Holiday Finances

Roottorisenj holiday self-care Leave a Comment

One of the most challenging parts of the holiday season can be navigating our finances. Whether we are unemployed, pay-check-to-paycheck, or experiencing something else, this time of year can present challenges to our financial life and our well-being. There are some considerations we can make and some steps we can take to navigate our financial well-being during the holidays.

Stick To Your budget

One of the hardest things for some of us to do this holiday season will be to pick a budget for holiday shopping and stick to it. However, when we decide what we want to spend (whether per-gift or total) we give ourselves permission to respect our money and ourselves. We don’t take on unnecessary debt and the fear and feelings that such debt brings. We also invite our mind to play and create, especially on a limited budget.

The Value of Quality, Time, and Experience

While getting multiple expensive gifts for loved ones might be the way that we feel we “should” show our love and appreciation this holiday season, it may not be possible or authentic for us to do so. There is great value in the quality of hand made items, in spending quality time with loved ones, and in deciding to opt for “experience presents” and “presence” over physical presents. Perhaps this means baking everyone cookies this year, on giving out cuopons for “coffee dates”, or on offering people our full undivided attention through visits or calls. One thing that we can be sure of when we focus on quality, time, and experience is that we will make memories and that can be a very powerful and joy-filled thing.

Stay Away From Comparison And Choose Gratitude

As it can be easy to compare our gifts to those given by others or to compare our meal to the ones we see on television or in magazines, we can fall into the comparison trap. One way to free ourselves is to choose gratitude and appreciation. Perhaps we are grateful to have a home, a heater, a blanket, or a loved one. Perhaps we appreciate how kind our friend has been to let us stay at their home or how someone held the door for us as we leave a building.  There is great value in even brief moments of gratitude or appreciation. This is especially true when we write or say aloud those things for which we are grateful or share with others what it is we appreciate about who they are to us.

Find A Way To Give And Watch Your Gift Grow

The title of this section may make us wary. “I can’t give. I can’t donate. I can barely make my car payment…” we might say. While we may be limited in how we can give with regard to money, the world presents us with many other ways to give this time of year. Perhaps we can volunteer. Perhaps we don’t have time to volunteer but we can hold the door for a stranger, help someone carry in their tree, welcome a new person at our meeting, or share words of encouragement with a stranger or friend. When we give, even in what we see as small ways, we can watch our giving grow. In the same way that your holding the door might lead to someone else holding it or your helping someone with their leaf raking might give them more time to spend with their family, our joy expands and our gifts grow into larger experiences than we might even know. If you have the chance to give this year, even in ways you think are small, you may be surprised by the impact of your kindness.

Find Comfort In Community

Finally, when you feel financially overwhelmed or worried, it can be helpful to seek out a community to offer compassion, support, and resources. Here at Root To Rise we are not in the business of finance, but we understand the role this topic plays in recovery and well-being. If you have question or need help finding resources in your community, we can work to be of assistance. We also offer lots of donation-based events that may help you to take care of yourself while respecting your budget. We’d love to have you reach out to us, to seek comfort in our community, and to be a part of our awesome community!

Body Image Related Comments

Roottorisenj holiday self-care Leave a Comment

There are some conversations we cannot wait to have when we reunite with loved ones during the holiday. Catching up with far-flung family members, chatting with a dear cousin, or asking a young nephew how the soccer season went this year are all conversations that can bring us joy. However, there are other conversations that take us out of the holiday spirit and may challenge our recovery or our well-being. One of those conversations might begin with a family member or friend’s comment on our body. There are several ways to navigate this challenge to our well-being, and while your approach may be different than someone else’s, it may be valuable to explore the various ways we can tackle unwanted comments on our bodies this holiday season.

Call Ahead

One way to ensure that body-related comments and conversations don’t harsh your holiday get-togethers is to call/text/message/speak to some people beforehand. When you speak make it clear that during your visit you are not open to comments about your body or their opinions on your body and that you are really looking forward to enjoying the time you get to spend with them. This keeps things positive but also sets healthy boundaries around conversations that will allow you to feel most comfortable in their presence.

Breathing

One way to navigate the experience of having someone make a body-related comment that is unwelcome could be to take a moment to breathe. As you do so, pausing before you respond, you may want to remind yourself that their comment about your body is not about you. It reflects who they are more than anything else. Once you’ve taken a few moments to breathe your response may take many forms but you will have taken some time to take care of you in a difficult moment.

This isn’t a conversation I’m going to have.

When a comment is made we can instantly feel the need to defend our body to that person, to explain ourselves, to speak disparagingly or dismissively about ourselves. All of these common habits are totally normal but not always totally helpful. One response we might have once we take a deep breath might be to simply let the person know that, “This isn’t a conversation I’m going to have.”  You could also try “Let’s enjoy our visit. I’d enjoy it more if we didn’t speak about my body.” Finally, you could try “I’m really doing well at caring for my body so let’s not have this discussion.”

While the wording may seem forceful, it’s actually quite kind. Explaining ourselves or defending our body would continue a conversation that could lead to our own feelings being hurt or toward our feeling resentment toward a loved one. By ending an unhealthy conversation before it begins, we are opening ourselves up to more comfortable, healthy, and joy-inducing conversations with our loved ones.

Steering Away

If the “This isn’t a conversation I’m going to have.” Is not something that you feel is accessible to you in the moment, you may find that steering the conversation away from body-related topics is more helpful. Perhaps your mother comments on your “recent weight gain” but you’d rather discuss her delicious home-baked ham. Perhaps your uncle asked when “you’ll put on some pounds”, but you’d rather talk football with him. Whatever the topic, knowing what you’d rather speak about might help you to navigate our way out of the body-negative conversation and into a deeper connection with those you love.

Know how you feel about you

One major way to navigate comments about your body that are not serving you, especially when they come from loved ones is to decide how you feel about your body. Knowing where you are in your body-image journey can help you to gain clarity about the way you want to approach comments about your body. It can also be of benefit in deciding how to prepare for experiences where you feel comments may be made. Finally, knowing how you feel about your body may also make other people’s comments less relevant over time and will make your decision not to have certain conversations more definitive.  When you know how you feel about your body you can decide what steps to take next.

Reach out

Finally, there may also be value in reaching out. Knowing who you can call or text when a difficult comment or tough conversation about your body arises can help you to feel more connected, more supported, and less alone.

Here at Root To Rise, we believe that there is healing power in community and we’re here to help. So, let us know: Do you have a way that you navigate the experience of having people comment of your body. Do you have a friend who you can reach out to in those sorts of instances? How do you prepare for this aspect of holiday get-togethers? We’d love to hear from you.

Sustainable Mental Health During The Holidays

Roottorisenj holiday self-care, Uncategorized Leave a Comment

Planning

Whether you need to design a budget, book flights, plan a meal, or just decide how to address the tough comments or conversations that might arise, having a plan is awesome. Planning allows us to reduce our anxiety, to be honest about the things we actually have control over, and empowers us to make decisions that are aligned with who we are so that we don’t experience moments of pressure without a way to ensure we stay on our chosen path. We can’t plan for everything but the act of planning for some things may help us to enjoy this season more fully.

Schedule Self-Care Time

In the same way that a plan for tough conversations, or planning a family dinner gives us a sense of empowerment and relieves some anxiety, scheduling self-care time is a valuable approach to use this time of year. When we decide to schedule some time to take care of ourselves, put it in the calendar, and make it non-negotiable we allow ourselves to be well and ensure that we’ll be more able to approach the ups and downs of the season.

The Season Of Overindulging

There is a certain feeling to the holidays: cookies, large meals, and other common sights are often shown (in commercials, and on social media) in gluttonous amounts. As we work to keep ourselves mentally and physically well, it may be valuable to decide how to navigate moments where we feel pulled to or happen to overindulge in food or other experiences. Showing ourselves some self-compassion and giving ourselves some parameters to work within as we work to enjoy but not over-do, can be a difficult but valuable experience.

Dealing With Button-Pushers

In much the same way that we plan for self-care, or plan ways to avoid over-indulgence, we might also want to take some time to explore our boundaries this holiday season. We may need to set some boundaries regarding particular conversations ahead of time, or decide how much time to spend with a particular loved one. Further we may need to take some time to identify whether someone or something is a “button pusher” for us. This means thinking deeply about those things that might make us uncomfortable, self-doubting, or just not right. We might need to decide what those things are and how we can deal with them. For example, if a family member tends to use a derogatory term for a particular group of people, how might we decide to act in response. Will we leave the room, offer some insight into our perspective on that term, change the conversation, or ignore the comment? While each of us might make a different decision in this case, if a particular term, conversation, behavior, or person tends to find us feeling less self-compassion or less aligned, it may be valuable to explore how we might be best served in reacting.

Grief And Memory In The Holiday Season

The holidays might also be a time when we remember loved ones we’ve lost. In much the same way that a funeral or other service for a deceased loved one caused us to recall them, the holidays may bring forth their memory again. The sense of gratitude for having known them might be coupled with a sense of loss and of losing them all over again. It may, then, be helpful to write down our best memories or most favorite things about that person. It may also be helpful, if it aligns with our spiritual beliefs, to pray or perform a ritual in their memory. Finally, if the loved one was a common family member or friend in your friend group. It may be valuable to spend time with those people and to remember your loved one in some way when you do so.

The Value Of Reflection

As the new year approaches we may also want to look back on the past year. We can take stock of our progress and on our accomplishments (big and small) and create gratitude for the past year as well. We can also identify places where we might need to continue to grow, set goals for moving forward, and design a few steps we can take in the new year to continue in our positive path. Reflection can help us to find gratitude, address pain points, and create hope for our future as one year ends and another begins.

Be Okay With Not Feeling The “Magic” Of The Season

There is a great deal of messaging and pressure encouraging us to feel ecstatic at this time of year. While that’s not a terrible message in and of itself, it does create expectations that we might feel compelled to follow. This can be especially difficult for those of us in recovery, those dealing with loss, those dealing with depression, those dealing with seasonal-affective disorder, or others who have mental health or personal trials that are on-going during this season. One way to address this pressure to be happy is to acknowledge how we actually feel, to continue our on-going self-care practice, to continue to seek mental health care if needed, and to allow ourselves to feel exactly how we feel without judgement. There is enough pressure placed upon us all this time of year, and so we need not place further pressure on ourselves.

Support

One of the greatest difficulties we might face during this season is a lack of connection. If we are not someone with a great deal of family, friends, or loved ones, this season can magnify that fact and we can begin to judge ourselves or feel disheartened by this. One way we can address this is to reach out to our local community. Taking this step can help you to realize a very important truth: You are not alone.

Root To Rise believes in healing through human connection. We’d love for you to join our tribe and we’d love to get to know you and to support you as you continue your recovery and wellness journey.

Expectations: Comparing Self

Roottorisenj holiday self-care Leave a Comment

They’re everywhere: Photos of perfectly trimmed trees a perfectly prepared Seder, the expertly decorated house, the matching pajamas, and the adorable dog with antlers. Since we are bombarded at times with images of perfect holidays, it can often feel like we’re just not stacking up. As we go through the holiday season there are a few things to keep in mind so that we can keep ourselves well, inside and out.

We Only See The Frosting…

One way to truly take care of ourselves this holiday season is to remind ourselves that we’re not seeing the entire picture when we look at social media. We may see a perfectly iced cake but we aren’t seeing the hours of prep work nor the fight with an oven that just doesn’t cooperate or the husband who ate half of the cookies next to the cake.

When we scroll through social media this holiday season we can use this idea to allow us to offer ourselves some compassion. “That’s not the whole story…That’s not my story…”

When We Compare We Tend To Despair

The rhyme is so wonderful and the message is true. When we look at others and compare their photos or social media posts to our own lives there are typically two experiences. First, if someone to whom we’re comparing ourselves is, in our minds, “worse off” than we are we might feel sorrow or despair for them. However, as we compare ourselves in this instance we might miss the opportunity to show ourselves gratitude and that person some compassion or empathy.

The second thing that might happen as we compare our social media presence to others is that we might find that we feel “not good enough”, “less than”, or “worse off” than others. While this certainly doesn’t make us feel good, it also tends to leave us without a way to be grateful and without a way to make changes to things we’d truly like to improve. When we compare and find ourselves lacking, we also find ourselves without much self-compassion.

When we find ourselves comparing and despairing we might give ourselves a new story to play with. Instead of “I am lacking”, we might offer ourselves “I am doing the best that I can and I am growing today and every day.”

“My Life According To Loved Ones”

One other expectation-related experiences that bears mentioning has no real technology behind it and, since it predates social media, is one that we may all be able to relate to. It can be likened to a book and that book would be, aptly, titled “My Life According To The Expectation Of Others”.

Whether it’s the “When are you going to find a partner and settle down?” or “When are you going to lose the weight?”, or “When are you having a baby? I want grandchildren.”, or even “When are you going to get a job?”. The expectations of others, especially loved ones, can weigh heavily on us. After all, these people have our best interest in mind, of course we should listen to them, right? Well, maybe and maybe not.

If we allow ourselves to hand over the pen that writes our story to others, we might end up feeling more lost and less fulfilled. But these questions do come up around holiday dinner tables and get togethers and so we can do a few things to address them.

One exercise that may help is to work ahead: Create a list of the possible expectation-heavy questions you might get as you enter this season. Then draft an answer. Allow your mind to pour over the page or typed document. Then cut it down into a smaller, simpler answer.

One other way to approach this type of experience is to offer a sort of blanket response. Perhaps “When I’m ready/ When We’re ready” might work for some questions or “Thanks for asking. I’m still deciding how to approach that.” Or “Thanks for asking, I’m not comfortable/ready/up for discussing that tonight.”  Having these simple responses makes those conversations a bit easier and our lack of hesitation when we offer them (since we’ve prepared to do so) gives others a clear indication that another topic is probably best.

It may also help to have some other topics in mind that you are comfortable discussing. This will make the transition to a new topic smoother and less work for you.

The final suggestion for dealing with the expectations of others this holiday season is to take to take care of yourself. Many people like to prepare before family gatherings and it makes sense. If we have done some self-exploration around our feelings this holiday season, the clarity such work brings can keep us feeling well even in tougher situations. Perhaps once we’ve explored how we’re feeling we might also think of ways that we can (either before or after an event or get together) keep our bodies and minds in check. This could be a calming bath, a chat with a friend, a yoga class, or just some quiet time alone. Whatever the activity be sure it is something that makes you feel comfortable within your own body and mind.

Community Matters

As a community, Root To Rise is here for you this holiday season. Feel free to check out our weekly events, to reach out with any questions or comments and let us know how you’re navigating the holiday season.

Holiday Self-Care Series

Roottorisenj holiday self-care Leave a Comment

This time of year, whether we celebrate a holiday or not, we can certainly get into the spirit. But for many of us this time of year is also marked by a “Happy Holidays?” feeling. Maybe we’re experiencing our first sober holiday season, perhaps we’re navigating family pressures, or maybe we just aren’t feeling as perky and joyful as those around us appear. That’s why this month we’re going to cover a set of common holiday season situations and explore the opportunities that each presents for us to take care of ourselves, maintain our health and wellness, and stay true to the path that is really our own. We hope you enjoy this series and would love to hear from you about how you’re surviving and thriving this season.