With the holiday season comes lots of family together time, and there’s a big chance you may want to run and hide. While part of you looks forward to catching up with mom and dad, the other part doesn’t want to deal with the usual lectures. You need to find a new job. When are you getting married? Are you watching your weight? It comes from a place of love, but that doesn’t make it any less frustrating for you. Family get-togethers can raise the blood pressure, but there are plenty of things you can do to lower your anxiety and still be joyful.
As you prepare for the holidays, make a list of all of life’s joys. Write down each and everything you have to be grateful for. Preparing this gratitude list will help you understand that there’s always something for which you can be thankful. Focusing on your blessings can shift your mindset from negative thinking to positive thinking. And over time, being thankful will help you see the world as a kinder, gentler place. This also means seeing more goodness in your family.
When the time arrives and you’re all together, there are some things you can do to relieve tension, not just for you, but for everyone.
Share positive. Focus on keeping conversations positive by leading the way. Start by sharing a few compliments. Tell your brother’s wife how beautiful she looks or your mom how delicious dinner was. Other ways to share positive include telling feel-good stories you’ve heard or read about in the news or talking about how great things are at work. Don’t sit down to the dinner table and talk about how much you dislike your boss.
Listen and ask questions. One of the best ways you can show someone you care is by listening intently. Don’t half listen, instead make eye contact to let them know that you’re actively hearing what they’re saying. And if your brother in law is doing a lot of listening without sharing, ask him a question. This shows him that you’re actually interested about what’s going on in his life.
Avoid triggers. If you know your dad is irritated with the election outcome, don’t bring it up. Anything that leads to easy disagreements like politics, sports, and religion are best to avoid. If someone does go there, find a way to redirect the conversation.
Bring your humor. Who knew that your funny bone has short and long-term health consequences? According to Mayo Clinic, a good laugh can stimulate organ health, activate your stress response, and alleviate tension. Long-term benefits include relieving pain, boosting your immune system, and improving your mood and personal satisfaction. So bring a funny board game, be prepared with a few good jokes, or suggest watching a great holiday comedy.
For Recovery Survivors
If the stress of the season is complicated because you’re in addiction recovery, you’ll need to have a special game plan.
Appoint a family buddy. Chose a family member that supports your addiction recovery, and ask for them to be your support system during get togethers. This way, if tensions run high, you have someone to bring you back to your peaceful place.
Rehearse how you’ll handle sobriety busters. When your Aunt Maxine is on her sixth drink and she’s trying to push one on you, have a script in mind that you’ve planned to deliver. Maybe it’s that you’re watching your weight or health, or maybe it’s a blunt, “I don’t drink.” Decide ahead how you’ll say no.
Have an exit strategy. Even though it’s family, you’re not obligated to stay if things turn too stressful. Pass around hugs, say your goodbyes and head for safe place. Don’t let a tense situation be the trigger that puts your sobriety pledge in jeopardy.
Family time can mean stress, and holiday time can mean stress, but you control your own holiday destiny. Lower your expectations, allow for more flexibility, and find the good in your loved ones. And remember, they aren’t perfect, and you aren’t either, so embrace the imperfections. After all, “families are like fudge … mostly sweet, with lots of nuts!”
Jennifer Scott is an advocate for opening up about mental health. She shares stories about the ups and downs of her anxiety and depression at SpiritFinder.
My mom has been writing some thoughts down and is OK with me sharing them here. She's a survivor to say the least and been through quite a lot over several continents in her life and somehow still the most kind and positive person I know. I'm sharing them here for everyone and also for myself. As a parent ages, there seems to be more gravity in the moments they share some wisdom. Maybe because I'm old enough to appreciate it.
Here are a few things she recently shared in no particular order:
This event happened when I was in middle school
1968 winter in Tehran, Iran; I was 14 years old and in 8th grade. I would wake up very early to
walk about a half a mile to catch the public bus to go to school. At this time, as far as I
remember; public schools had no buses, so we had no school buses, it was our responsibly to find a way to get to school. Usually there were schools fairly close to your home that were
roughly anywhere from a 10 to 45 minutes walk. I picked a school much further to my house, so
I had to walk and get to the bus and 1/2 hour ride on the bus, then another 15 minutes walk to
school. Getting to school was quite a adventure, and a fun one at that. One of those days during
a cold winter, we had a lot of snow the night prior, I got up and as usual had my breakfast,
packed my lunch and headed towards the door when I heard my mom yelling, "make sure to put
galosh on not shoes, it is icy out there, be carful!", but I didn't listen; it was not cool to wear
galosh as I thought they were ugly. I didn't have any nice boots to wear so I just put my shoes
on and headed out the door. I did great the whole walk to the bus station. The bus was packed
as usual and no room to sit. I remember every day the bus was crowded, it was no room to
move nor to breath. any how, it was my stop, and i had to get off but there was no room to
move. With struggle, I was able to move to the front of the bus and get off it. As soon as I
stepped out of the bus, I slipped on the ice and I fell, every body laughed; it was kind of funny
though, it was funnier when I got up I slipped again and again, but at last I was able to get my
balance and get up, I shook the snow off and started walking towards my school. The whole
way to school I was hearing my mom yelling, "put the galosh on is not the shoes day."
Life is too short, why wasting it in hatred.
Hatred brings sadness.
Hatred brings misery, and take too much of your energy; so be wise and surround yourself with
I am almost 62 years old, but I don't feel it, I don't act it, and I have trouble believing it! Is it true;
all these years gone by me?
Sometimes, I think where all these years gone by! Did I take the most use of them?or I did some
wasting along the way! I know, my time on earth is getting shorter and shorter, but there still are
so many things I have to do, so many tasks to complete, so many goals to achieve, and so
many work to continue.
There are goals to achieve!
There are dreams to catch!
There are wishes to come true! places to see, new people to meet, and observe peace on earth!
I wish I could plant more kindness in people's hearts
I wish i could bring people together!
I wish I could prove to people that we, all are human and we must be kind to one another
I had no idea that I would see the world this way in my life time. I always dreamt about seeing
peace everywhere, but all I see now, is war, killing, bombing , and destroying places!
What had happened to mankind? Why everywhere you go , you see hatred, greed and not
caring for one another.
if you follow any religion; no religion preaches these kind of behavior, they all say take care of
your neighbor and be kind to one another and do good deeds each day. So I don't understand;
where all these people coming from to go around; bulling others, killing innocent people. Taking
people houses and their lands!
Who are these people?
Where are they coming from?
Are they human?
Do they have heart?
Do they have feelings?
Do they value life?
Do they care for anybody?
Let's change the world together; by being a good human,kind, passionate and caring one.
Let's plant love in everywhere and in each person's heart
Let's change the mean DNA to the kind one!
Pye's words and some of sayings;
"I don't remember any of my Birthday!! that is why I am ageless!" Payameh
"No matter how fast I run in life, never is fast enough, and I am always behind." Payameh
"What is wrong with us?, we always want more!, be happy with what you have and be proud of
what you are." Payameh
"Life is too short, enjoy it while you can, you never know what will tomorrow bring!" Payameh
"At all times don't you ever forget humanity" Payameh
We, as a human have to accept that we are not perfect, nobody is perfect, and no matter how
hard you try you can not be perfect at all times. We all make mistakes, but if we recognize it, we
are a step ahead of the game of life, but if we keep denying it, it will create disaster.
There is solution to every problem, but we have to find that solution.
First; recognize the problem
second; address the problem
Third communicate and resolve it
Life is too precious and at the same time too short, enjoy it while you can, you never know what
tomorrow will bring!
Take long walks!
Enjoy fresh air!
Be nice to one another!
Listen to people!
Do not regret the past,
Learn from your mistake, learn from them and do not repeat your mistake!
Take life easy and be patient, no matter how you take it, life will go by fast!
Do I have the power to change the world?
Do I have the power to bring peace everywhere?
Do I have the power to spread love everywhere?
Do I have the power to erase hatred from the face of universe?
No, I don't think so, but I have the power to change myself!
I have the power to love and spread love all around me!
I have the power to erase hatred off my heart and my life!
I have the power to be example of a decent human being!
I have the power to be helpful, positive, compassionate, caring individual!
We finally bought a fruit picker to take advantage of all the public fruit trees after watching too many fruits go to waste falling on the ground. It's actually a lot of fun! Nothing like a little post-call fruit picking before you go to bed.
Bounty hunting has started. We pulled some onion and garlic which were ready and only a few onion were wasted due to rot. Can you name the other veggies in the picture?
The Oregon coast is my favorite in the contiguous US alongside parts of the Washington coast but much more accessible. This is due partly to Oregon not allowing ownership of beaches leaving the entire coastline accessible to all. I find this makes much more sense than back east where i have memories of being chased away by old Bill with a shotgun when i was a kid.
We went on an amazing whale watch on 6 passenger zodiacs allowing us to come within feet of several gray whales while they went about feeding in incredibly shallow water, as little as 10-15 feet deep, which, for mammals up to 45 feet long is amazing it's at all possible. The company that took us out is run by an expert of over 30 years who did her marine biology graduate work in this area and is very passionate about gray whales. It reminded me how precious that passion is and being in its presence is contagious.
A weekend with great friends was a good start to filing in the dark hole of burnout I find myself in.
Bees are ridiculously fascinating. The population in our garden's apiary has exploded just weeks into starting the hive. We even were able to locate the queen bee hidden among all these ladiy worker bees. Apparently the colony is not happy with the queen because they've made some queen size pods for a new queen to be fertilized and grow. The workers can grow a new queen whenever they want by taking an egg and adding their own royal jelly which is essentially some hormones to simulate the development of a queen. I've learned about their life cycle, complex social arrangement, and even how they reproduce.
I joined an awesome team who persevered through a grueling 100 mile race from the mountains in Northern Washington to the Ocean by Bellingham. I even got a face full of poop after a wipeout during the cyclocross portion.