TL;DR Returning home during the holidays often triggers our inner child, bringing up past wounds and unresolved emotions. Protect your inner child by recognizing these triggers and seeking professional help if distressing memories surface. Therapists provide guidance, support, and a safe space to navigate through these emotions, offering tools for healing and creating healthier holiday experiences.
Heading back to our hometowns or visiting family often brings a flood of memories from our younger days. It’s like pressing a button that brings out our inner child—the part of us that remembers the old treehouse, the giggles with cousins, and those carefree moments. These visits can be super special, but they also sometimes stir up feelings we didn’t expect.
Returning home often means stepping right into a suitcase of emotions, some well-packed, others hastily thrown in. It’s like our inner child, with its untamed curiosity, runs straight to the closet, uncovering not only the cherished memories but also the tucked-away boxes of unfinished business. These visits sometimes brush against old wounds, reminding us of the hurts we thought were healed and the scars we’ve tried to forget. How do you protect your inner child during the festive season?
1. Embrace Boundaries to Protect Your Inner Child
Set boundaries to safeguard your mental space. Politely decline commitments that overwhelm you, and prioritize self-care to avoid burnout.
What can I do about it? ✅ If visiting family gatherings becomes overwhelming, set boundaries by scheduling alone time. Politely excuse yourself for a short walk or quiet moment to recharge if needed.
2. Prioritize Self-Compassion
Practice self-kindness and empathy toward yourself. Remember, it’s okay not to meet everyone’s expectations, including your own.
What can I do about it? ✅ When feelings of inadequacy arise, practice positive self-talk. Remind yourself that it’s okay not to fulfill every expectation and acknowledge your efforts, regardless of perceived outcomes.
3. Tap into Mindfulness
Engage in grounding exercises and mindfulness practices to stay present. Take time for slow breaths, walks, or moments of quiet reflection.
What can I do about it? ✅ During family interactions, practice mindful breathing. Take slow, deep breaths to ground yourself, especially if conversations become tense or triggering.
4. Revisit Joyful Moments
Connect with your inner child by revisiting fond memories or engaging in activities that once brought you joy. Rediscover the simple pleasures of the season.
What can I do about it? ✅ Create a personal holiday ritual by engaging in an activity that brings joy. Whether it’s baking holiday cookies, taking a nostalgic walk, or watching a favorite movie, reconnect with joyful traditions.
5. Protect Your Inner Child by Seeking Support
Seeking professional help during the holiday season when distressing emotions resurface is a courageous and proactive step toward healing. Sometimes, the weight of past memories or unresolved feelings becomes too heavy to manage alone.
What can I do about it? ✅ Reach out to a trusted friend or therapist if distressing emotions arise. Speaking to someone who offers a non-judgmental space can provide validation and support in processing difficult feelings.
A therapist can help! When you talk to a therapist, you have a space to unpack those emotions, explore their origins, and learn coping mechanisms. It’s one of the best steps you can take so you’re empowered to create healthier, happier experiences during the holidays and beyond.
You can connect with me and ask any questions about my services by visiting New Patient or by reaching out to me directly through Contact. I’m here to listen, support, and guide you on your path to well-being. Your mental health matters!