Raise your hand if this has happened to you...
You head into the holidays intent on maintaining the healthy habits you've been working on over the last 9 months.
You know how to make healthier treats, you've been practicing moderation, and you're excited to finally make it to the New Year without an extra 10 pounds of fluff around your midsection.
And then... you visit your family.
You walk in the door and before you've set your suitcase down your mom is pinching the skin on your hips asking if you've put on weight.
You walk into the kitchen and realize the only 'healthy' thing in the cabinet is the box of Special K cereal that's probably been there since 2009.
At dinner, your aunt looks at your properly portioned plate and asks why you're eating so little as she heaps more mashed potatoes onto your plate.
The next morning your dad wakes you up with chocolate chip pancakes (your childhood favorite), and you know you'll have to eat every bite, otherwise he'll feel bad.
And so the week progresses, drinks being shoved into your hand, comments about your diet or your body being thrown around like confetti on New Years, and you stuck in the middle.
Feeling crappy if you don't indulge and crappy if you do.
No more. Not this year.
This year you have me, and I'm going to help you set loving boundaries, communicate your needs, and create a new holiday experience that's free of food-pushing and body-shaming.
When we grow up in a household that is unpredictable, stressful, chaotic, or even dangerous, a common survival response is people-pleasing (aka the fawn trauma response).
We become the parents in our household, we become the glue, the calming presence, in the hopes that we can protect ourselves and the rest of the family from the turmoil.
Because of these early-formed habits, as adults we become hypervigilant to other people's needs so we can stay on top of keeping the peace, ignoring our own needs in the process.
1. Recognize when we're in the fawn trauma response.
2. Practice setting boundaries, collecting evidence that taking care of our needs won't make the world implode.
3. Create feelings of safety in the body. It's easier to set and maintain boundaries when you feel viscerally safe. When you feel unsafe is when it's easiest to fall back into protective mechanisms like people-pleasing.
"The Fawn Trauma Response Can Look Like:
Here are some sample sentences to try:
Was this helpful? Please share this with your friends. Because holidays shouldn't be a time of stress and trauma, it should be a time of love and joy, and it starts with us creating that for ourselves.
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