5 Body-Centred Tricks to Survive THOSE Awful Christmas Questions
Isn’t Christmas meant to be a time of merriment? Families converging to spend quality time celebrating the most important things, eating and receiving cool presents?
But the reality is quite different for many going back to see their folks during the festive period. While the initial novelty of seeing flesh and blood in person these days is wonderful, the relationship can often bring up old patterns of conflict and uncomfortableness.
Much of this discomfort arises when we face the same annual questions around work, lifestyle, partners, money and/or ‘success’.
Are you still with that same guy? What happened with your promotion? Have you seen how well your sibling is doing?
While on the surface these questions sound quite normal, we may detect a degree of interrogation or judgement. Backed into a proverbial corner we find ourselves defending our yearly updates while experiencing uncomfortable feelings if we don’t appease the awaiting stares.
Deep-set parental fears regarding our progress and well-being are played out unconsciously in their body through the neuromuscular system that tightens the area such as the chest, throat and face, constricting breathing and ease of speaking.
Our evolved midbrains pick up even these minute subconscious tensions as their job is to detect any hint of abnormality to protect us. Our neurological systems interpret these posed questions of interest as threatening and so our bodies, clicking into the sympathetic nervous system, start a cascade of stress hormones, increasing our heart rate, temperature and leaving us generally irritated… AGAIN!
Parents who are more liberal and accepting of their offspring’s life choices will display and communicate less tightness or constriction in their intensity, resulting in a more harmonious conversation.
Below are 5 body-centric tips to be conscious and look after both our mental and physical experience during the festive period while in the company of our family’s general nosiness:
- Welcome this awareness regarding these unpleasurable feelings in your body. Know that feeling triggered is a perfectly natural, biological response.
- Use grounding techniques during these conversations — long slow breaths, find your feet on the floor, relax the belly and try to smile.
- Keep eye contact with them. Avoiding eye contact is a sign to the nervous system that it is not safe in the presence of another. Soften that jaw.
- Practice Boundary Pose (link here) to create definite distinction between your personal space and your family as needed.
- Prepare an answer to expected questions before you go back and if necessary, just fucking lie.
And if all else fails, just remember — it’s only for a few days.