5 Tips for managing family and food-related holiday stress 

Meals and household are central elements of many celebrations, and the vacations are not any exception.  

The top-of-the-year holidays are marked by get-togethers with household and buddies, which might imply various things to totally different individuals – starting from pleasure and jubilation to anxiety and stress. 

Because the 12 months involves an finish, your shoppers could also be coming to you questioning navigate difficult vacation moments and exchanges. A few of their anxieties could also be food-related, family-related, or each. As a well being, vitamin, wellness, or health coach, you possibly can present some helpful tricks to help your shoppers in constructing a wholesome outlook round this time.  

This text suggests 5 suggestions you possibly can relay to your teaching shoppers about navigating meals and household throughout the holidays.


How one can Discuss to Purchasers About Potential Vacation Stressors 

Relying in your private teaching course of, it is probably not simple citing the vacations and any stress your shoppers might really feel round this time.  

Nonetheless, you need to use a Motivational Interviewing (MI) strategy to convey up the subject and provides shoppers a possibility to speak about it. Quite than commanding or directing them to share data that is likely to be delicate or that they may not really feel comfy speaking about, you need to use trauma-informed principles to open the door to discussing it.  

For instance, a method to convey up vacation stressors may very well be, “I do know you’re consuming a plant-based food regimen, however you talked about your loved ones members are avid meat-eaters. Inform me about how this is likely to be disturbing for you.” 

This touches with reference to vacation and household stressors, nevertheless it additionally assumes it’s a level of competition between your shopper and their household. Chances are you’ll be inadvertently inflicting stress the place there was beforehand none.  

As a substitute, think about using the trauma-informed ideas of empowerment, voice, and choice to border the topic otherwise. A method of citing potential vacation stressors is by saying, “The vacations are proper across the nook. Would you’re feeling comfy sharing if and the way you often observe the end-of-year holidays?”  

Then you possibly can observe up with one other query that offers your shopper a possibility to replicate on how the approaching holidays might differ from previous holidays or an opportunity to speak about issues that they’re anticipating (each constructive and unfavorable) concerning the holidays.  

For instance, after asking if they’re open to discussing the vacations, you would possibly ask them, “What are you anticipating concerning the holidays this 12 months?”  

This open-ended query may lead you in lots of instructions. Your shopper would possibly wish to discuss concerning the nice occasions they’re trying ahead to, anticipated household competition, or nervousness about making ready Thanksgiving dinner for the primary time on their very own, amongst others.  

By asking the query on this method, you keep away from assuming vacation meals and household are disturbing to your shopper. Naturally, you’ll study your shopper’s perspective on the vacations. It is usually respectful of their alternative to speak concerning the topic in any respect.  

You possibly can study extra about motivational interviewing strategies by studying the next articles:  

Potential Meals and Household-Associated Vacation Stressors 

A 2006 American Psychological Association report acknowledged that 44% of ladies and 31% of males expertise a rise in stress throughout the holidays, whereas solely 4% of ladies and 12% of males expertise a lower in stress throughout the holidays. A way more latest examine carried out by the APA in 2021 discovered that among the primary holiday stressors embrace: 

  • Affording vacation presents 
  • Discovering and securing vacation presents 
  • Affording vacation meals 
  • Spreading or contracting COVID-19 at a vacation gathering 
  • Working lengthy hours 
  • Touring for the vacations 
  • Discussing politics 
  • Spending time with household  

Some extra particular vacation food- and family-related stressors embrace:  

  • Being criticized or shamed on the premise of physique dimension or form 
  • Being criticized or shamed on the premise of dietary habits, regimes, or selections 
  • Having dietary habits at odds with the household’s normal habits 
  • Concern about shedding progress on food-related well being habits change 
  • Traumaversaries, or anniversaries of a traumatic occasion across the holidays 
  • Rivalry round household adjustments or information, comparable to divorce or separation, lack of a member of the family, popping out, a brand new associate or youngster, or adjustments within the location of celebrations 
  • Stress round gift-giving, together with how a lot was spent and who gave who what 
  • Stress round parenting when the youngsters are on trip 
  • Having hassle managing expectations  

No doubt, the listing of potential vacation stressors is sort of limitless. A stressor that is likely to be barely uncomfortable for one individual may very well be paralyzing for one more. Within the subsequent part, this text suggests 5 suggestions you possibly can supply shoppers who’re experiencing all various kinds of stressors. 

5 Methods You Can Help Your Teaching Purchasers Handle Meals- and Household-Associated Stressors 

Assist Them Determine Clear Boundaries 

Boundaries are important to self-care. Boundaries are pointers or limits of the way you wish to be handled, they usually let others know what is just not an appropriate method to deal with you or discuss to you.  

The University of Illinois Chicago states, “[Boundaries] honor our wants and desires in order that we really feel revered and protected.” 

Many individuals are usually not conscious of their very own boundaries and, in consequence, are unprepared to guard themselves from feeling stress and discomfort. The vacations are not any exception.   

You possibly can work along with your shopper to assist them determine boundaries round vacation communications and interactions. Listed below are some steered steps on go about doing this:  

  1. State that your shopper, like all individuals, is an individual worthy of dignity and respect. Ask them to replicate on this assertion. It will be important that they work on believing it, too.  
  1. Remind your shopper that they’re chargeable for defending themselves and their well-being. Identical to they’re the primary character in making well being habits adjustments in their very own lives, they have to even be the primary character in defending their wellbeing.  
  1. Ask your shopper to visualise upcoming vacation interactions. Ask them to verbalize what would make them really feel unsafe or disrespected, making an attempt to be particular about why these exchanges make them really feel that method. Some examples of boundary violations embrace verbal violations, psychological and emotional violations, and bodily violations.  
  1. Then, ask them to visualise modifications in these interactions that might make them really feel protected and revered.  
  1. Lastly, work with them to set concrete boundaries they will state. Ideally, they are going to write these all the way down to check with later. Some examples of what these boundaries would possibly sound like embrace:  
  • Accepting one invitation to vacation features per week 
  • Not going over price range with vacation gifting  
  • Taking a break whereas internet hosting Not permitting individuals to freely touch upon their physique, that of their members of the family or their associate
  • Not permitting individuals to freely touch upon their consuming habits or dietary selections  

Apply Setting Boundaries 

Supporting your shopper in figuring out their wants places a vital step out of the best way. As soon as they’ve set their boundaries, they will follow making selections and speaking in a method that respects these boundaries.  

Your shoppers ought to count on pushback from household and buddies as they start to say their boundaries, and they need to really feel ready to reply.  

You possibly can help your shopper by organising role-playing actions the place your shopper performs themself and also you play the household or pal from whom they count on to try to violate boundaries or some stage of pushback.  

Having some key responses in thoughts may also help facilitate these communications. For instance, in case your shopper has set a transparent boundary round sticking to their plant-based food regimen throughout a Christmas gathering, you possibly can work with them to state boundaries when their aunt begins to attempt to persuade them to eat turkey. They’ll say one thing like, “thanks, however no thanks. I’ve been feeling nice since I’ve began consuming a plant-based food regimen, and whereas your turkey seems scrumptious, I’m going to go. Thanks, although!” 

Training setting these boundaries out loud may also help put together your shoppers for going through moments of boundary violations.  

Discover an Ally 

Allies are people who find themselves prepared and capable of advocate for you. That is particularly helpful when you’re unaccustomed to speaking your boundaries or if members of the family or buddies make it particularly troublesome for you to take action.  

Having a trusted pal, associate, cousin, sibling, or father or mother by your facet throughout disturbing vacation interactions may also help put you comfortable.  

You possibly can assist your shopper determine an ally to whom they really feel comfy confiding in to specific their discomforts and limits and who they belief to assist help them in asserting these boundaries. For instance, a sibling who can comfortably ask a cousin to keep away from making feedback about your shopper’s physique may also help save your shopper from frustration and discomfort.  

Have Self-Compassion 

Self-compassion is whenever you undertake an angle of heat and understanding whenever you really feel like you have got failed, are feeling down, or are feeling insufficient. Having unfavorable emotions towards your self would possibly occur when you don’t observe via with setting your boundaries or really feel you have got taken a step again in working towards your well being objectives.  

Progress is just not linear and, as health behavior change science tells us, taking steps backward is regular.  

In the course of the vacation season, routines change, as do the individuals with whom we usually work together. When these items change, it isn’t practical for most individuals to stay to their common consuming and train habits, and we might miss a possibility to set a boundary throughout a household perform. Each of those are okay!  

Cultivating self-compassion makes it simpler to your shoppers to acknowledge errors, setbacks, or just variations in routine and permit them to maneuver ahead with out regret.  

Do not forget that Sustainability Is the Objective 

In relation to well being habits change, no single meal, single day, or single interplay means a lot within the grand scheme of issues. Meals is a traditional and great a part of many celebrations, and it’s possible that it isn’t meals you eat daily. It’s okay to your shoppers to eat greater than they usually would. It’s okay for them to eat totally different meals. It’s okay to present their physique a relaxation.  

These behaviors are a traditional a part of being human and having fun with life. For long-term habits change to final, it must be sustainable and match with all of the seasons. If a well being habits change aim and its limits trigger your shopper to really feel depressing and restricted throughout the holidays (or every other time of 12 months, for that matter), it’s unlikely they are going to really feel compelled to stick with it for a lifetime.  

Fundamental Takeaways 

The stress of the vacations will be difficult for many individuals. Meals- and exercise-related stress is frequent in shoppers who’ve particular objectives associated to those subjects and who’ve made progress however are usually not but assured in weathering the adjustments that come about of their routine throughout the holidays.  

As their well being, vitamin, wellness, or health coach, you possibly can help them in making ready for the vacation season by figuring out and setting boundaries, studying to have self-compassion, and reminding them that having totally different habits throughout the holidays than throughout the remainder of the 12 months is completely regular and wholesome.  

For extra vacation sources, try these articles:  

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  1. https://ncsacw.acf.hhs.gov/userfiles/files/SAMHSA_Trauma.pdf 
  2. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/mhw.33052 
  3. https://www.psychiatry.org/File%20Library/Unassigned/APA_Holiday-Stress_PPT-REPORT_November-2021_update.pdf 
  4. https://www.apa.org/topics/stress/holiday  
  5. https://wellnesscenter.uic.edu/news-stories/boundaries-what-are-they-and-how-to-create-them/ 
  6. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/in-flux/201511/7-tips-create-healthy-boundaries-others 
  7. https://www.afpafitness.com/blog/how-to-support-your-clients-holistic-health-through-holiday-stress-and-traumaversaries
  8. https://www.afpafitness.com/blog/healthy-comfort-foods-for-the-holidays
  9. https://www.afpafitness.com/blog/holistic-ways-to-manage-stress-during-the-holidays
  10. https://www.afpafitness.com/blog/9-health-benefits-of-ginger-plus-4-healthy-holiday-recipes
  11. https://www.afpafitness.com/blog/how-to-support-your-clients-through-the-most-common-holiday-health-struggles
  12. https://www.afpafitness.com/blog/healthy-thanksgiving-food-ideas  

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