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Holiday Self-Care Tip #1 – Know Your Triggers

grinch T-shirtIt 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:

  1. Take 3 very deep breaths.
  2. ​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?
  3. On a scale of 1-10, how anxious / stressed did I feel?
  4. 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!

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