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Holidays and TMS Care

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Ann Miller, Nov 23, 2021.

  1. Ann Miller

    Ann Miller Well known member

    The holidays can be fraught with pain for our poor bodies. The expectations and disappointments, the pressure to be a certain way or have things go a certain way, and the general vision we have of the holiday and others we call family can really activate our people pleasing, self critical, responsible for other’s happiness, perfectionistic, selves. How to survive? How do we practice self care in the most authentic way during the holiday time? Well, here is what I strive to do:

    1. Boundaries. Boundaries are the single greatest act of self care that I do for myself. They have helped me maintain a pain free life far greater than any massage or hot bath could ever hope to achieve. And boundaries come in many different forms. One of my favorite newly learned forms is a listening boundary...where I am literally protecting myself from stressful emotions because I have gated what/who I choose to listen to and when. Boundary work is crucial for those of us who like to do good and be thought of as good as we can be seduced into violating our own boundaries to make life easier for others in our family or community. If resentment is an emotion that surfaces during your expressive writing or exploration...look for a boundary violation.

    1. Authentic speech to myself. If I’m angry or scared or frustrated and I won’t admit that to myself because of holiday pressure, then I have betrayed myself at a core level. Nothing will get my symptoms fired up faster than inauthentic speech to myself. So if I say to myself, “I'm not scared to travel in a car for 8 hours” because I know that it’s important to send my body messages of safety, BUT I really am scared to sit in the car for 8 hours, then I am inauthentic even to myself. I have learned to always be extremely truthful and compassionate to my thoughts. So I will say, “oh, look, you are feeling that same old fear of travel. You are feeling that dread of what sitting in a car may do. It’s okay to feel this. Anyone would. It doesn’t mean that my back will hurt. It’s just a remembered trigger.” See how truthful and compassionate that is?

    1. I take time to be by myself and do the mind/body activities that work for me. Personally, that means that I journal, meditate and somatically track soothing sensations in my body. And I exercise most days. I make sure that I schedule a time each day during the holidays to do what I know keeps me on track and loving life. The energy that I use in this is NOT one of fear…”oh no, I’ve got to do this stuff or I’ll have pain,” but rather the energy of love and gift giving. It’s the offering that I give to myself.
  2. Cactusflower

    Cactusflower Beloved Grand Eagle

    Thank - you Ann! I find your postings really insightful and on a level I have not gotten to. #2! I’ve read so much about trying to convince yourself of something - but this is far more truthful.
    #1 is like a concept that’s almost beyond me. Really identifying a boundary and keeping it is just a concept I admire in others but is simply so hard for me.
    hecate105 likes this.
  3. Bitzalel Brown

    Bitzalel Brown Peer Supporter

    Thank you so much, you hit home on some of our toughest issues. Regarding boundaries I would like to intergect some perspective from the world of parenting. Most parents feel bad when setting their childrens boundarises.They feel challenged by their children testing the boudaries they set and this can be though because children are pros at making us feel bad when we limit their freedom. But the truth is that this is only on a superfical level. In reality children want boundaries, this creates a safe inner space, a place where they feel secure, till this point I am good, beyound this is a clear no no. I liken this to someone who goes to play ball on the top of a building and notices a flimsy looking railing around the roof. The first thing he will do is to walk over to the fence and give it a good shake to see how strong it is, will it protect me from falling, can I play freely without having to take the edge of the roof into consideration. I know of a young man that was counseled by my teacher. The young man stated that he hates his father, he is like Jello pudding, totaly flexible. No back bone. Yes it is uncomforable and limiting at first to have boundaries but they allow us to live with a feeling of security, free to do and be what we want in our playing field. Like I have taught to many parents, you must feel good about setting bounderies for your kids, your are do an act of love and caring , similarly we need to feel that by setting boundaries for ourselves and our relationships we are doing good for ourselves and we need not feel bad or berate ourselves for it.
    hecate105 likes this.
  4. Ann Miller

    Ann Miller Well known member

    Thank you for your kind words Cactusflower. All of it has been a work in progress and I am still learning about myself every day. The difference is that now, when I discover a new aspect of my emotional world, I am fascinated. Truly. I've discovered that I am a woman who on the surface appears to be calm and stoic and underneath has great passion. Before, the passion, scared me because it can look like anger, pettiness, jealousy, vengefulness etc. I'm not scared of those bits anymore, just curious and honestly, kind of amazed. This is internal work. I didn't have to change my outside at all. I just have to acknowledge my complex emotions to myself.

    Bitzalel Brown, I love that fence around a roof analogy. Totally going to use it often. Here is the one boundary thought that helped me the most... When I set a boundary with a loved one, I get to love them unconditionally. Because when I set the boundary and they react in a negative way, I can love them through that and that is unconditional love. If I never make that boundary, they never react negatively and it's easy to love them. This has helped me most with boundaries for adults including adult children. I see yours as key for younger children. BTW, transitioning from parenting minors to parenting young adults is quite the journey, but I'll save that thought. :)
  5. Bitzalel Brown

    Bitzalel Brown Peer Supporter

    Ann , what a great insight ,setting a boundary really gives us the ability to love unconditionally. We have eight grown children and that transition to parenting young adults is the ultimate proving grounds for unconditional love. Thank you

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