By Deborah Groening-Rother, Well Baby Center Founder
The holidays often bring up memories from one’s childhood – some good, some not so good. This year, when you celebrate at home or go “home for the holidays”, be prepared that your parents may likely draw you back into old family roles. Remember that you do have a choice in how you respond. In other words, don’t take the bait!
If you are a new mom, do not be surprised if disappointment, sadness, and even angry feelings rise up seemingly out of nowhere. You may be feeling judged about how you are mothering your baby, and this could significantly affect your holiday cheer, making it hard to stay mindful! It doesn’t help that images suddenly appear everywhere of families sitting around laughing together, sharing their favorite stories and having a good ‘ol time.
Remember that these uncomfortable feelings are a common side effect of the holidays and that you are not alone. Nevertheless, if you find that you are continuing to feel unhappy about your life, get some professional support. Therapy may be a very important pathway to your future well-being and for that of your child and your immediate family. Your family of origin issues will likely subside after the New Year, where you will turn your attention to making things right for the next generation.
Here are 7 tips for managing the holiday season:
- Make time for your self-care routine. Shower, put on clean clothes and a little makeup (if you wear it) and you’ll feel ready to socialize with others.
- If you have access to a mindfulness meditation video, use it daily to quiet your mind (InsightLA has many free downloads
- Don’t stay home! Don’t watch TV! Instead, take a walk, read a book, visit a friend. Seek out support from neighbors, family and mental-health counselors.
- Limit your alcohol intake.
- Create simple holiday activities that involve you with your children, such as making greeting cards, making homemade decorations or decorating cookies. Rent holiday movies and make special treats (popcorn, cookies, hot chocolate) so that it’s a special event, not just another night in front of the TV.
- Explore the holiday traditions of your family’s ancestral heritage. Every country (or religion) has its own special rituals to celebrate. Teach your children about them, and perhaps re-enact some.
Remember that mental states are usually temporary. A new state is just around the corner. If you still feel overwhelmed, however, seeking professional counseling is absolutely necessary. You are not alone, and it isn’t your fault that you are experiencing the holiday blues or full on depression.