Consider the following story as it relates to this week’s topic.
Thanksgiving is one of the holidays I most dread. Every year it’s the same thing with my family. “So, when are you going to have another child?” or “You’re 30 and still at that entry-level job. I thought you were going to go to law school.” I love my family, but I always find myself getting annoyed or angry by their nosiness. Every holiday, it feels like the feast ends in an argument, whether it’s over relationships, money, or everyone’s favorite topic: politics. Is there anything my family and I can do to just have a normal Thanksgiving?
Does the story above sound familiar? You aren’t alone. Countless families across America will be joining for the feast of feasts this month, and many of those get-togethers will end with flared tempers, angry words, and maybe even some regret. Unfortunately, that’s the normal cycle for many during Thanksgiving. Luckily for you, our team of licensed therapists and psychologists in Tampa have some tips to make your get-togethers easier to handle.
Thanksgiving is synonymous with family, togetherness, and joy. So where exactly does all the stress and tension come from? It might be a result of the following or more:
- Strained relationships
- Nosy relatives
- Opinionated relatives
- Past grievances
- Financial issues
- Controlling (helicopter) parents
- Lifestyle disagreements
There are also special circumstances that can make things difficult. For instance, people with eating disorders may become overwhelmed by a table loaded with food. Throw judgmental parents or relatives into the mix and it could be a recipe for disaster.
The reality is that there are too many Thanksgiving-related issues to count, but understanding the root of these difficulties is always a good start. It will better prepare you to handle situations that trigger your stress and anxiety.
Taking a Stress-Free Approach
Here are a few tips that can hopefully make your Thanksgiving a bit easier to handle:
- Travel Smart – Holiday travel can make anyone cranky. If you’re traveling by plane or train, take something to keep you relaxed like a book or a tablet to watch movies or listen to music. This way, you’ll arrive at your destination in a better mood than normal.
- Create Boundaries – Spending days with family under the same roof may sound great, but things can turn sour very quickly if certain topics are brought up. Try to compromise with your loved ones ahead of time via email or group text about off-topic, sensitive subjects like politics, career choices, relationship situations, etc.
- Be Firm – If you’re feeling uncomfortable with a conversation or somebody’s actions, don’t be afraid to speak up. Maneuver your discussion into something better like a hobby you’ve taken up, your pet, or a book you’re reading.
- Keep Your Composure – Is someone discussing politics or expressing an opinion you don’t agree with? If so, don’t make things worse for yourself by arguing. Like our previous point, say that the topic is a sensitive one in a kind manner.
Our Tampa Psychologists Are Available
At Rice Psychology Group, we know that Thanksgiving won’t be a happy time for everyone. It can cause debilitating stress that could potentially worsen over time. If you need some advice on creating a positive environment for your family, then contact us in Tampa for more information about our services or to schedule an appointment.