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Don't let family drama rob you of holiday memories

Although the "hustle and bustle" of the holidays can be exciting for some, it can cause anxiety in others, especially if they are spending time with family members they have differences with.

Surviving tense moments

Dr. Asim Shah, assistant professor in the Menninger Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Baylor College of Medicine, offers tips to survive those tense moments with family during the holidays.

"The holidays are a time where you see people that you may not see otherwise, some of whom you may not get along with at all, and they may make you upset, but it's important not to get angry and ruin this special time," said Shah.

Here is what he recommends:

  • If you are angry and upset with someone, trade places with the other person and think about the situation from their perspective.
  • Ask yourself whether it is worth having a fight with that person. How often are you really going to see them?
  • Take a deep breath and think it over. You don't have to react on the spot – your first instinct may be completely different from your reaction if you sleep on it.

Be accepting of others

Shah says that it is important to set differences apart and be more accepting of others during this time.

He also offers some other tips to stay calm throughout the season:

  • Acknowledge your feelings and the reason for your stress. It may be your first holiday without a loved one, and acknowledging it will help you and those around you get through it.
  • If you feel lonely during this time, volunteering is a good way to reach out and support others.
  • Be realistic about your expectations for holiday gifts – plan a budget and stick to it.

Shah also advises anyone who is traveling to be prepared for crowds.

"Remember that everyone is in as much of a hurry as you, so anticipate crowds and prepare for them," he said.