This time of year can be fraught with anxiety even in the best families and friendship circles. At worst, the season can bring on anxiety, depression, and angry interpersonal exchanges.
Here are a few of my tips for sidestepping situations that might cause the holidays to be less than happy.
- Forget all of the sappy, perfectly orchestrated commercials you see. Ads and commercials with pictures showing smiling, happy families with a perfectly cooked meal, and no crazy Aunt Harriet or Grumpy Grandma make us feel as if we are somehow doing it wrong. Those are pictures are idealized and don’t usually represent anything like real life.
- Adjust your expectations. The holidays will not magically transform your normally strained relationships into peaceful places of perfection. Be present in the moment as it is, not as you wish it would be.
- Set boundaries and limit time with those you find most draining or anxiety producing. Where possible, set a limit for the amount of time you will be at a particular place if you know that time will not be pleasant. If you can do so, skip that holiday stop.
- Remember: “No.” is a complete sentence. You have the right to say it, mean it, and not explain it.
- Participate willingly, rather than out of duty or obligation. This simple attitude shift often makes it so much easier to deal with difficult situations. For example, volunteer to set do the cleanup rather than be asked (commanded?) to do so. It is easier to give willingly than do something with a really bad attitude seething the whole time.
- Breathe and pace yourself. It will be January soon, and you will have survived 2016.
- Remember self-care. Take time to do something just for you and your precious heart. You deserve some happy and merry just for you!
Leave a comment with your favorite tip for surviving the holiday season.