Kristen Kraus, LPC, NCC Baptist Health Behavioral Health Clinic-Little Rock
As we approach a season known for busyness, extra expenses, and planning events, we naturally brace for impact and zoom in on all the potential problems. However, this time of year can also bring to mind other concerns.
- Am I ready to see my family again?
- Can I handle the memories that come up for me?
- Will I be able to pay for travel and gifts?
Now, more than ever, we often need support in understanding and processing these fears.
When we act in our best interest and take the time to consider our needs, we are honoring our nervous system. Doing so is an act of self-care. But how do we do this? Instead of practicing self-care, we can fall into a cycle of self-sabotage.
Standard methods of self-sabotage include:
- Suppression of feelings (when we “stuff” them down)
- Refusing help
- Wallowing in self-pity
- Living in the past, isolation and negative self-talk
We often engage in these behaviors as a form of maladaptive coping. These behaviors, though not healthy, may seemingly work at the moment but sometimes have deeper roots. Our bodies are built to escape and avoid issues, often as a trauma response for survival. Sometimes our methods of self-sabotage make us feel that we have to run, numb with substances, or shut down to get through various seasons of life. When we live in a body that doesn’t know how to handle unexpected stress, anger, or anxiety and we have not addressed our emotions, it is no wonder that approaching this demanding season would seem daunting.
Safeguarding against self-sabotage starts with having a healthy dialogue with yourself. When triggers arise, we must acknowledge how they change our behavior. It can be scary to be curious about our motivations, which is why we encourage people to utilize a therapist to assist them in sorting out these emotions. If you are not ready to speak with a therapist, journaling or using a guided workbook can be a great option.
Communicating effectively with your support system can be improved by having a weekly check-in and creating a family calendar to discuss upcoming events and expenses. By having honest conversations, you may find that your mindset changes. You are allowed to reevaluate your plans as you see fit. Be mindful of the comparison to other families or unhealthy expectations of perfection that can creep in.
Purposefully paying attention to life in the present moment is the heart of mindfulness. When we process things momentarily, it is easier to find joy. We must clear our mental and emotional filters, or we risk living with the weight of the past or the dread of the unknown.
Learn ways to lighten your load and approach the future with an open perspective to all that is to come. If you would like to learn more about Baptist Health Behavioral Health Clinic – Little Rock, please visit here or call at 501-202-7587.