I know two kinds of people around this time of year. The ones that can't wait to see their family and loved ones and build more memories, and the ones that are already feeling panic and dread, even though, as I write this, it is not even Halloween.
The first kind really seems to like their family. They accept each other, flaws and all, and are pretty closely knit. If there is alcoholism or mental illness, it is actively addressed and the family supports recovery.
The second, plays a strategic game of survival. Being closely knit comes from obligation rather than genuine interest and acceptance of one another. There are expectations and rules to be followed. There are roles to play and formalities to contend with. Alcoholism and/or mental illness is minimized, ignored, or stigmatized.
I will be honest. I know a lot more about the second type of family than I do the first. And I also know how to approach the holidays (and every other day of the year) so that you can finally maintain your integrity and self-worth, while loving your family.
Every day when I wake up, it seems like a fresh crop of stuff of stress about begins to seep into my brain and threaten to take over. And when I am feeling particularly vulnerable due to a difficult life circumstance or pending event, it threatens in double-time. None of us are immune to anxiety. And some of us have a predisposition to be more anxious more of the time than others. Have you noticed that when you are in the throes of an anxiety attack, it seems like Nothing will work? Maybe you have researched or read about techniques in the past, but at this very moment when you need it the most, the options elude you? I am willing to bet that half of the time, you don’t even remember how to breathe.
Fortunately, I can help. The techniques outlined below actually involve using your anxiety, the material you have in that moment, to find relief. Sound counterintuitive? It is. But it can also be a lifesaver. Many times we are told to roll our shoulders back a few times and take some deep breaths but I have heard more often than not, there needs to be more. So grab a hot cup of tea or cold glass of water (are you even drinking enough water? No? Great, we can start with worrying about that for the purposes of this article) and take a moment to read some effective ways of managing the Anxiety Monster that is lurking inside of you. Want something you can use starting today without having to buy anything or even go anywhere? Take a nice deep breath….and read on...
Cindy Goeller is a licensed therapist who loves listening to others, eating Maryland steamed crabs, and exploring the Finger Lakes of New York. When she is not in session with her clients, she can be found writing, baking, or spending time with her family.