It happened when I was in Target last night.
First, there were NO shopping carts. I picked up a liter of Coke and blue corn tortilla chips and cheese to make the nachos I was craving. I looked at pajamas for my daughter and noticed the holiday candy and decorative plastic party ware. Next, I cruised through the ladies department and saw this T-shirt and smiled because the Grinch is symbolic of the holiday self-care class I’m preparing for in 10 days. Clustered on an endcap by the checkout I saw Sweet Holiday Treat Glade room spray in a sparkly red can and other sparkly green and deep purple cans with artsy names. I don’t really like room sprays.
Suddenly, I felt the familiar clutch in my stomach that means “It’s here. It’s official. The holiday madness has begun.” I took a deep, calming breath. The next endcap had my FAVORITE – Pepperidge Farm Ginger Family cookies. I put one box in my basket, controlling the impulse to grab two. (OK, I bought the Ghiradelli Peppermint Bark squares last week.) At least the Christmas music isn’t playing – yet.
The trigger had nothing to do with room spray or T-shirts. My thoughts had been running like this, even earlier in the day talking with a girlfriend:
My kids are past the age where there’s one Santa gift that makes their eyes light up. Is it electronics, gift cards and cash now? Sigh.
I miss the Christmases when it was easy to pick up stickers and candy cane pens and fun things for stockings I knew they would enjoy.
Holiday Self-Care Tip #1 – Notice Your Triggers
You know you’ve been triggered when:
You feel it in your body – usually the throat or the gut or the chest.
Your thoughts start to race and your anxiety cranks up a notch. (Like the Grinch says, “All the noise, noise, noise, noise!!”)
You notice, or give in to an impulse to soothe the feelings in some way.
When this happens cope by:
- Take 3 very deep breaths.
- Write the trigger down. If you’re in a store, make a quick note in your phone or scribble on a receipt or something and when you get home or later that night, journal or think or talk to someone asking: What happened?
- On a scale of 1-10, how anxious / stressed did I feel?
- Is there an action I need to take?
I’ll post more Holiday Self-Care Tips in the coming weeks, so let me know if you have a particular question or topic you’d like me to include in the Comments below, or by email.
Want to learn more?
Join us for Self-Care through the Holidays
-a teleclass series beginning November 20th. For details or to register, click here.
Register by Friday November 15th to enter the drawing for your choice of a $10 Starbucks or Amazon Gift Card!