Right now we are twixt and between holiday’s. Memorial day is coming up in the United States. Planning in advance for holidays gives you time to make a plan and practice.
Holidays include birthdays, anniversaries of negative events, family events, graduations and all the holidays that hit the calendars.
Just before Mother’s Day Mighty posted an article
Un-Happy Mother’s Day – Create a new plan – Works for Father’s Day too.
1. Be honest about how you really feel.
2. Think through your boundaries.
3. Create a plan.
For more specific ideas follow the link above.
The first step is being honest with yourself. I believe that is one of the hardest. How do I actually feel about each holiday? What does it mean to me? I noticed over the years I get so caught up in dodging and weaving around pitfalls of each holiday that I don’t pay attention to what I feel they should be. Take time during the quiet months to list out each holiday and decide what you would like them to be for you. Include the reoccurring reminders or birthdays or any day that has significance (positive or negative).
Second step is analyzing boundaries. Part of the healing process is establishing and maintaining boundaries. Deciding what you are willing to do and who you want to be with. Boundaries allow some people closer to you while keeping others out. Some people find it necessary to go no contact. Establishing boundaries is often met by ridicule and resistance from abusive/user people that are used to getting their own way. People used to calling the shots object when their targets/victims tell them they are done and things will change. Deciding when things are lower stress times helps to clearly think through how things are going to go in the future. This sometimes means going no contact when hostility and escalating behavior is the answer to your boundaries. If you are in counseling talk over with your counselor and get their feedback about setting boundaries.
Now create your plan. Be creative. If you hate being in town for a certain holiday, plan a road trip. Don’t like a big dinner, plan a picnic at the park. Don’t want a tree or other traditional item, change it. I discovered for myself the World does not stop if I do something different for a holiday. My new tradition for Mother’s day, I stay home from church. It makes for a peaceful day. Don’t like the noise of fireworks on 4th of July or New Year’s Eve use noise cancelling head phones and listen to your favorite music. Holidays do not need to remain the same. Experiment around, start new traditions, plan things that make you happy.
I’ll add one more suggestion, let go of expectations of a ‘perfect’ holiday. Those expectations can make an OK day miserable. Yep, I spent many a Christmas sick. One Christmas I spent more time washing sheets from kids throwing up than wrapping presents. Thanksgiving dinner can burn. Halloween costumes can be store bought or not done at all. Fall a sleep on New Years Eve. And the Easter bunny could get lost or deliver a black egg (real story and funny too.) Are your own unreasonable expectations for a perfect day making things worse? Enjoy the day and if one or two things go right count it a win. If you make it through the day, count it a win. Remember you have survived 100% of your bad days, you can survive holidays too.