotic. You lived holiday stress.

All days were chaotic, but the holidays were worse.

Many people have memories of dad or mom drunk and violent or weepy or sloppy sentimental. There are memories of dire poverty with no food or heat or furniture. Your parents might have traded your Christmas presents for drugs. Or you were beaten senseless by your drunken parent or molested by that weird Uncle So and So.

Christmas and other holidays bring up feelings and memories from the most painful events of your life.

Here are some suggestions to help you take care of yourself.

  • Tell yourself your truths.

What truths? You might ask. Your truths are those thoughts and feelings you have in the privacy of your own mind. Your truth is what happened to you in your lifetime.

Your truth consists of your beliefs, needs, wants, and ideas. You probably don’t voice them. You might not even allow yourself to acknowledge them. However, you do hear them.

If you allow yourself to know your truths, you will be able to make a holiday plan that fits your needs. You can make good decisions based on who you are, what you have been through and what exactly you need from yourself.

  • Allow yourself to feel how you feel.

Tell yourself that you are normal to feel the way you feel. Acknowledge that you have a right to feel exactly as you feel about these holidays. Remind yourself that anyone with your specific history would feel exactly as you do.

  • Try to find ways to give your approval to yourself.

Make yourself right for who you are instead of wrong. If it is normal for you to feel painful feelings during the holidays, you don’t have to pretend to be jolly. If you don’t have to pretend to be jolly, you can find healthy ways to comfort yourself.

  • Ask yourself what kind of Holiday you would like.

As an adult, you can do for yourself what you could not do in childhood. You have a wide range of options to choose from.

  • You can give yourself a traditional holiday.
  • You can ignore the holidays altogether.
  • You can spend your holidays in service to others.
  • You could spend your holiday with a church of your choice.
  • There is no correct way of having holidays.
  • You can look at all the different aspects of each celebration; then pick and choose the activities that suit you.
  • The point here is to listen to yourself.
  • Take care of yourself based on your truth, your feelings and what you want.

Decide to parent yourself. Comfort yourself with what you need.

Keep yourself safe from harm. Be kind to yourself. This may be the most difficult step in self-care.

  • Whenever you make any change in your behavior, you will run into resistance.

Resistance is sneaky. Sometimes it’s just a sense of irritation. Other times, it’s a nightmare. I often feel sick when getting ready to do something difficult. Resistance is within yourself and also from other people. This too is normal.

Accept that you will fight yourself when taking care of you. And, then proceed to do just that. Fight yourself to take care of you.

  • Taking care of yourself is a long learning process.

All that is required is that you make an attempt. Each effort, each trial for self-care is progress. Your attempts will help you relieve your holiday stress. You can create new memories for yourself. Memories that suit you and meet your needs.

Best wishes to you. Stay safe!

Do you have thoughts about how you can reduce your upcoming holiday stress?

Scroll down and leave your comments below.

I’d love to hear from you.

Your feedback is important! Please let me know your thoughts and feelings about this writing.

Just scroll a little further down the page and use the “Leave a Reply” box to add your opinions. Make your suggestions and let me know what your needs are.

If you wish to say more, e-mail me at agentledrlaura@mail.com.

If you like my writing and are interested in applying some of these ideas, subscribe to my newsletter.

Or

email: agentledrlaura@mail.com

Telephone: (615) 464-3791

Credentials verified by Psychology Today

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©2017 by Laura Coleman, Ph.D.  All rights reserved.                    Privacy Policy