Melissa Allen


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Pacing over the Holidays

Welcome to today’s dose of wisdom. I encourage you to keep on sending me your questions – things that you ponder: tools you want in your toolkit to make life and relationships smoother.

Today we are talking about:

Pacing over the holidays

So somehow, we have arrived into the “silly season” and many are mobilizing to create plans over this holiday period. While some people thrive on this time and enjoy the company of friends and family, others struggle over this period.
If you are in this latter group, I want to suggest a concept to you: it’s called “titration.”  It is a term from the chemistry lab and basically when you “titrate” something, you dilute it.
If you drank a cup of acid, it would have a huge effect on you but if you titrate a drop of acid by putting it into a cup of water, you would be able to tolerate it a lot better.

In trauma work we talk about titration. We don’t throw ourselves into a full immersion in the trauma story, we dip our toe into it in therapy and we only do so at a tolerable level. Dip in and dip out. Diluted down to a tolerable level to process.

What has this got to do with Christmas I hear you say? 

Well titrating the experience with family and friends over Christmas can work as well.  If you find being around friends or family to be difficult over this period, then titrate it.
Spend some time with them but ALSO spend time away. Even if you are staying with family or spending long stretches of hours together, just notice how it feels in your body while you are there. If you find yourself feeling like your nervous system is activated, take a moment out. Dip your toe into these family experiences rather than dive in. Take little drops of family time at a time so you can tolerate it, you don’t need to “drink the whole cup at once.”

– Take yourself outside to look at the sky and breathe a few long breaths.
– Focus on wiggling your toes in your shoes
– Spend some time walking on the grass.
– Sit on the toilet an extra few moments than you need to – just to take some time away from family and friends and reset your nervous system again.
– Offer to do the washing up so you have something else to focus on rather than interacting with family or friends.

These are all ways you are titrating a possibly difficult experience for yourself – taking yourself away from any triggering person or situation and taking some time to ground yourself again before you re-expose yourself again.

Dip in, and dip out…

Hope you have an easeful holiday period.

Warmly on Wednesday,

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