The holidays are a time for family celebrations and giving thanks for our ride-or-dies who lift us up when we’re feeling down and fight our corner when we need support. However, this season of reflection can also bring feelings of anxiety, increased tension, and pressure to meet and manage the expectations of family and friends.
If you’re feeling apprehensive about certain social events it’s important to identify your triggers and put together a self-care toolkit that empowers you to better manage challenging situations.
Make An Exit Strategy
When I board a plane and the flight attendants point out the emergency exits, I immediately relax because I know that if things start to go wrong there’s a plan to evacuate everyone at short notice. Do the same whenever you enter a situation that you know could be triggering and come up with a plan to leave if it all gets too much.
Adjust Your Expectations
Regardless of who or what is causing you to feel anxious, take the time to set realistic expectations of how the day is going to play out. Allow yourself to come to terms with the fact that you will find certain aspects tough to cope with so that you can prepare to manage the emotions that follow.
If there are certain things that you’re not comfortable discussing or activities that you’re not prepared to take part in, resolve to stand your ground if someone tries to push you on them. If they continue to pester you, know that you have your exit plan in place and can evacuate at any time.
Let Go Of Past Events
Don’t let previous experiences determine your future behaviors. When you walk into a party, take a deep breath and let go of any feelings of hurt that you’ve been carrying around with you since last year. This will allow you to relax and form a more positive association with the people there and live in the present moment.
If someone says something hurtful or behaves in a way that upsets you, shake it off and move on. Don’t absorb other people’s negativity or dwell on their comments. Their opinions are their responsibility, not yours. You do you and be proud of the person you are.
Let Your Ride-or-Dies Support You
Take advantage of friends that you know have your back. You could speak to them beforehand and explain why you find certain people or events triggering. They’re sure to support you however they can.
Take Time To Practice Self-Care
If you know you’re going to have a tough time, in the lead-up, do something that brings you joy. Self-care doesn’t have to be expensive or take up a lot of time, consider a DIY spa day with friends or reorganize your dorm room to create a zen-like feeling of calm.
However you choose to manage stressful social gatherings, give yourself the best chance to enjoy the holiday season by identifying your triggers and equipping your self-care toolkit accordingly.
Do you have a good technique to help manage stressful situations? Share your tips on social media with #LifeUnzipped