inner criticMy inner critic is working overtime his month.  I need a few peaceful days to fully embrace the blessings I do have. Like many of you, I’m stressing over finances. Then, there are the new windows that are only half installed (who knows when the others will be done), piles of dead trees to be burned, and the house to be painted. And, worst of all, my angst over my soon-to-be-released novel. Gift shopping was a bummer this year; everyone has everything or wants what I can’t afford. Additionally, there’s Omicron, the elephant in the room.

I’m not the only one. According to one study:

“… 77% of respondents say they have a very hard time relaxing during the holidays, and usually end up feeling more stressed and worn down than ever.

As far as what is stressing so many of us out, 56% say that the extra financial strain brought on by the holidays is their biggest source of anxiety. Others frequently cited finding gifts             for everyone (48%), stressful family events (35%), and putting up decorations (29%).”

At least I eliminated the decoration stress this year. You won’t find a single shred of Christmas except on my bookshelf where Christmas ornaments I’ve bought for the past several years reside. They never got packed away in the attic because we haven’t decorated in a while.

Dr. Lisa Firestone points out that December starts with hopes for a joyful celebration followed by what we plan to achieve in the new year. (And, naturally, when we start that list, we realize what we had set out to do last year and how much of it fell by the wayside.)

That can set off your inner critic, who, in turn, gives your self-esteem a kick in the ass.

So, what to do?

Joy Harden Bradford, Ph.D. has the following suggestions:

  • Talk to yourself the way you would talk to a friend.  Would you really say the things to a friend that you say to yourself?  I hope not.  Treat yourself with some compassion and don’t be so hard on yourself.
  • Monitor and collect evidence.  Listen to your negative thoughts to determine exactly what kind of negativity you’re pumping into your brain. You can’t fix it unless you can identify it. Then, determine whether these things are actually true.
  • Find affirmations that fit.  Affirmations are positive statements used to encourage and motivate yourself or others. In case you’re not in a creative mood, here are a few of  25 affirmations you can use to develop your own:
    • I give myself permission to do what is right for me.  (You’re darned tootin! I’ve got this one down pat.)
    • I am confident in my ability to [fill in the blank].  (I’m putting write here and will post it on my computer.)
    • I use my time and talents to help others [fill in the blank].  (For the life of me, I don’t know what to put in the blank. Let me think about this.) 
    • I give myself the care and attention that I deserve. (I’m getting really good at this one).
    • My drive and ambition allow me to achieve my goals.  (Uh, oh. Retirement has made me a bit lazy. I need to post this on my bathroom mirror.)
    • I am always headed in the right direction.  (This one I will post in my car.)
    • I trust that I am on the right path.  (Yes! I am so far down the path, there is nowhere else to go but forward.)
    • My mind is full of brilliant ideas.  (Hmm. Maybe if I say this enough, I will believe it.)
    • You can write the affirmations down, repeat them during the day, or say them in front of the mirror—whatever suits your fancy.
  • Spend less time on social media.  A no-brainer.
  • Don’t think less of yourself — think of yourself less.  Stop obsessing and do something with your hands to take you out of the space. (i.e., An idle mind is the devil’s workshop.)

Wishing you a self-critic-free happy holiday!


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