Using Skills to Get Through the Holidays

#18: Using Skills to Get Through the Holidays

The holidays are a time where there is often a lot of pressure to have a certain kind of experience – one that is about family, friends, joy, and celebration. For many folks, this is more of a fantasy than a reality. 

If you are fortunate enough to enjoy time with family and friends during the holidays, the expectation of constant togetherness and merry-making can be a set up for disappointment.

This episode discusses common themes that come up during the holidays as well as ways to take care of yourself.

Show Highlights:

  • The mythical family gathering where everyone is happy creates a lot of unrealistic expectations
  • Travel can add pressure and stress 
  • Even in the most functional families, it’s often a lot of concentrated time together
  • Old dynamics between parents and adult children arise
  • Dealing with judgmental family members
  • Cope Ahead is a great skill to use for the holidays
  • Cope Ahead requires you to describe the situation that will prompt a problem response in you, anticipate the problem behavior or emotion ahead of time, and then plan out what skills you will use
  • The skill of Radical Acceptance – that you have the family, friends, and social life that you have right now
  • Acceptance does not equal approval
  • Adult children can often think that they are going to go back to families and change them and this rarely works
  • Loneliness, isolation, and grief gets amplified 
  • Creating your own rituals and traditions
  • The Distress Tolerance skill of Contributing can be especially helpful during the holidays

Recap of Skills Discussed:

  • Mindfulness
  • Cope Ahead
  • Radical Acceptance
  • Mindfulness of Others
  • Contributing

Links & Resources:

DBT Skills Training Handouts and Worksheets, Second Edition

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