Spending time with family during the holidays can be complicated. For some, it’s a pleasure. To others, it’s a trigger for an anxiety disorder. Fortunately, help through an anxiety treatment program is possible, and the holidays can become the pleasant time you’re hoping for.
Healing Family Relationships: It’s a Challenge
Just because members of your family are related to you does not mean that everyone gets along all the time. It certainly doesn’t mean that you have no complaints or long-standing issues with them. You will surely see many of those stress-inducing family members if you or someone else is holding a New Year’s Eve party. It is important to understand what those anxiety symptoms are when those relatives bring them out of you and what to do to enjoy your holiday with them.
Family members can put us under a lot of stress when all of them are together. Maybe there is that one relative that you get into squabbles with over politics. Perhaps they are keen on criticizing your life choices or personal relationships. There could be that other relative who tells bad or inappropriate jokes that makes you cringe. Maybe you are just stressed because you know there are two relatives that will be there that tend to get into conflict with each other and you do not want to be involved.
Knowing of these issues, what are your options for surviving the holidays with family? Actually, there are several:
Don’t have unrealistic expectations about family
It is normal not to get along with everyone in your family. Additionally, it’s important to be aware of symptoms of anxiety so that you know what to do when they occur. One symptom may be that you feel a headache coming on or muscle tension. This means that your anxiety is building up.
Another symptom of anxiety is getting hot or cold flashes. This occurs when blood vessels and your gastrointestinal tract is constricted as well as dilation in the blood vessels in your skeletal muscles. This could come as a result of hearing a serious or judgmental tone coming out of someone or that certain look they give you. You may also feel like you are getting a stomach ache as the nerves that regulate digestion may be hypersensitive to acute or chronic stress.
Get your sleep
Another symptom may be that you are not getting enough sleep or just not sleeping well at the thought of having to see these relatives that may ruin your holiday for you. Not being able to focus is another symptom to watch out for as you already have a image in your head of what your New Year Eve will look like when you are around these stress-inducing people. These thoughts, worries, and fears go beyond your control that you cannot think of anything else.
Don’t teach your kids to inherit your anxiety
If you have children of your own, it is important to fix your coping strategies so that they can learn from them. If you have dealt with your stress before by drinking, smoking, doing drugs, purging, or any other unhealthy habits where you hurt yourself in the process, your children will pick up on that. They will think that this is what you should be doing to cope whenever you see relatives.
Monitor unhealthy habits
Unhealthy habits will also make your anxiety symptoms grow even worse which will not help anything. Teach them more healthy habits such as deep breathing, yoga, writing things down, going for a walk, listening to soothing music, or seeing a professional if you feel you cannot handle these symptoms.
Don’t Hold Things In
Instead of holding all of your feelings in, find a relative that will be coming to this party that you can trust. Tell him or her that you are worried about seeing this particular person and that you can use all of the support you can get. If you say all of your feelings out loud to this person, you may realize that everything you are feeling about this person is nothing to worry about. While your anxiety symptoms are not an exaggeration, what you think the evening will turn out to be may not even occur.
Take care of yourself
You should have a lot of energy during the new year and you will not be able to join in on the fun if you are worn out. You may be worried about having relatives over because you feel the need to impress them. If you are running around buying presents, making dinner, thinking of ways to entertain your guests and more, you will overwhelm yourself. Your mental health will always be more important than anything. Make sure you are sleeping well, eating all of the right nutrients, and exercising.
Don’t let anyone stressful get to you and ruin your New Year’s Eve fun
If any relatives are trying to pick a fight with you, excuse yourself and step outside to do some deep breathing. If any relatives are poking fun at you, just tell them a joke of your own to avoid letting it get to you. This will show them that you can laugh at yourself and that they are not bothering you.
Develop your situational awareness to keep yourself safe. For example, look for signs that family members are about to debate you or ask you any pestering questions. You can just tell these stress-inducing relatives that you would prefer to talk to them at another time.
If you have relatives that really get under your skin, try to spend less time with them. Simply say hello, ask them how they are doing, and listen politely for a moment. Then, disengage from the conversation by moving to another area of the room or another room entirely. Now, you’re free to spend most of your time with the relatives who make you more relaxed and happy.
New Year’s Eve is a time to enjoy yourself and let all of your worries escape you. By watching out for your anxiety symptoms and coming up with a plan on what to do when symptoms appear, you are guaranteed to have a happy new year.
Anxiety Disorder Recovery Can Help
An anxiety and panic treatment center can assist you in turning a challenging time of the year into one you can enjoy once again. You just need the right kind of help.
Located in Tacoma, Washington, Bayview Recovery’s mission is to offer clinically-driven programs and services to treat a number of substance use disorders along with anxiety and depression using cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, trauma therapy, yoga therapy, and more for a successful recovery.
Turn time with family during the holidays into something more positive. For more information about anxiety disorder recovery, please call us today at 855.478.3650. We’re open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.