If you are feeling down this holiday season, you’re certainly not alone.
64 percent of Americans are moderately stressed during the holiday season, the top stressors being finances, giving gifts, and having strained family relationships. 1 out of 4 people surveyed by the CDC say the holidays leave them feeling depressed. For a safe and happy holiday, it’s important to be aware of the dangers, triggers, and strategies needed to keep anxiety, depression, stress, and addiction under control.
If it all gets to be too much, don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help.
Here are some tips from the American Psychological Association to get you through family conversation:
Find areas where you agree. You may disagree with someone but instead of strongly reacting, actively listen to the other person about what is important to them. For example, you might have different ideas about gun control but underneath you share the same concern for keeping your kids safe and healthy. You may find that by discussing shared viewpoints, areas of disagreement will feel less intense and your stress may decrease.
Be open and kind. When having conversations, avoid polarizing language and personal attacks. Remember with whom you are having the conversation. It may be a family member or someone important to you. Communicate effectively. Avoid having conversations on sensitive topics early in the morning or right before an important event. Try to be mindful of your words and tone and not let the conversation become hostile or combative, as that could have potential to negatively affect the relationship in the future.
Keep calm when tensions rise. Preparing for how you might react in advance of a conversation will increase your self-awareness and may give you more options if you want to de-escalate tension. If you find yourself quick to react in a heated conversation, it may benefit you to take a step back and remind yourself to be calm. Try taking deep breaths when you find yourself getting worked up or politely change the topic of conversation. Only you can control your emotions and being aware of them will help you to lessen tension with others.
For more resources to help with holiday stress, click here.