Are you getting together with relatives this holiday season? Family gatherings are meant to be a time spent full of joy and laughter, but sometimes things don’t go as planned. Family gatherings can be overwhelming and, in some cases, detrimental to your mental health. Consider these helpful tips to maintain a happy environment during your next family gathering.

Worrying about an upcoming gathering may create anxiety, so adjust your attitude to be more positive before attending. You can set realistic expectations. For example, nobody wants their family members to criticize them but be prepared for negative comments so you aren’t thrown off guard. Accept that the only thing you can control is your reaction. Limiting your conversations with an argumentative or nasty family member may make sense if you do not see them regularly. Sometimes, the best solution is to walk away. 

Consider keeping potentially upsetting topics off-limits, such as politics or religion. People may also bring up touchy subjects but never feel forced to engage in a controversial conversation. Instead, calmly ask to discuss something else. Steering the subject in a positive direction may provide some relief from the situation. For the sake of everyone involved, smile and keep things light. 

During family gatherings, there is likely to be alcohol,  so be sure that you drink in moderation. Sometimes, drinking excessively can ignite aggressive or argumentative behaviors, so it is wise to minimize how much alcohol you consume, especially if you already feel stressed or anxious. Of course, you cannot control the amount of alcohol other people drink, so be aware if other family members get intoxicated.  You should never argue with an intoxicated individual, as that can cause many other problems to arise.

Bring a happy reminder with you to your next family gathering.  Admiring a photo from a time of bliss or watching a funny video may help reduce stress. If things get out of hand, plan to sneak away to take a break to look at your happy reminder. You can also share that happy reminder. If tensions arise among family members, show them a lovely photo or funny video, too!

krakenimages / Unsplash
krakenimages / UnsplashcpConf


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