As I practice counseling in Rockwall, Texas, I find that I use these tips as anxiety treatment for my clients. Anxiety disorders and panic attacks are often heightened during the holidays as we gather with people who can be a source of our stress.
Tips For Dealing With Holiday Anxiety
- Remind yourself that people are under more pressure and may be harder to get along with on special days.
- If you choose to speak up-and “rocking the boat” is NOT a bad thing—use an “I message.” Example: Mom, I feel hurt when you criticize my cooking.
- Try to have those “I message” conversations privately and directly. Avoid the words “always” and “never.” No one is ALWAYS guilty of something!
- Avoid family triangles. A triangle is where people discuss another family member behind their back. It may feel good to be included, but it almost always comes back to haunt you later when you indulge in gossip. If someone attempts to draw you in, excuse yourself and invent an urgent gravy emergency.
- The hostess has the right to set all rules and boundaries, such as no alcohol, no smoking inside, etc. Be polite but firm. The rules are always the choice of the host/hostess: the guest’s choice is whether or not to attend.
- Get outside for a walk or deep breath of fresh air. Remind yourself that it’s only one day. Promise yourself a relaxing treat later (such as a hot bath, TV show, good book).
- Try to look past the person’s irritating manner to the wounds that cause the actions. This doesn’t mean you don’t speak up, it simply means you speak up calmly.
- Thank your hostess. You have no idea how much time and effort it takes unless you’ve done it yourself.
- Spend time being thankful!