The holidays are upon us! While they can be wonderful and joyous in so many ways we know they aren't always what we expect or hope for. As we move further into the holiday season we are often faced with difficult situations regarding boundaries, family of origin, navigating other relationships and increased stress on top of the difficulties we face day-to-day. This is a common occurrence and I hope having this knowledge will help equip you to feel less alone this holiday season.
Last year, one of our most popular blogs was done by one of our therapists, Sarah Deal, PhD, LPC, and centered around ways to help yourself through the holidays during infertility. While these tips were originally written for people experiencing infertility during the holidays, these principles can apply to anyone at any time. For this months blog I wanted to re-share her tips as a gentle reminder to take care of yourself and honor your needs in this season. You matter, your needs matter.
Give yourself permission to hit the eject button, informing people you care about that it’s a possibility you may decide to not attend or to leave early. If you want to share holiday host etiquette suggestions, I recommend checking out grief coach Sarah Nannen’s website below.
Set better boundaries. Pleasing others at the expense of your own well-being is a losing prospect. “No” is a complete sentence.
Have your designated wingman if you do attend a holiday event. Let this person know you need them to check in on you, what to look for if you’re in distress, and how to respond to you. If your wingman can’t be there in person, have them on speed dial.
Wear an object that is symbolic to you, representing what’s been lost and how you honor your grief during this challenging season. This is referred to as a “grounding object,” which may anchor you during the storm.
Do something for yourself. For example, go on a trip, something you don’t typically do, possibly creating a new tradition. Do anything to help yourself feel less stuck in a rut.
Make space for your grief. What you resist, persists, and finds a way out somehow. Don’t let the business of the season rob your truth. All those struggling with infertility are grieving parents.
Do what brings you joy. And if that feels impossible to do, that’s okay too.
Contribute to the well-being of another. In the darkest of hours, being the light for someone else can help heal ourselves.
Recommended resources for further support:
The National Infertility Association - resolve.org
Austin Share: Pregnancy & Infant Loss Support – austinshare.org
Sarah Nannen – grief coach - sarahnannen.com