The holidays are here, and the stress is high. For some of us, the stress we are experiencing is good. Celebration with family is enjoyable. For others, it may be more complicated. Celebrating with family is challenging. Some people don't feel connected to their families, or misunderstood. Others feel disrespected. Sometimes we have people in our families that are not good for us - they are toxic. There can also be people in our families that are just overwhelming to be around. This can cause people to feel guilty because they don't really want to be around their family. However, it makes sense that you wouldn't want to be around people that make you feel bad about yourself. If you are getting together with these people, and how can you enjoy yourself and not get affected poorly?
Let's go over a few ways that can make these gatherings more manageable.
1. Set a time limit. If you are feeling that you can handle about an hour or two max, than make sure you are leaving before you get to that time. Set an alarm, enlist the "buddy system", do what makes sense to help you leave before you get upset.
2. Set aside time for yourself to decompress, process, and take care of yourself. That down time is going to give you more capability and energy to mange your interactions to the best of your ability.
3. Don't get sucked in. If you know that someone has difficulty accepting responsibilities for their actions, they put the blame onto you, they struggle with being honest, or they just don't have anything nice to say; it is okay to keep your distance or at the very least keep your conversation minimal. If you disagree, keep it to yourself. If it's too much to handle, walk away. It doesn't make sense to argue or have a conversation with someone who can't hear you. It will save you the energy you want to have to manage the rest of the night.
4. Make time for the people that do lift you up. Being around those people that do respect you, support you, and make you feel good can make a world of a difference in your mood, attitude, and overall health. They will energize you rather than drain you.
The holidays may be a difficult time for you, but you do have the power to choose things that can help make it more manageable and perhaps even somewhat enjoyable. I hope that you are able to find that this holiday season!