Does your anxiety shoot through the roof when holidays come around the corner? How can you be involved in the celebrations and not be doing every single chore? What can an ice pack do for you in times of crisis?
In this podcast episode, Veronica Cisneros speaks about 5 things you can do to manage your emotions and anxiety during the Holidays.
In This Podcast
- Create a list of your triggers
- Have an ice pack ready
- Assign tasks
- Listen to your body
1. Create a list of your triggers
Identify what your triggers are. These are things situations that stress you out, things that people usually say, or even the people that say them that set your heart racing and your emotions through the roof.
By identifying all your potential triggers over the Holiday period, you can prepare yourself on how to minimize their presence, if not curb them in totality.
2. Have an ice pack ready
Why? To cool and calm you down. During the Holidays you can get so wrapped up in everything that needs to get done, using an ice pack to bring you back to the present moment and helping you to breathe deeply so that you can control your emotions.
You can also run cold water on your hands. While holding your ice pack, try box-breathing; breathing in for four seconds, holding it for another four seconds, and then letting it out for four seconds. Repeat this as many times as is necessary.
Mindfulness is being present in the moment on purpose. Look at your family and friends and take a moment to intentionally enjoy having them around you. Take a photo of everyone, hug someone, and enjoy the celebrations and participate in it.
4. Assign tasks
Ask one of your kids or friends to be in charge of taking pictures, ask someone to be in charge of clearing and another in charge of doing the dishes, ask someone to be on drink-refill-duty. You do not have to do everything on your own, and it involves everyone in the creation of the celebration of the holiday.
5. Listen to your body
Be aware of your body, and take a break when you need it. Sit down, put your feet up and relax, even set a timer if you need to. You need to communicate with your body and listen to what it tells you, when you ignore these messages, stress, and anxiety creeps in.
How to know when you are feeling stressed or anxious?
- Your heart and mind races
- You have trouble concentrating
- Your shoulders or neck tense up
Set a timer for five minutes, sit down, have a glass of water, and take a moment. Notice stress in your body or anxiety in your mind, and if they come up, utilize these above tips to bring yourself back to reality.
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Meet Veronica Cisneros
I’m a licensed therapist and women walk into my office every day stressed and disconnected. As a mom of three daughters, I want my girls to know who they are and feel confident about their future. I can’t think of a better way to help other women than by demonstrating an empowered and unapologetic life.
So I started Empowered and Unapologetic to be a safe space for women to be vulnerable and change their lives for the better before she ever needs to see a therapist.
Thanks for listening!
You don’t have to repeat the same unhealthy cycle over and over. It doesn’t serve you. It’s time to go ahead and do something different. It’s time to move forward, and it’s time to create memorable memories.
Have you ever thought, how did I manage to lose myself? Being a mom is so hard, especially when we’re feeling stressed and disconnected. We exhaust ourselves trying to create this perfect life for our family. You deserve to enjoy your marriage and your kids, without the stress perfectionism brings. I am going to teach you how to identify who you are, outside of all of the roles you play.
Hi, I’m Veronica Cisneros. I’m a wife, mother of three, and a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. I am on a mission to teach women just like you how to become empowered and unapologetic. Welcome to our girl gang.
Okay, how are we about to celebrate Christmas? The holidays sort of crept up on all of us. I was so busy thinking about the 101 ways to keep my kids entertained, and then realized, we’re in December. It’s time to prepare for Christmas. Although this is time for all of us to celebrate and enjoy time with family, for many of us mamas, we are dealing with so much stress. So much to get done in so little time. I asked groups of Mama’s in my VIP group, with the holidays coming up, what are your biggest struggles? They instantly replied with money, time and having to do it all. The wrapping, the shopping, the hosting, finding the time to get it all done, trying to create these precious memories and maintain my own sanity. Another woman replied with all I remember is as a child, my mom was always pissy during the holidays. I’m the same way although I really try hard not to be. Another person had replied with, I always host my family events and my family doesn’t help. They don’t bring food nor do they clean up. I don’t say anything because it’s just not worth it. I pick and choose my battles. I just don’t want to deal with it.
Here’s the problem with all of this. You, my friend, are a ticking time bomb on autopilot. Making sure everyone is trying to enjoy themselves and running around like a chicken with its head cut off. Do you really want to spend your day on autopilot again? I know I don’t. The way my holidays used to look like is well, holiday preparation, what it used to look like is I would yell at the kids, I would yell at my husband, yell, yell, yell, all day. And then when family came, put on this fake smile, my kids were well dressed, they were well mannered. We created this perfect environment. And then in addition to that, I was always cooking. I was always cleaning. Sure, my family helped. But I wanted to be the one that did it all. I wanted to be the hostess with the mostess. And so I did everything I could to make sure everybody had a great time. The problem is that, although I wanted to make sure everybody was having a good time, for one, I wasn’t in any of the pictures, I wasn’t in the conversations, I wasn’t sharing memories, I wasn’t laughing. I was frustrated. I was stressed out.
That happens, right? There’s all of these emotions that come over us. You know, am I saying the right thing? Am I doing the right thing? Is everybody having a good time? Well, usually, Mama’s, when we get into that mode, guess what joins us? Anxiety and stress and a whole buttload of emotions that usually we don’t know how to handle. This impacts us and it impacts us because we tend to be frustrated with our kids. We miss opportunities to create memories. You were too busy in the kitchen cooking and cleaning and missed all of it. Think about it. Do you ever share a laugh with a family member or are you too busy sneaking shots in the closet, trying to maintain your own sanity? All while putting a fake ass smile on your face. Do you want the end of the night to be met with stress, fatigue and anxiety? Think about how it impacts you. We are remembered as the mom no one could talk to, the mom who was too busy during the holidays, the mom who never got to sit down, because she was always so busy. I know that’s how my mom was. My mom was always so busy. I wished that there was a moment where she would just sit down. Matter of fact, I remember asking her to sit down.
Ladies, we’re getting older. Is this the way you want your daughters to enjoy their holidays? Do you want them to repeat the same cycle? I don’t know about you, but I can’t get another damn gray hair or wrinkles due to stress, hell to the no. Nor do I want to go ahead and live this life this same exact way and see what comes up. Not a chance. Our kids are getting older. And I’m going to tell you right now, I’m so glad I stopped doing what I’ve done for years. And yes, I did it for years and there’s regret. However, it doesn’t mean I can’t change it. And that’s the beauty of all of this, is I get to change it. Right. And I did that, I did that for a couple years, I changed it. And still to this day, I repeat the same healthy patterns. I’m gonna tell you right now, I enjoy every single holiday. And I want you to do the same. So get a pen and paper because I’m gonna teach you how.
Here are five tips to help you enjoy your holiday season without having to take shots in the closet. Don’t act surprised, home girl, I see you. And I know all your dirty little secrets. I once heard Oprah say, drink a martini before everyone shows up. I’m gonna say girl, put down the bottle and let’s get to business. Grab a pen and paper, here’s a holiday challenge that I want you to participate in. Yes, we are doing this together and we can check in with each other. All you gotta do is join my private free Facebook group. In there, you’ll not only be a part of our girl gang, but you’ll also be able to go ahead and post how it’s going, how are you doing. You’ll be able to get some feedback from the group. Because let’s just be honest, we all need outside feedback, especially when that one aunt that you don’t like comes to town and she starts judging you and telling you how great you look in those jeans. What is that, five sizes bigger than last time? Yeah, I have one of those too.
So here’s the first thing we’re gonna do to help us with triggers. Create a list of all of the things that trigger you. So we’re not there yet, right? Christmas is coming up. But it’s not tomorrow. So we have time, you can do this on your phone or write it down. I want you to write a list of all of the things that trigger you. So a trigger is something that evokes an emotion. It’s something that maybe doesn’t sit right and makes you feel really uncomfortable. I’ll give you an example. My aunt’s judgmental comments about my weight. Yep, I got one too. We all do. Another one that might be a trigger is negative comments about your house, the way you cook. That one family member that knows it all. Oh my gosh, don’t you love them? Mine’s a boy. He knows everything. Everything, everything and then whatever you got, he got five of them, and they’re two times as big, three times better. Whatever you do, do not Spartan kick your guests, do not punch them in the cooter, yep, I said it, and do not go to jail. Remember, I’m not going to bail you out of jail on a holiday. So we have to do our best to maintain our emotions. How are we going to do that? By creating this list. Identify what your triggers are.
Second, I want you to have an ice pack ready before your guests arrive. Veronica, why an ice pack? Well, if you’ve listened to my past episodes, you know that ice packs work wonders. They help you calm down. They help you come back to the present moment, which is really, really important. Because during the holidays, we’re so wrapped up in what’s next or what happened in the past. Very rarely do we bring ourselves back to the moment. So when you’re feeling overwhelmed or triggered, grab that ice pack, take it to the restroom and hold on to it for dear life. Or pretend you got burnt and grab that bad boy and slowly breathe. We’re using this to help us control our emotions, whatever anxiety you’re experiencing, whatever stress, frustration, irritation, girl, you name it, that ice is going to be your best friend. You can also run cold water on your hands. I want you to also while you’re grabbing that ice, to practice box breathing. We’re gonna do it together.
Here’s how it goes. You breathe in for four. Hold it for four seconds. 2, 3, 4, and then let it out for four. Breathe in for four, hold it for four, and then let it out for four. Oh, I’m ready for bed. Okay, I’m not gonna go to bed on you, but I’m totally ready for bed. I want you to practice that box breathing while you’re holding on to the ice. This could be after you identified your triggers, or once your guests arrive, or once you’ve been triggered you already have that list to refer back to. So you know, hey, you know what, this is going to trigger me, the minute Aunt Samantha walks into the house, I need to grab that ice because home girl is judgmental like no other. That’s to help you. Okay. The next one is mindfulness. What is mindfulness, Veronica? You know what, that’s a great question. Mindfulness is being present in the moment on purpose, share a laugh with a family member or guest. Ask to take a selfie with them and post it in the group. This is part of our challenge. Watch your kids play and join them. Remember, it is important for you to be present in the moment on purpose. Look at them, watch them laugh, watch them interact with family or friends. Remember when they grabbed everything and you were so scared of them falling or hurting themselves? Now they’re a little older, take a picture of them in the moment without even letting them know. I want you to also post that to the group.
Lastly, take a mental mental picture of everyone in the house. Pay attention to the smell. Pay attention to the sounds, the sounds of laughter, the feeling of gratitude that everyone is safe and together. Hug someone extra tightly and make sure you tell them you love them. Remember, tomorrow isn’t promised and we’re gonna make this damn holiday memorable. I want you to pay attention to everything that’s going on in the house. And how happy you are in that moment to be a part of it, to be able to participate in it. That’s really important. Notice I said, participate in it. Mama, you got to sit down and put down that pan. It’s okay if you’re not doing all of it.
And this is where I go into step number four, assign someone a task. I know us mamas want to do it all, create this perfect holiday. However, how resentful are you when everyone is having fun, and you’re the only one in the kitchen. Your kids and family, they get it. They don’t want a tired and frustrated mom. That’s not what they came for. They came to enjoy your presence. And that’s not fair to them nor you. So ask one of your kids to be in charge of taking pictures. It doesn’t matter if they come out wrong, as long as you’re in them. I don’t know how many holidays I hosted where I was never in the pictures. Don’t make the same mistakes I made. Ask someone to be in charge of the dishes. Those dishes pile up really quickly. So make sure you put one of those kids to work. It’s okay to put someone else in charge. In addition to that, how can your guests help you? There’s so many holidays where my husband was a part of cooking. And so were the other men. It was so much fun having really in depth conversations about our lives in the kitchen. I don’t know how many times we made fun of each other because for one, we weren’t doing something right, or maybe, you know, one of the men had never ever cooked before. But I’m going to tell you, it wasn’t where we were shaming anybody. It was just real honest, genuine laughter. We just had fun. And there were so many things that they learned and in addition to that they took home and practiced, I want you to do the same thing.
Here’s my last tip. Listen to your body. If it needs a break, that’s okay, take one, sit down for five minutes. I don’t care if you have to set a timer, you will get back in that kitchen but for now, take a break. Your body is communicating something to you. And if you don’t listen to it, guess what’s going to happen? Anxiety is going to build, stress is going to build, you are going to continue to be triggered over and over and over again. And guess who’s going to get the brunt of it? Your husband or your kids. Like I said, they don’t deserve that. They don’t, and neither do you. How do you know if you’re feeling stressed or anxious? How does your body communicate this to you? Well, let me give you some examples. Your heart will start to race, your brain would be flooded with 50,000 thoughts. You might get sweaty palms, tight shoulders. Is it hard for you to concentrate? Are you thinking of all of these things at once and feeling completely irritated? Is it hard for you to breathe? I know with me, my shoulders tighten up really quickly. And then I start to ball up my fists, not so I can hit anybody, don’t get any ideas. But it’s just I’m so tight. And even my teeth, my teeth get like, it’s just my jaw gets clenched up. That’s how I know it’s time for me to take a break, or my back might hurt. Ladies, if this is happening to you, grab your phone, set a timer, and just sit down and watch everybody, assign somebody that task. And if nobody could do it, no biggie, you’ll get back to it. All you need is five minutes.
Remember, you’re not alone, we have a group of women going through something similar, we will get through this together. You don’t have to repeat the same unhealthy cycle over and over. It doesn’t serve you, it’s time to go ahead and do something different. It’s time to move forward. And it’s time to create memorable memories. So mamas, what I want you to do, is I want you to go ahead and do all of these things. If you’re at the gym, that’s fine. When you’re done, I want you to play it back to this mark. And I want you to simply write it down. What are the things I need to do to make this memorable? What does my anxiety look like? What does my stress level look like? Can I be a part of this holiday without losing it? Because I don’t want to do this anymore.
What I’d like to arm you with is how to know the difference between stress, worry and anxiety. Worry usually happens in your mind, right? All of these things are going on in your head. Stress happens in your body. It’s this physiological response that your body has. Anxiety, well, here’s the kicker. Anxiety is both worry and stress combined. It happens in your mind and your body. In small doses, worry, stress and anxiety can be positive forces in our lives. I totally got that from Google. So what I want you to do is I want you to pay attention. What is this? Is this worry? Okay, how can I address it? Veronica mentioned identify triggers. Is the stress in my body? All right. How do I address this? Veronica told me to go ahead and grab a pack of ice. Is this worry and stress? Veronica told me to go sit down, practice deep breathing, and take in the moment by being mindful. Mindfulness will help you regulate your emotions. Veronica, you’re using big words. What the hell are you talking about? Well, here you go.
Mindfulness, when you’re sitting down, being present in the moment on purpose, you’re now taking a break, you’re allowing your body to reset. That is key for you to get through this holiday, without punching anybody in the cooter, without drop kicking anybody, or Spartan kicking anybody. We don’t want that. We don’t want any of that. We want to be remembered as the mom who had so much fun, who is able to enjoy herself, who’s able to enjoy her guests. That’s what I’m going to leave you with, ladies. Apply these skills. And I want you to post them in the Facebook group because like I said, we’re gonna all do this together. You’re not alone. Enjoy the holidays, and Merry Christmas.
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