Wednesday, November 23, 2011

holiday survival guide

let's be practical. as much as you may love your family and friends, the holidays are some stressful times.  it's hard to escape the craziness for self-care, but it's precisely these situations when you need to do self-care the most.  here are some tips for taking care of yourself during the holidays.

the best way to get some alone time during the holidays:
be honest - tell your friends and family you need alone time, ask them to respect your needs even if they don't understand it, and encourage them to do their own self-care during these stressful times.

but let's face it, there are people out there who won't respect your boundaries, so if being honest won't work with certain individuals in your life, feel free to set boundaries in more creative ways.

for immediate privacy:
 go to the bathroom - "i have to pee," or "i think i have something in my eye," or simply shout "bathroom!" and you can be sure no one will follow you.
fake a very important phone call - "this is my friend over seas! excuse me," or "uh-oh, i think this is my boss, better go see what she needs," or "my friend is having a really tough time right now,
i better give him a call to check in." then go practice some deep breathing.

for longer-term privacy:
get sick without really getting sick - "i'm starting to feel run down, i'd better lie down so it doesn't turn into a full-blown cold," or "my lady times is really bad today, better skip going to
the mall with you," or simply come down with a migraine which requires quiet solitude.
spend the rest of the day in your room with magazines, good food, and your laptop.
make up very important appointments - "i have this thing on my... you know what? it's not something i want to talk about, but i'll be back in an hour." then go to a favorite spot in your city.
run such a horrible errand that no one will want to join you - "sigh...i'm going to have to go to
wal-mart." but please, don't actually go to wal-mart. go somewhere wonderful and fun.

if you're traveling to a different city:
 make up a friend to visit - "i've got this friend two towns over i want to visit.  i'll be back later tonight." then look up all the fun things to do in that area and go nuts exploring for a day.
...unless of course you actually do have a friend two towns over, in which case you won't be lying.

for therapists, our busiest time of year is around the holidays.  while we like to describe the holidays as the most wonderful time of the year, the reality is that for most of us it's the most overwhelming.  people feel pressured to spend large amounts of money on gifts, make elaborate dinners, schmooze with acquaintances at various holiday parties, and spend large amounts of time with family.  now as much as you may love your friends and family, the truth is that spending time with them brings back a whole lot of complicated dynamics.  stress-ful!  so when you can be honest with family and friends about your needs, do so.  but if you can't, well, it's okay to lie.  it's good for you.


  1. Too funny. But quite true.. as someone who appreciates alone time, I am so thankful we're having a low-key Thanksgiving this year. enjoy the long weekend!

  2. Such a great point Kim! As much as the holidays are about spending time with loved ones, I think people forget to spend quality time with themselves :) I know I definitely need that lone time once in a while or I will go crazy.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  3. I love these and I've done some of them before, lol. I was really overwhelmed at work once and I faked having to go to the bathroom. I walked in, kept the light shut off and just breathed for a few minutes.

  4. I'm the queen of faking phone calls when I want alone time! I'm thankful that tomorrow I will have some quiet time before heading to the family.

  5. Great tips -- I might need to use one this year, haha. Be careful though with using the wal-mart excuse -- you might get saddled with an incredibly long grocery list. :)

  6. We don't have this Holiday (obviously) but others and I think this antecipated stress is also part of it, isn't it? From what I've been reading all these years, there's almost many articles with tips as there are with decor tips and recipes ahahahah.

    Great tips, Kim and Happy Thanksgiving to you and your Loved ones. Have Fun and Enjoy!!!

  7. Although I don't believe in lying, I think if people don't respect your boundaries then all bets are off and I say do what you need to do. I have issues because come the holidays my friends all roll back in town but all I want to do is cuddle my husband in bed.

  8. Posts like this are why I read your blog. Funny and useful at the same time.

    I usually have a great time with my family (they are absolutely nuts in a great waY) but it always exhausts me. Thankfully the post-meal nap everyone takes allows for some peace and quiet! I always try to take advantage of that time.

  9. Great! now i just have to do some creative reasoning. ;)

  10. SUCH a great post. will share on


    we are overdue for a coffee date!

  11. Haha I love this! When I went on holidays with my family I would take the longest showers just to get a break :p I love your ideas, I may just have to use ALL of them!

  12. Great post Kim - like the escape ideas - very clever and funny :) Hope you have a lovely Thanksgiving,

  13. Great tips! I resort to these so often, I like my space :)

  14. Kim, I love how smart your posts always are. We don't always think about getting some alone time, but it really is important. For me, it's all about that balance. Yesterday, when I was ready to have some alone time after all that socializing, I said my goodbyes and went home. Being able to do that felt really good. I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving, my wonderful friend.

  15. There were definitely a few moments this year when I need a time out and took a bit of a walk away from the mayhem or stepped outside for fresh air or made an excuse that I left my wine glass in the other room to get out of an awkward conversation.

    I guess the holidays teaches us to be resourceful in some ways :)

  16. lol. I use the bathroom excuse sometimes. It is good for me. Hope your had a great holiday.

  17. Such amazing tips!So funny!
    And love the quote!Thanks for sharing!

  18. Another GREAT one! It's hard for such an outgoing person as myself to admit that alone time is needed but I'm finding it to be more true these days.... Love Your BLOG!