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Celebrating During the Holidays

by Mercedes Braxton, LPC, NCC, Contributor

Five Clinical Tips
1. Focus on the purpose of the celebration and determine the perfect way for you to celebrate.
2. Focus on the positive.
3. Do not allow others to dictate your wants and desires.
4. Set boundaries and limits for yourself, not allowing them to be crossed – families can be overbearing sometimes!
5. Practice mindfulness (the ability of staying present in the moment) to further enjoy your experience and be in tune with your emotions, thoughts, and feelings!

The holidays and end of the year typically bring an array of feelings depending on the person – from joy to grief. Often times, people are preoccupied decorating, buying gifts, cooking, traveling, and much more, while others dread the last half of the year.
Being a year and a half into a pandemic and the holidays approaching fast, it is important to allow yourself to feel the joy of celebrating. The current climate of the world has already brought so much stress into our lives. Celebrations can be more than just your typical national holidays; celebrate making it through another year! To the left are five clinical tips to help celebrate the holidays.
An additional note on mindfulness!
There are multiple ways to engage in mindfulness. An important aspect on mindfulness is staying present in moment, not in the past or the future. Stay present to what you are doing, feeling and thinking. In the context of celebrating holidays, this allows you to fully enjoy what you are doing without the anxious thoughts of what is next.

The 5,4,3,2,1 Method
The 5,4,3,2,1 Method is a strategy for mindfulness. This method acts as a grounding technique but can also be used to tap into the “here and now” of the present moment. With this method, you will engage the senses as a way of focusing in the moment. Start by identifying 5 things you see around you, 4 things you feel, 3 things you hear, 2 things you smell and 1 thing you taste. Try staying focused on engaging the senses and being present in the moment!
Celebrations and holidays also bring feelings of grief, reminding some of loss. It’s unrealistic to expect individuals to “make the best of their situation or just celebrate anyway.” Everyone grieves and heals differently; some taking more time than others. I encourage those dealing with loss to:

1.  Allow yourself to feel what you feel without getting stuck in those feelings.
2.  Plan ahead with potential things that make you happy – yes, this includes an all-inclusive trip anywhere!
3.  Try honoring and engaging in activities you enjoyed with loved ones, reaching out for support when struggling.

Again, it is not always easy to get through the holiday season. I encourage daily small steps that lead to large strides. Every little bit helps.

Mercedes Braxton, LPC, NCC
Licensed Professional Counselor in Georgia and National Certified Counselor
Owner and Therapist at Peace of Mind Counseling and Therapeutic Services

IG: peaceofmindcts
Facebook: Peace of Mind Counseling and Therapeutic Services
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