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One Method of Dialing Down Anxiety at Christmas

This post is for all you people who can’t get out of unpleasant obligations at Christmas (or whenever). I am not going to insist that you create boundaries or have a conversation with your extended family explaining that you have a visitation rotation because it is not possible for you to be in four places at once. No, I understand that sometimes you just have to take your B vitamins, get in the car, and drive sick cranky kids to grandparents and step-grandparents knowing full well you are NOT going to have a good time, and that after one visit is over, another awaits. That is your reality, at least for this year. My Christmas gift to you this year is something I learned to do in the midst of my own unpleasant obligations…

  • You don’t have to “participate” in the stress that is going on all around you – at least in your mind.
    I know from experience. Just accept that this is not going to be a fun Christmas, and go through the motions, all the while “building nests of pleasant thoughts” in your mind, even though all around you things are not pleasant. I am not trying to put pressure on you to achieve the unflappable state of a Buddhist monk! I’m just saying, the truth is you really don’t have to care about what everyone else cares about. If dinner is ruined, you don’t have to care. If your mother got drunk and shouted at you, you don’t have to care. No, it’s not “ok” for your mother to act that way, but why ruin your life because she’s got problems? Lots of these problems are not “action” items. It is ok for you to withdraw into your own mind. Because you don’t like certain things doesn’t mean you have to change those things.


  • The one boundary it is not possible to violate is the world you create in your own mind.
    There is a place in your mind that is just for you and you alone. You get to do anything you want there – play computer games, decorate your house, think about the beach, or anything that appeals to you.