Dr. Colleen Cira is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist who specializes in Women and Trauma, so she has worked with hundreds of people struggling with a family of origin issues.
Talking Points from Dr. Cira
On Holiday Survival Tips:
- Know your limits! We all have a tendency to go on auto-pilot from time to time, especially when we’re stressed out and/or are limited on our emotional bandwidth. So wake up and check yourself! How are you feeling about spending time with your family? What can you handle? What would feel good versus simply obligatory? Once you do that, you can set yourself up for more success and Holiday happiness 🙂
- Set boundaries! Once you know what you need and what you want, set your schedule around that! Does your mother in law/father/brother/etc drive you crazy? Limit your time with that person. Do you have to travel to see family? Stay in a hotel instead of at their home in order to get more space. Busy yourself with tasks (cook your favorite Holiday dish…away from the rest of the family ;)) or your children (read them a Holiday story…away from the rest of the family ;)).
- Don’t engage in nonsense! If you know that someone in your family is going to stir the pot or bring up a different view on something you feel strongly about (politics, child-rearing, etc), DO NOT ENGAGE. Excuse yourself to “go to the bathroom” and go read a book somewhere for a bit. Take a crisp walk outside. Suddenly get very into your meal and enjoy your yummy food. Change the subject. Do whatever you need to do to not waste energy on something that is going to infuriate you and deplete you.
- Schedule downtime/alone time! If your family drains you, instead of fills you, make time for yourself. End your night early and go and read in bed for a while. Take long showers while getting ready for the day. Offer to go to the grocery store, etc and do it alone. Anything that gives you some privacy and space and time to breathe.
- Rally the troops! It’s a major bummer that your family isn’t necessarily a part of your support network, but I bet you have people that are! Identify those people and lean on those people. Let them know that the Holidays are hard for you and how they can help support you. Call or text them when you need to vent. Plan an event with them when family Holiday madness is over to debrief and process.
Available for Interviews: Dr. Colleen Cira
Dr. Colleen D. Cira, Psy.D. received both her Masters and Doctorate from the Illinois School of Professional Psychology and has been practicing in the field since 2001. Dr. Cira is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist and the Founder and Executive Director of Cira Center for Behavioral Health, PC a boutique group practice with locations in Chicago and Oak Park that specializes in Women’s Issues/Health and Trauma. Dr. Cira is a trauma and anxiety expert, clinical supervisor, writer, speaker, consultant, activist, wife, and Mommy to two little ones.
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