Over the past few weeks, there has been a lot of discussion about spending time with family during the holidays. I wish I could say that all of this talk was positive and that everyone was looking forward to their holiday visits with excitement and hope, but unfortunately this was not the case. For many, Thanksgiving brought up many feelings, often related to fear that things won’t go well. For some, it was anger and frustration about having to participate in a holiday tradition that did not fit with their traditions, particularly with in-laws. For others, there was anxiety about seeing people whom they don’t normally get along with.

As I listened to the stories, I heard a lot of sadness. Most people felt really stuck. If they chose not to participate in the family function, the benefit would be that they wouldn’t have to deal with the discomfort of the situation or their feelings of anxiety or anger. However, there would be consequences, too. They might not get to spend time with the people that they did want to spend time with and their actions might lead to loved ones feeling hurt.

Different people coped in different ways but many struggled to find the perfect solution. Some coped by incorporating things that they wanted to do with the plans that others had made. For others, they limited the time spent with their extended family and spent more time with their immediate family. Others focused on values and acceptance, choosing to spend time with loved ones because that was important to them, regardless of if it was perfect.

That was Thanksgiving but for many of us, there are more holidays and family get-togethers coming up soon. If you’re feeling anxious or annoyed that you “have to” go to a holiday gathering that doesn’t sound like fun and might be full of strife, here are some helpful tips.

      • Use your values to help you decide what to do about family get-togethers. Family values and values related to your self-care are helpful values to use to make this decision.
      • Be mindful of how you are feeling and allow those feelings to be there, even if they don’t feel good.
      • Plan for how you might feel. For example, if you think you might have an urge to react in anger to annoying comments made around the dinner table, be aware of that urge when it shows up and choose a behavior that fits with your values, like offering to help in the kitchen or entertaining the kids.
      • Plan to do something that you love with the people that you love, even if it can’t be on the day that you want it to be.

I know that the holidays can be a stressful time of year but I hope that you can find a way to enjoy them. If anxiety or anger is getting in the way of you being able to enjoy the holidays or any other time of year, click here to schedule your free phone consultation to learn more about how Serenity Solutions can help you be more in the moment and live a life that feels meaningful. Wishing you Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year!