The holiday season is a time for joy, celebration, and togetherness, but for those managing vaginismus, it can also present unique challenges. The decision-making process around whether to continue dilating during the holidays when your Great Aunt Ruth is around doesn’t have to be stressful. But maintaining a stress-free mindset is going to be key to continued progress both during and outside of family time.
Deciding to Dilate During the Holidays
The decision to dilate during the holidays is personal and depends on various factors, including individual comfort levels, family dynamics, and the stage of your vaginismus journey. Some women may feel more at ease incorporating their dilating routine into their holiday schedule, while others might prefer to take a brief hiatus.
For some, you may feel like dilating or doing your vaginismus exercises at home is perfectly fine. You feel comfortable, have a good private space where you can trust no one is going to barge in on you, and you can take time away without anyone questioning where you went,
For others, this might not be the case. I mean, what can be more stressful that the fear that Aunt Ruth is going to walk in on you naked in bed trying to get a dilator in… this makes my body tense just thinking about it! So for some, taking a break to avoid the unnecessary extra stress and tension might be wise.
Remember that taking a break from dilation during the holidays doesn’t signify regression. It’s a conscious decision to prioritize mental well-being and enjoy family time without added stress. Trust your instincts and make choices that align with your current comfort levels and overall health.
Creating a Psychologically Safe Space
If you choose to dilate during the holidays, creating a psychologically safe space within the family home is crucial. This definitely doesn’t mean you need to tell everyone what’s happening, but it does mean you need to make sure you feel secure and safe in your own vaginismus routine. This may mean communicating more with your partner what your needs are and having him help nurture this safety for you (i.e., keep talking to your Great Aunt Ruth after dinner to distract her from your absence).
Consider designating a private space for your self-care routine. Whether it’s a spare room or even the shower, having a designated area can provide the privacy needed for your exercises. Find ways to feel extra secure in this space, for me this meant blocking the door with my suitcase even after locking it.
Establishing a schedule that accommodates both family activities and your self-care routine can also prove helpful. This might involve waking up a bit earlier, taking advantage of quiet moments in the day, or even designating specific times when family members are aware you need some alone time (blame it on needing to take a social break).
In cases where finding privacy within the family home proves challenging, explore alternative options. Local accommodations, such as hotels or Airbnb rentals, can provide a discreet and comfortable space for your exercises. While this may require additional planning, it can be a worthwhile investment if you plan to prioritize dilating and exercises during the holidays.
If you chose to dilate, practice mindfulness to assess how your body is feeling during each session. If you notice extra tension, have grace and compassion with your body and understand that there is a large possibility that your body may hold more tension knowing there are others around and being outside your normal routine. Honor and nurture this by letting go of expectations and celebrating the little wins!
Taking Time Off with Compassion
It’s essential to recognize that taking time off from dilating doesn’t equate to failure or setbacks. The holidays are a time to enjoy the company of loved ones, and prioritizing your mental well-being is a valid choice.
Stress can be a significant factor in managing vaginismus, and the holiday season can bring its own set of pressures. Embrace the opportunity to relax, recharge, and engage in activities that bring you joy. Acknowledge that occasional breaks are a natural part of the healing process and don’t let guilt overshadow the importance of self-care.
Maintaining a positive mindset is crucial during the holidays. While dilating is an important aspect of managing vaginismus, it’s equally important to cultivate an environment of understanding, acceptance, and support. Trust that your progress is resilient, and returning to your routine with a refreshed mindset after the holidays is a powerful step towards continued healing.
So as you start packing your suitcases to head to your Great Aunt Ruth’s this week, go ahead and pack those dilators, you may decide you feel safe and secure enough to go for a dilator session or two. But give yourself an abundance of grace and compassion if you choose not to use them. Your body and your vaginismus will thank you either way!
Looking for more tips and tricks on vaginismus, dilating, and mindset? Consider joining our private facebook group where I do live (and recorded) trainings weekly! Or schedule a free consult call to learn more about what it looks like to work with me!