Don't Stress! Beat These 4 Holiday Anxiety-Makers
Pressed for time? Juggling in-laws? Read on for solutions to the troubles of the season
Stressful Situation: You're throwing a party but feel insecure about your home.
Stress-Beating Solution: People are coming over, but after eyeing your stuff you can't help but wonder, Will they like my home? "It's common to occasionally feel self-conscious about where you live, says Laura Berman Fortgang, author of Living Your Best Life. "We view our home through a new set of eyes, and suddenly nothing seems good enough.
But it's crucial to shake that feeling -- your friends are there to spend time with you, not pass judgment. Rediscover what makes your house special by savoring the happy memories that took place there. Then, when people arrive, distract them with lively conversation and yummy snacks. And don't apologize for your possessions by saying, "Oh, that old thing, says Fortgang. You'll just call attention to your home's so-called imperfections.
Stressful Situation: When your family gets together, nobody seems to get along.
Stress-Beating Solution: Your uncle wears a silly reindeer hat, your sister is griping and your cousins can't stop bickering. Sure, you may want to run and hide, but you're not alone: More than 68 percent of people are embarrassed of their families, according to Leonard Felder, Ph.D., author of When Difficult Relatives Happen to Good People. "Chalk it up to watching too many sitcoms, but people falsely assume that everyone's families are sane, which makes them feel worse about their own, he explains.
Try these coping skills: Set goals in the beginning of the night like, Spend quality time with Grandma or Show Mom vacation photos. That way, you can focus on your priorities. Or turn every negative into a positive. When someone acts up, think: She is showing me how I don't want to behave. Consider the experience a lesson, not an annoyance, and you'll sail stress-free through family time.
Stressful Situation: You're visiting successful friends you haven't seen in forever.
Stress-Beating Solution: You feel like you're dragging behind -- starting a new career 10 years too late, or still single in a group of married folks. No doubt about it, anxiety builds when everyone else seems to be racing past you. "You're always going to be better or worse off than someone else, so focus on your own life, says Jane Greer, Ph.D., a New York City-based therapist. "Who knows? Your greatest success may come in five years. Sure, if you'd only gotten married or accepted that job offer, your life could be different. But who says "different means "better? "Accept where you are right now, and you'll move forward, says Greer.
Stressful Situation: Your parents and in-laws are both vying for your attention.
Stress-Beating Solution: Two sets of parents. Two holiday dinners. Too little time. How do you make sure your parents and your in-laws get equal quality time? "Pull out your calendar right now and carve out time for each family, says Jana Kemp, author of No! How One Simple Word Can Transform Your Life.
If both sets of parents expect to see you on the same day, don't be pressured into house-hopping. "You'll be tense before you get to the first home because you're under time constraints, and everyone will be cranky at the second one, says Kemp. Instead, give each family a specific time block on different days so you can have meaningful bonding sessions.