It is that time of year again. The snow is trying to fall. The hate group is out begging for money in their little red kettles. The time of year that people feel the need to come together to make their family uncomfortable and spend time with the people that they have avoided the last 12 or so months. Yep it is Xmas time. This means that you will most likely be asked to (read forced to) spend time with family that you have been trying to not see. It will be ok.
I have decided to post today about some holiday survival tips for those of you out there who feel that time with their family is second only to getting an exploratory brain biopsy done by their dentist, but only just. I will go over 4-5 tips that you can use to get through this. Don’t worry you WILL get through this. I promise.
First, do not go. When you get that call that is there is the family Xmas party, say no. I know that you are thinking that if it were that easy then you would just do it. You are thinking that you HAVE to go because you will disappoint family or worse. You might think that the drama of saying “No” is worse then saying yes. I can not tell you that there will not be hurt feelings or no drama from this choice. I want to ask you a quick question though. At what cost are you willing to pay to stave off these things. Is it worth the week(s) that it will take you to get over the time you spend with your family? Is it worth the tears that you will cry from the million tiny jabs “in fun” at your expense? What cost are you willing to pay? I want to tell you right now you have my permission to say no. You have my permission and support to choose you and your own mental health this Xmas season.
Second, time limits. This has worked for me in the past when I HAD to be somewhere I did not want to be. So you HAVE to be there or Aunt June will be crushed and this might be her last Xmas. Ok fine! Set a hard time limit. 30 mins, 60 mins, whatever. Hell set a timer on your phone if you have to. This way you can say you were there. The family might not be super happy that you have to go but you at least tried right.
Next, have a partner in crime. This could be a spouse, a friend, a lover or hell even a sibling. Have a signal set up before hand. When you are getting to the point that you can not take it anymore give your PiC the signal and they can swoop into the rescue. They can say that you are needed in the kitchen. They can deflect Uncle Roy and his off color jokes. They can just hold your had (physically or emotionally) when you need it. This tip can save you from so much more then just the family Xmas. Use this one year round.
Fourth, the “Emergency Call”. This one might take some pre planning. With how available everyone is with cell phones this is slick. Talk to your friend that is not going to be at the party/function. Tell them that if you text them during the time you are at the thing to call you that second. Make sure your phone is not on silent for this call. Make a small show of the call. Your dog is sick. Your house alarm just went off and they need you to be there. You just won a million dollars from a Nigerian Prince. It matters little what the “emergency” is. It only matters that you have to leave RIGHT THEN to deal with it.
Lastly, Breathe. This may sound stupid. This may sound simple. It is. I am not going to lie. It is one of those tips that are so simple that it actuly works. Your mom getting on you about when you are going to finish school/have kids/get married/etc? Deep breath, ground your self and let it pass. It may take some practice but you can do it.
I know that for many, the thought of drinking to numb the anxiety seems like a good option. I caution against this one. Please listen, I speak from experience here. Alcohol can let you relax a bit BUT maybe too much. There is a very fine line between being relaxed and being so relaxed that you tell your sibling that you really think of their kids or telling Uncle Bob what you think if his voting record. Also there is the chance that you could swing your emotions to the other extreme. You could end up bawling in a rest room or the dinner table over something that was or was not said. If you choose to use this method PLEASE DO SO WITH CATUION!!
Ok my amazing readers. Those are my tips to get through this holiday season. I know that you can do this. I have nothing but faith in you!