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Grounding Techniques for the Holidays

The holidays can be a joyous time.

However, they can also be challenging and a true test of patience.

You may have a daily yoga practice, keep a gratitude journal, and engage in breath work as needed, and all of this cannot guarantee that you won’t completely lose it when provoked by difficult family members.

The holiday season is ripe for anxiety and stress. You may become overwhelmed with negative emotions, fall into old conflict patterns with relatives, or become confronted with unwanted memories.

Practicing grounding techniques can help you find your center and stay present. Grounding is a strategy that allows you to distract yourself from distressing situations and ease stress and anxiety.

The techniques normally involve engaging with the five senses: touch, taste, sight, sound, and smell, and works by making you more aware of your body and surroundings.

Grounding Techniques You Can Use

Grounding yourself can take many forms. There is no right or wrong way to practice grounding. Here are a few suggestions that can help you bring you back to your center. Don’t do anything that doesn’t feel authentic to you.

  • Go out for a walk. Observe your surroundings with all the senses. Feel the ground under your feet. Pay attention to the sights and sounds around you.

  • Smell something familiar. Pick a favorite lotion, candle, cologne, or essential oil and really take in its scent. What feelings does the scent bring up for you? Is it connected to a special moment in your life or perhaps a particular person?

  • Splash cold water onto your face. This can instantly shock your system and bring you back to a more centered place – especially if you’re in the midst of an emotional storm. It forces you to redirect your attention to the extreme temperature.

  • Color a coloring book. This isn’t about achieving artistic perfection. Instead, use the opportunity to engage in the art of patience and to process emotions creatively.

  • Move your body. This can take the form of stretching or light to moderate physical activity such as jogging, doing jumping jacks or even gardening.

  • Intention setting breathing. Inhale deeply and fully as you imagine taking in something that you need. Pause. Exhale slowly as you imagine letting go of something that no longer serves you. Example: Breathe in compassion. Breathe out judgement.

  • Make a comforting, hot drink. Coffee, tea, and hot chocolate are cozy drinks that calm your body and mind. As you consume the beverage, notice how the mug feels in your hand and how the warm liquid feels in your body.

  • Engage in positive self-talk. Use affirmations or anchoring phrases when negative thoughts arise. Examples include: “I’ll get through this,” “I am calm and relaxed,” and “I’m doing my best.”

  • Touch a grounding object. This is a small object like a pebble or a ring that you can touch when experiencing difficult emotions.

You know your family best. So be prepared as much as possible. Consider the potential barriers and use the grounding techniques mentioned above. However, if you find yourself in a tough situation be compassionate with yourself.

And, just in case, think of an escape plan or how you can excuse yourself from the festivities if needed. It’s okay to take care of yourself.

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