Monday, November 18, 2013

2013 How to Survive the Holidays

Years ago, when I was in training to be a counselor I was the assistant to the leader of a workshop called How to Survive the Holidays. Jill Raiguel, MFCC, author of Life Skills: Keys to Effective Living was the leader. It was the best attended workshop we did, which told me how much of a problem holidays can be for people!

Since then, I've watched for opportunities to be helpful around the holiday season - in my psychotherapy practice and, since it's inception, in this blog. Here it is, that time again. If you have a dysfunctional family, it's important to have a plan for self care. The suggestions below have been tried, tested and added to since that workshop.
  • Make sure you get time away from the house. Go for a walk, run an errand, see a movie. This is easier when you're the visitor, but sometimes just five minutes alone in the backyard or the back room can help.

  • Have a support person lined up. That could be your good friend from where you live now, ready to
    remind you over the phone that you have a life outside your family. Get counseling if you need it.

  • If you are the visitor and there are people you like who live in the same town or city as your family, make plans to see them on your own during the visit.

  • Conduct an experiment: Study your family members as if you were meeting them for the first time. This will give you some helpful distance and perspective. What you see can be surprising.

  • Remember: You are not your family; you are a separate person.
Please ask questions or make comments here, or you're welcome to email me. 

Catherine Boyer, MA, LCSW
Psychotherapy in New York City

1 comment:

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