Family Gatherings and Holiday Season

Being around family can be difficult any time of the year, but especially during the holidays when you may see a lot more family members than you usually would. There are a lot of questions, opinions, and comments that you may not want to answer or hear, and that is okay.

Before going to your family’s gathering, take a moment to think of boundaries you’d want to set so you don’t feel pressured to answer or respond to things that you don’t want to. Along with not feeling pressured, remember that you cannot control anyone else’s actions and only your own. After not seeing you for a while, family members sometimes comment, both negatively and positively, on how much your appearance has changed. Before going to visit family, think about your journey and how far you’ve come, and be proud of it, even if it’s not where you want to be yet.

This is not to say that responding back is the wrong thing to do because we should all stick up for ourselves. No matter if you’re comfortable or uncomfortable with confrontation, trying the steps below can help you refrain from high stress levels and anger. You may not enjoy or want to be around many people, but if you still are, here are a few things to help with that:

Have realistic expectations.
People change. However, change does not happen overnight, so do not expect the family member who causes drama every year, for example, to not do the same thing this year. It is okay to be optimistic, yet realistic.

Tell yourself it’s okay to say no prior to going to gatherings.
Again, you don’t have to answer every question that’s thrown at you. Think about things you’re willing and unwilling to talk about and set that boundary for yourself.

Remove yourself (when you’re able to).
If you need to step away for a moment, allow that time for yourself. Walking can help you think and clear your mind as you may have just experienced difficult family members.