If, however, you're feeling stressed and you're dreading being forced to make merry when you feel anything but, please read it through. It won't hurt and it may very well help.
The first rule of my Holiday Survival Guide is to monitor your breath. When you are feeling anxious your breathing often becomes more shallow. This can cause a downward spiral of anxiety, fear and hyper-vigilance. When you feel this happening focus on breathing deeply, smoothly and fully. Be mindful of air coming into your body and leaving it. Before you know it the anxiety will abate.
The second rule is to to treat others as you would like to be treated. This one can be tricky when you're forced to spend time with someone who has been unkind to you. Remember, though, you're being kind because of who you are.... not who they are.
The third rule is to become the observer. Pull yourself out the drama and 'see' things from a higher perspective. At any given moment you have the ability to disengage from the situations that no longer serve you. When you change your perspective you will more clearly see the way through a situation.
These three rules are simple and effective. And I'm seriously considering writing them on my palm in magic marker so I will have them with me throughout the Holiday Season ;-)