The holidays are just about upon us and that may mean spending more time with family than usual. Perhaps that produces anxiety and stress, especially if you are about to see relatives with whom you do not get along. Preparing yourself for these encounters will go a long way to relieve your anxiety and increase the chances of a successful meeting with family.
Here are some strategies to get you through those events.
1. Be aware. When with family, we all have a tendency to revert back to the family role we played as a child. And family members have the tendency to treat us as they did when we were younger.
- Your first step is to not beat yourself up for feeling like a child again.
- Remind yourself that you are no longer that 11-year-old and do not have to respond as one.
- If someone says something hurtful, embarrassing or simply uncomfortable to you, try not to confront them. Instead ignore their comment or respond with something humorous.
- Walk away when things get tough.
2. Practice Mindfulness. What that means is that you focus on you, your breath, your surroundings, not on the hurtful or embarrassing comment your relative just said. Their comment reflects on them, not at all on you.
3. Leave early if that’s what’s best for you.
4. Don’t overindulge in food and/or drink.
5. Prepare your responses in advance. You’ve been with family long enough to be able to anticipate who’s going to be the troublesome ones. Visualize yourself having very calm responses to their comments and non-emotional reactions to them. They will look foolish and you will look like a winner!