By Kiera Ford, volunteer contributor, American Red Cross
Whenever I think of the holiday season, Andy Williams’ “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”, instantly springs into my head. The idea of those lyrics actually coming true, in one form or another, makes me look forward to enjoying the festivities and family time that comes with this time of year…That is, until I actually spend time with my family!
Everyone’s family is made up of different personalities and characteristics that make them unique. But sometimes, all that “uniqueness” is enough to drive you mad if you’re around it too long. Perhaps you have an aunt that drinks too much, and on her fourth glass of Pinot Noir, abruptly asks you in front of everyone why you’re still single. “It’s only been 3 years!”
Or maybe, no matter how hard you try; you just can’t seem to avoid your overly philosophical cousin, who so desperately wants to share with you his perceptions on the nature of reality. And let’s not forget your uncle, who has the otherworldly ability to turn any conversation into an all out war amongst the family. Whatever the case, sometimes being around family can be too much to handle, and it can feel like a disaster if you aren’t prepared mentally and emotionally.
The American Red Cross is here to help!
If you’re unsure of how to handle the stress and pressure that comes naturally with being around family, the Red Cross offers a Psychological First Aid course that can help you learn to manage your stress and teach you how to help others as well.
During this course, participants will have the opportunity to understand the factors that cause and contribute to stress as well as engage in hands-on activities. This course is great for current volunteers seeking to acquire knowledge on how to understand those going through disaster related stress as well as how they can help. Although being around family may not seem like a disaster, the amount of stress they cause can make it seem that way. Check with your local chapter to sign up for the next available class!
Now that you know how you can manage your family-induced stress and anxiety, it is important to ensure that you are prepared for what your family is going to throw your way. You’ve been around your family long enough to know what to expect, right? Of course! So, you should be ready each holiday with answers to ungracefully asked questions from your aunt, interesting talking points for your cousin, and a really nice pair of noise cancelling headphones to be worn during the family argument. But who’s to say there won’t be other issues? No matter what your family delivers this holiday season, remember to remain calm! No one wants to be worked up during the festivities. Seek peace, remain cheerful, and find some relaxation.
Although the holidays are about enjoying your family and being together, it is also about being able to withstand the craziness just long enough to make some amazing memories. So, spread that holiday cheer on so thick, you drive your family crazy!
And, if all else fails, remind yourself that you only have to go through this a few times a year.