Thanksgiving is right around the corner so let’s work on a game plan for getting through it unscathed! Let’s be honest folks, it’s not all warm apple pie, reading by the fire, and saying things we’re thankful for.
For many people, (and this goes for our clients and patients as well) the holidays are HARD. Sure they bring people together, but often the people brought together have VERY different political views, may even disapprove of your lifestyle, or are just hard to be around.
For introverts it can be especially hard if you feel you need to recharge but are stuck forcing to interact. So as I said let’s make a game plan! No need to be a hero about this, be strategic!
1.) Set ground rules for conversation AHEAD of time. Perhaps there is a political divide in your family and friend group attending thanksgiving. Set rules ahead of time asking that politics not be discussed on that day. Unless you are a family who enjoys a battle, agree to keep the conversation neutral (for Thanksgiving at least).
2.) Plan for the uncomfortable questions. Rather than being blindsided when the random family member asks you an super personal and/or uncomfortable question, be ready for it. Decide what you do and don’t want others to know about your life. Keeping close loved ones clued into what makes you anxious about the holiday will allow them to better be there for you! So speak up ahead of time, so they can rescue you if need be.
3.) Go for a walk. Even if it’s freezing outside, come prepared with a warm coat for when you need to get some air. Even if people end up joining you on your walk, getting that oxygen and fresh air will do you good and help you step away to clear your head.
4.) Have realistic expectations. If you didn’t get along with someone before, chances are Thanksgiving isn’t going to heal that previous wound. That’s ok. Just be smart about how much to engage with that person.
5.) Be kind to yourself. Many times we revert back to our adolescent selves when we head home. That’s ok! Don’t beat yourself up when you notice this, but observe it. Get a kick out of it. And then try again. Buttons will be pushed, and it’s totally normal to react the way your reacted way back when. This doesn’t mean all the work you’ve done to be the adult you are today is lost. I promise.
Remember to take care of YOU.