Holidays are a time of celebration for some but for many it is a source of stress. Dealing with family can be challenging, insulting, and heartbreaking at times. For many visiting family is a source of stress and feels like a burden. Perhaps you are a single adult and your parents pull out the 1000th line about, “so when are you going to find a girl and settle down?” Maybe your situation is trying not to insult any one by going to your mom’s, your dad’s, and your in-laws. By the end of the holiday you are exhausted from bouncing around to each gathering. Maybe this is your first holiday after a family divorce. Holidays used to be a fun time to hang out with your loved ones but now it is a reminder of the heartbreak you feel because of the divorce. The good news is there are ways you can make the holidays easier.
Top 10 things you can do to get through the holidays:
1. Figure out what you can handle and set your BOUNDARIES. Then stick to them.
2. Come up with creative solutions to time crunches like taking turn visiting sides of the family.
a. Ex: mom’s side is Easter and dad’s side is 4th of July
3. Host the celebration and that can eliminate your need to travel.
4. Schedule time for yourself to recuperate.
5. If conflict is common in your family, prepare yourself for it so it doesn’t catch you off guard.
6. Don't take the stress out on your spouse.
7. Be ok with saying “no” if is too much to handle.
8. Step out if things get too tense or overwhelming.
a. Go for a walk
b. Sit outside
c. Go home if you must
9. Don’t over load on the junk food as that can make your emotions less stable.
10. Remember the reason for the season and focus on the positive. Stop or interrupt your thoughts when they get too negative.
Many of us have fond memories of holidays and I hope that is the case for you. Unfortunately many of us feel the stress and heartache of it instead. If holidays are a trigger for panic attacks and depression spells for you, you are not alone. Do not be afraid to see a counselor to help you overcome those symptoms.