I’m not afraid to say it out loud, because I know you are thinking it, quality time with family and loved ones brings stress. Family history and dramas, negative feelings and conflicts can easily boil to the surface under the guise of a grand celebration.
Growing up, things in my family were not always rosy, so I very much identify with the struggles and emotions of times like this. There was an expectation that we were supposed to be “one big happy family”, yet behind the scenes it was a shit show. I still feel a bit like Ellen Griswald trying to hold it all together during the holidays!
With Thanksgiving weekend approaching and December holidays right around the corner, I want to share with you some valuable tools to cope with any trepidations you may have about family (or any!) relationships.
Here are my 3 steps to maintain healthy energy boundaries and keep your self centered:
1. Check your personal engine light. Think about how you feel when you’re around someone who drains you and upsets you, this someone with whom you lose yourself.
- How does this make your body feel? Your mind? How does the presence of this person affect you?
- Imagine that your body is like a car dashboard full of warning lights. This is the ‘check engine light’ for your personal boundary system. If your engine light is on, you are dealing with a leak of your personal and sacred energy. This warning sign means boundaries need to be patched up and you must return to center.
When your boundaries are weak or unclear, you let stuff in that isn’t actually your stuff to deal with. In working to set clear boundaries, you can begin to repair.
2. Ground yourself as preparation for maintaining boundaries. Similar to the way a tree sinks its roots to stay secure and upright, you must do the same. Your roots keep you steady, connected, and focused. Your root system is your boundary system. Being deeply rooted will prevent you from being blown about and sucked into other people’s problems.
- Close your eyes and actually picture your root system securing yourself into the earth. Stand tall, chest open, focus on your breath and repeat an affirmation that connects with you, a good place to start with a family centered affirmation is, “I am grateful for the experiences and lessons I have learned within my family”.
3. Be aware and prepare for the people and places that tend to drain you.
- Before you head out the door or open your home for celebration, take a few minutes to visualize. Slowly breath a bubble of protective energy around yourself.
- Think of your visualized bubble as a space that will only allow love and positivity inside and deflect anything else. This may sound silly, but if you really see and feel this protective guard then you will recognize what you need to do to maintain that space.
I almost pop that bubble a lot, but I’ve learned that you don’t always have to get submerged by everyone else’s lives just to show you care. There are other ways to do so that won’t leave you drained and overwhelmed.
Instead of dreading the holiday season, you can begin to look to these times together and be present in each moment. In creating boundaries and staying grounded, you can begin to truly enjoy the blessings of family and tradition!