Episode 16-Preparing For The Holidays

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What are some practical tips you need in order to get through the holidays this year? What can you do to make sure to avoid certain people or topics at holiday events? How does knowing yourself help you create a more enjoyable holiday season?

In this episode, Nathan and Aaron answer all these questions as they talk about how to think through and practically set good boundaries for yourself during this holiday season.

In This Podcast


  • Boundaries around holidays
  • A “Looking Back” exercise to help you plan
  • Be Prepared – who and what you talk about at gatherings
  • Dealing with Virtual Meetings
  • What do you enjoy?

Boundaries Around Holidays

  • Spending time with people around the holidays can be exciting and challenging, so you need to think about them ahead of time to know what you need in order to get through them well
  • Consider the timing of events before you say yes to something; assess what a good pace for you is around the holidays
  • Consider if you have a lot of social events around the same time and you may need to space them out

A “Looking Back” Exercise

  • On New Year’s Eve, how do you want to look back on the holidays and feel? What do you want to have accomplished?
  • Who are the people in your circle you want to interact with? Who do you want to make sure to avoid or limit interactions with?
  • Manage expectations: the mental map you have about an event will dictate your reaction. Awareness around your expectations can help you manage them and thus your reactions better.

Be Prepared

  • How open do you want to be about yourself with friends and family?
  • How open do they want to be about everything that has happened in 2020?
  • Develop some key phrases for yourself to be prepared ahead of time to respond to a topic or conversation you don’t want to participate in
    • This also gives you a sense of control over yourself in an “out of control” situation
  • Assume people will not want to talk about what you DO want to talk about, and will want to talk about the subjects you do NOT want to talk about
  • Have an “exit plan” in case you need to leave an event or party

Dealing with Virtual Meetings

  • Some people will want to meet via Zoom, Skype, etc. and some people will not want to
  • Take initiative to talk about the subject with friends and family members, rather than being passive or letting these things come up and reacting to them

What Do You Enjoy?

  • Think about what you enjoy about this season and be intentional about building it out into your life/schedule to give yourself something to look forward to
    • Do you love Christmas music? Turn it on and enjoy it!
  • Try to get more involved in the planning process so you can be a part of making it what you want, as much as is possible
  • Discovering what you enjoy can help you connect with yourself or discover yourself again
    • Are you funny? Serious? Sarcastic? Be who you are so you can feel good about this, even if the circumstances weren’t what you wanted them to be

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Thanks for Listening!

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Meet Nathan & Aaron

Nathan Hawkins and Aaron Potratz are both licensed therapists and clinical supervisors in the state of Oregon. They each own their own private group counseling practices and co-own a third group practice together. Nathan and Aaron have been in the field since 2004 and 2007, respectively, and have over 100,000 hours of therapy experience each. On their show, they discuss facing fears and common challenges from a therapist’s point of view, imparting wisdom and humanity to their viewers. Along the way, they hope to not only share their insights but bring some light-hearted entertainment to make the journey easier.

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