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Family Gathering Anxiety

The 4th of July is tomorrow & with that comes a little thing I like to call, Family Gathering Anxiety. Most of us have that one creepy uncle, racist grandparent, problematic sibling, or just someone you don't like to be around. Or maybe, it's just the crowd and the questions about your future and your life that give you anxiety. Whatever it is that sparks it, family gathering anxiety is a very real, very common thing.

What exactly is Family Gathering Anxiety?

Family Gathering Anxiety is that pit you get in your stomach when you're headed to or at a family gathering and you just don't feel comfortable. It could be caused by a variety of things, from having to face that relative you don't jive with to some social anxiety to even anxiety around answering questions about your life plans when you're in your mid-twenties and have no idea what you're doing. Whatever the cause, so many of us experience this type of anxiety. Luckily, there are ways to deal with it.

How do I Prepare?

I like to start by simply managing my anxiety. Think of all the tips and tricks I've shared in the past and implement them. In the car on the way there I like to practice breathing techniques. I take care of my own mental health by engaging in self-care before the event. Whether it be taking a nice bath, getting out some aggression at the gym or clearing my mind with a good book.

How do I Manage it Once I'm Already There?

You cannot plan for everything. That's just the very real fact of the matter. As nice as it would be to play out every situation and prepare every possible answer before the event, you just can't. But there is hope! You can always work through more effective ways to manage the anxiety while you're there.

Get good at saying, 'excuse me'. There is nothing rude about politely leaving a conversation you don't feel comfortable in, so just excuse yourself and go outside or head to the bathroom for a 2-3 minute breather from the stress.

Also consider a having a buddy. Whether it's a family member you trust, a significant other, or a friend, go into the event with someone that can bail you out of a bad situation. Come up with a code word ahead of time, or make sure they understand your "looks" well enough to know when to pull you out of an uncomfortable encounter. Maybe the two of you go off and have your own brief conversation. Pretend to talk about the weather, but really use that few minutes to vent about how you're feeling.

Ok, But What Else?

If you still don't feel great about going into your next family gathering, check out my YouTube video on the subject. I discuss the things I do and remind you that you're not alone.