How to deal with the holidays and family

Yes, its that time of year again. If you live in the west, you have thanksgiving in the states and you have Christmas. 2 major holidays within 30 days of one another. Now there are plenty of anxiety and stress traps around these holidays, we could do multiple blog posts on all of it but today let’s focus on family issues.

If you’re like millions of other people you’re “going home” for the holidays or hosting family. This is a perfect storm, because for many of us the genesis of our anxiety resides in family issues. When we get together for the holidays we have all sorts of avenues in which our minds can dwell to increase our anxiety. From unhappy memories, toxic family members, the same routines on and on.

On top of those triggers your defenses are already low as you’ve likely been engaging in the holiday malaise at work, on the radio (24-7 x mas songs, ugh) commercials, stores on and on. So how do we mitigate this so maybe this holiday season we don’t have a battle with our anxiety?

Below are 3 things that I have done in my life that have helped me:

  • I planned a vacation as a present to myself and my family. So, do you take a vacation every year? If so the holiday season might be a great opportunity for you to go somewhere else and relax. I like this because I get to stay at a nice hotel, don’t have to cook and don’t have to deal with extended family. It isn’t cheap though. Traveling during the holidays can be pricey.
  • I didn’t over do it. Spouses family, my family, kids’ friends, work party, spouses work party. This is the time of year where “people get together” and its likely that you will be invited to more events in this period then at any other time during the year. You must prune out the invitations. Family is important but work parties? I mean don’t you see them enough? Cut out 25% of the invitations or expectations to see people that you have.
  • I focus on the kids. I know it sounds simple doesn’t it? The thing is this is an opportunity to affect the kids positively. If you need to go to these gatherings remember the kids are watching and taking cues from the adults. Do your best, be your best and create positive experiences for them. Often when you focus on the kids, you can glean from them that bit of joy they still have for the holidays. Its not new to you, but to them it still is.

The holiday season is challenging for those of us with Anxiety. It’s at our door step, you can do it. Take it one day at a time, one event at a time and remember you will get through it.

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