Holiday Family Gathering Tips

Family gatherings carry with high expectations. Here are ten tips to make certain your holidays aren’t sabotaged by anxiety

  1. With family and guests underfoot, forgetting to make certain that your own needs are protected can result in increased anxiety. Notice signs of arousal that put you at risk, such as fatigue, short temper, or irritability. Excuse yourself for a walk by yourself or retreat to your bedroom to slow your breathing, prayer, or meditation.
  2. Learn to be an observer while in the midst of family chaos rather than a reactor to a highly charged family environment.
  3. As Monica McGoldrick wisely advises, “Never stay with your family longer than you can manage to be generous.”
  4. Notice if and when you tend to blame others. That’s a sign that your patience is wearing thin and anxiety is increasing.
  5. Set boundaries. Don’t over-function by attempting to take care of everyone’s needs. If you need help with something, for goodness sake, ASK!
  6. Your holiday really won’t be perfect; allow for the unexpected by being flexible and “go with the flow.”
  7. Remember that alcohol is a depressant.
  8. Let go of expectations of others. That’s a set-up for disappointment.
  9. Take one day at a time.
  10. By definition, holidays are an interruption in our routines and that simple interruption is stress-producing. It’s OK to see not only the headlights of family but to also enjoy seeing their tail-lights!

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