Spending the holidays with your family isn’t easy. And it becomes especially difficult if your family dynamics are a bit, well… dysfunctional. Maybe your cousin has a gambling problem. Maybe your aunt and your mom bicker. Every family’s quirks are different. But if your family is brewing tension, with age and time apart, that tension can build.
You’re already sharing the dinner table with a few wacky characters on Thanksgiving — you’d prefer for your psychological demons not to be among them. And as much as you’d love your family’s dysfunction not to affect you, it inevitably does. You love these people! Despite how upsetting their problems and arguments can be, deep down you really just want to enjoy the holiday.
There are ways to make these situations less miserable — they could become bearable, even. You just have to get savvy with how you navigate them.
If you can book a therapy appointment prior to the holiday, please do. There is no shame in scheduling an appointment to tend to your mental health. You do it with your physical health all of the time! And sitting down for an hour with an expert who will listen might really help. A counselor can give you tips to mentally prepare for the day, coping skills to keep in your arsenal for in-the-moment support, and more. But if you don’t have the resources to seek individualized help before the big day, here are some tips from real mental health experts to get you through.