Blogmas, Family, Marriage, Mental Health, mental illness

Blogmas 11: Familial Celebrations and Accompanied Stress

2017-1209 blogmas 9 breath.jpgIn a previous post, I mentioned celebrating with family. I love the reduced stress and pure enjoyment that comes with celebrating with my husband and our dog, but that’s not all there is to most holidays, in my experience.

Since being a married adult, we celebrate Christmas a few times per year. Once with my side of the family, which includes my mom and brothers and recently, my grandma. In previous years we have visited my grandparents at their home, and my dad at his apartment.

Another celebration is with Jason’s side of the family, through his mom, including all his nearby siblings. We also celebrate in a different town with his dad’s side, and many of the same siblings, usually in January.

These events can be fun, but are also high-stress for me. Each of Jason’s family’s gatherings include a lot of people, and at least ten kids. This is enjoyable for me, but typically I need a smaller dose than the multiple hours we spend together. I have gotten better about taking time for myself at gatherings such as for holidays, and I know it benefits me to take time to breathe outside of the chaos.

It is truly a blessing to be able to see my family, and I of course include my in-laws in that category! It is also a true blessing to spend time with just Jason, my precious husband who knows what I need without me having to ask a lot of the time.

Coping skills when I’m feeling anxious and claustrophobic:

  • Walk away for a while
  • Focus on my five senses, mindfully observe my surroundings
  • BREATHE. Intentionally focus on the breath.
  • Self-talk, such as, “I am safe in this moment.”
  • Remind myself often that I am here because I love these people, and that makes the stress worth it
  • Remind myself that I have been in situations like this many times, and I have always made it out alive (ha! But seriously.)

What do you do when you’re stressed about the holidays?


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