Tricks to stress free family gatherings

Whether you’re gathering together with family before, after or during the holidays, stress and anxiety can steal two seats at the table long before anyone arrives. Family is a blessing and gatherings should be relaxing, but sometimes bringing everyone together can pose a challenge even for those of us who think we are completely prepared for anything. Here are some tips and tricks to a stress and anxiety free family gathering.

Take the high road.

Make a pact with yourself not to respond to negative and not bring up serious topics. We judge family unlike anyone else in our lives because we feel somewhat entitled to express our opinions or disagree because we’re blood. Knowing better for your sister should not take place at a holiday gathering. Instead, take the high road, keep your mouth shut and if need be, schedule a time to meet with her to have a serious discussion. If your aunt makes a negative comment about your pumpkin pie, respond with a positive and change the direction of the conversation.

Be sure hosting is right for you.

Don’t offer or say yes when asked to host if you’re not 100% sure it’s something you can take on. Having everyone to your house, especially for a holiday like Thanksgiving when there are so many parts and expectations, is a lot and even without family drama poses a ton of stress and anxiety. Never be afraid to politely say no. But if you ultimately decide to host, preparation is everything physically and mentally. Never be afraid to ask for help, have guests bring a dish, drinks, etc, or even order in from a restaurant. Make a list, be mindful, be present.

Take time for relaxation before and after.

Part of preparing for what could bring on some stress and anxiety is taking time beforehand to relax and calm your mind. Start every morning with 10 deep breaths leading up to the event, light your favorite scented candle in the evening, do a yoga DVD for all levels, book a massage and/or manicure and take some time away from social media. After your family gathering relax with some of your favorite music, breathe and take a long hot bath because you deserve it.

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