Tips to Soar Through the Holidays

Nov 24, 2021

Are you in need of a few tips to get through the Turkey Dinner?  

Well, you are certainly not alone!  

Family coming together for the Holiday Season has historically been known to bring on acute bouts of panic disorder and anxiety all on its own.  Add the past couple years we’ve all experienced and we’ve got the makings for a doozy. 

With fuses shorter than short I’ve prepped a few rules of engagement that might help you get through it all and possibly even enjoy what you can.

1.)    Keep the visit brief.  You are not required to endure a timeline, or to violate your boundaries for the sake of a holiday.  Rather, this is the time to take care of your own needs “kindly and respectfully”.  Most everyone can maintain the peace for an hour or two.  After that, take care of you. Bonus:  You show yourself respect.  

2.)   Preset your Getaway.  If you need, take a separate car or announce your departure time in advance so it’s up to you to stay later and you can leave when you need.   Bonus: You don’t have to feel trapped.

3.)   Have a support person.  If possible have someone with you who you understands your concerns.  A knowing glance or squeeze can help alleviate a tense moment.   If you don’t have anyone present then have someone available via via text of phone.   Bonus:  You don’t have to do it alone.

4.)   Do something nice for someone else.  Show up early to help with setting the table, offer to bring and activity that will bring joy and a memory, drop some goods to a food bank, drop off an old coat to the homeless shelter, include someone who has nowhere to go.  We give thanks when we bring joy and share with others who might not have the same blessings.     Bonus:  You will get an endorphin boost from sharing goodness.

5.)   Create a tradition of sharing gratitude.  Sharing what we are grateful for can help us see the kinder sides of relatives we might struggle with.   This practice can also serve as an ice breaker to strained relationships.   Bonus:  Reflecting on your blessings will improve your outlook and your patience!

6.)   Don’t judge.  Yup, family can be annoying, and they certainly have their quirks.  Yet, judging them isn’t going to make them any easier to bare.   Maybe find a way to laugh in an endearing way.   Bonus:  You embrace the fact that YOU control your outlook.  Seeing the good, well, it feels good.

Lastly remember to utilize Box Breathing.  It will immediately drop your nervous system and bring a sense of calm.  And, Bonus:  You can do it at the Turkey Table.   Haven’t heard of Box Breathing? ….Simply breath in to the count of 4, keep the breath in for the count of 4, breath out for the count of 4 and keep the breath out for the count of 4.  Do this breath 4-8x and you WILL notice a difference.   You got this!

Remember this season will pass, even if it is difficult.  And know, you can do hard things.  

Hannah Zackney