‘Tis that time of year when the weather is crisp and nature turns toward hibernation. For some, hibernation seems a fitting escape from family responsibilities and the bustle of commercialism that forces a holiday spirit upon us just after Labor Day.
Fending off the negativity of the season is a challenge. The lingering thoughts of “It’s supposed to be so much better,” often get caught in a loop and can empty your reservoir of joy.
Studies indicate that fatigue, stress, irritability, and sadness are consistent across the population during the holidays. Research also indicates that the top positive emotions people experience are love, happiness, high spirits and connectedness. Toggling between the positive and negative emotions we feel at holiday time poses a challenge.
Managing the expectations of special events, money worries and time restraints is possible.
Luckily, during the process of Equine Assisted Therapy our horses have helped many of our clients see a path forward through a host of thoughts and emotions. Their unique personalities, ideally matched with our clients’ needs, generate profound insight. As a gift to you, our team of horses is more than happy to share some of their wisdom, which can also be used throughout the year.
Here are their top 5 coping skills for thriving during the holidays:
Be your authentic self. Acknowledge your feelings and try not to put yourself into a position where you have to pretend to be happy or excited. It’s okay to be a little nervous in situations. Give people the opportunity to meet you where you are in a loving way.
Creating space for yourself and your needs is a necessity. It’s okay to take a break from the action. Leave time in your day, week, or month for self-care.
Appreciate the connections you have with people who really matter. Those who care for you can support you through the good times and the difficult times.
The season may be a time of grief and loss for you. Try not to compare yourself to others if you’re struggling. Take time to evaluate what you’re feeling and be respectful of your needs. Be realistic about how much time and effort you can off.
The Minis, Scarlett & Sawyer
Make sure to find time to be playful. Find something that makes you happy, and enjoy it. Remember joy brings more joy.
As we transition back into a time of holiday interactions, it’s important to recognize the struggles and triumphs we’ve been through. Give yourself the gift of peace as often as needed while creating a safe space for yourself and your loved ones. We hope a little horse wisdom will make that possible.
If you or anyone you know is struggling this holiday season and would like more information about Equine Assisted Therapy, please contact Rise Canyon Ranch at 714-477-1630 (Orange County, CA) and 928-288-0780 (Yavapai County, AZ).
Come for the horses. Stay for the self-discovery.
As discussed with: Dr. Theresa Dubois, PsyD, LMFT and Tory Seagraves, LMFT Written by: Anne Kruse Photo credit: Rise Canyon Ranch Supporting reference: https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2006/12/holiday-stress.pdf