Surviving Holidays - Crowds

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Holiday Survival Guide Part 1: Coping with Crowds of Family, Friends, or Strangers:

Holiday Survival Guide Part 1: Coping with Crowds of Family, Friends, or Strangers John D. McKellar, PhD Consulting Psychologist, Bay Area Pain and Wellness Center , Independent Private Practice SF Bay Area

Tis the Season…:

Tis the Season… Awkward questions Reliving (centuries old) family disagreements Intoxicated co-workers Everyone (else) seems to have a significant other Everyone (else) seems to be enjoying themselves

Plan of Attack:

Plan of Attack General Prep Strategies Friends/Coworkers Family

General Prep:

General Prep Review past similar events - what happened, how did you deal with it, how can you deal with it now (think now before your are beset with stress) 2. Bring a “wing man” or woman who can be your anchor if you run out of people to mingle with 3 . Prepare for the biggest challenge of any get together.. Small talk.

Small Talk Questions/Tips:

Small Talk Questions/Tips “Where are your from?” “How did you come to live here?” “Do you have a hobby?” “How do you know our host?” “What is keeping you busy these days?” “How long have you been working here?” Open-ended questions lead to better conversations- be prepared Also, be prepared to answer these questions, don’t just say a few words

General Prep Cont.:

General Prep Cont. 4 . Focus on individuals and not the “crowd” think of people you might want to talk to 5. If you know there are people whom you want to talk to think of some topics of conversation beforehand 6. Decompress just before the event, do a session of relaxation, listen to music you like, get in a good frame of mind

Drink Refusal skills:

Drink Refusal skills Be prepared for the presence of alcohol Very private- “No thank you I am not drinking tonight.” Less private- “No thanks I do not drink.” Even less private- “No thanks, it has been “x” years since I had a drink.” * Choose response prior to event

Event with Friends:

Event with Friends Consider whom you would like to talk with prior to the event Consider topics of conversation you might discuss prior to the event Pace yourself, find less crowded parts of the event where you can decompress

Events with Family:

Events with Family History will repeat itself, this is good and bad Plot a strategy for dealing with awkward questions, have some answers in your head Think of a list of “safe” topics to discuss, keep people distracted from stirring up trouble

Events with Family:

Events with Family Think of games/activities that can keep people occupied (distracted from stirring up trouble) creating a positive mood can make everyone’s time better Pace yourself- take time to find a quiet place to decompress Before the event try and recall some positive family memories that can be used to offset the dredging up of bad memories

Final Tips:

Final Tips Over the coming weeks make it a priority to spend time with people you want to see Focus on any spiritual aspects of the season that are meaningful to you Be an agent of peace for yourself and for others, practice meditation!!!

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