How To Survive Thanksgiving Tantrums and Torment With Your Crazy Family!

Happy_thanksgiving_funny-7Thanksgiving is less than a few days away and you’re planning a traditional holiday dinner, which includes a golden turkey as the showpiece of the meal. Although the Mercy for Animals Foundation conducted an undercover investigation on the abuse these birds are subjected to – it is NOTHING compared to the amount of stress and anxiety family members endure so they might spend quality time together. I think we need to start a Mercy for Family Members Foundation…

For many, the biggest source of holiday stress is family, so what causes some of this stress?

Unhappy memories. Going home for the holidays naturally makes people remember old times, but for you the memories may be more bitter than sweet. During the holidays, a lot of childhood memories come back and if the memories were not happy ones, this time of year will trigger them.

Toxic relatives and Outlaws. Holidays can put you in the same room with relatives you avoid the rest of the year.

What’s changed. The holidays can highlight everything that’s changed in your lives — a divorce, a death in the family, a son who’s making his first trip back home after starting college. Any of these can really unsettle a gathering and add holiday stress.

What’s stayed the same. For others, it’s the monotonous sameness of family holiday gatherings that depresses them — the same faces, the same jokes, the same food on the same china plates.

More work to be done. During the holiday season, you’re more likely to be stressed out by obligations and errands.

SO, as you begin to mentally prepared yourself for your annual Thanksgiving visit, you might be anticipating some predictable scenes: the Aunt that drinks 5 too many glasses of Merlot? Uncle that wants to summarize the last 6 months of Roy Orbison’s show? Or parents that ask ‘When are you going to settle down and get married?’” On their own, these are all very manageable stressors. Together, though, they create a perfect storm of family-based madness.

If you find yourself in the middle of dueling culinary aunts who constantly criticize each other’s cooking while snidely remarking on all of the dishes or political arguments by opinionated relatives whose lack of facts would be hilarious except for the constant threat of violence and tension: RELAX in the knowledge that you are most certainly not the only person in the world with dysfunctional relatives. If you are lucky, and can find a trusted sibling, cousin or spouse to share your amazement or disgust, then a simple declaration to validate your experience can be a relief. It’s important to keep realistic expectations. Dinner with your family is unlikely to be a magical Dickens-esque Christmas with the Cratchits, but it’s also unlikely to devolve into a National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation-like scene of madness (complete with boxed cats, squirrels in trees, and a turkey that deflates with the first cut). If you keep your expectations reasonable, understanding that the day will neither be your worst or best case scenarios, you’ll find yourself prepared to face this encounter with your family.

However, if you find yourself thinking “Am I the only one who feels like there is something seriously wrong with these folks?” then read these tips.

1. Line up some co-conspirators. Chances are you’re not the only one who is irked by your family’s dysfunctional routines. Figure out who you can call on to help make things different. Then do some pre-event strategizing. Agree a game plan with a crew and infiltrate madness before it arrives

2. Ask your co-conspirators to think of brilliant ways to give challenging relatives an assignment: Is someone always critical of the menu? Ask this person if she would please bring that complicated dish that is her trademark so she’ll have a place to shine. Is there a teenager who mopes about, bringing everyone down? Maybe offer to pay him to entertain the younger set for a couple hours after dinner so the adults can talk.

2. Have an attitude of gratitude. Yeah, they may be annoying, but it’s your family.

3. Look for the humor. Try not to take everything so seriously. Sometimes you just have to laugh and say, “It is what it is”.

4. If your Monster in Law is annoying you, tenderize the meat or take some glass bottles to the recycling depot or do some angry baking and knead the dough with enthusiasm. There are some really socially acceptable ways to let off some steam!

5. Resolve previous differences. It is not helpful to go home for the holidays to rectify an old disagreement. Make a phone call, send a text, write a letter with the intention of smoothing out any misunderstanding before you go.

6. Invite a friend: Most people’s manners improve when outsiders enter the scene.

7. Deal with one crisis at a time. If you’re at the table and your aunt is screaming about utensils, an uncle is trying to enlist you in the local chapter of the Tea Party, small cousins are running around screaming, and your dad is asleep on the couch, there’s nothing you can do here except minimize your focus so as to not become overwhelmed. Zone some of this out. In this case, it might be best to offer help with one of these crises, such as the aunt with the utensils. You’ll both be helping reduce another relative’s stress while simultaneously giving yourself an opportunity to get out of your seat to momentarily allow your politics-minded uncle to latch on to another relative (sorry, siblings).

8. Give kids a way to be included. Then set them free. Kids are simply not going to enjoy being trapped at a table with adults (especially dysfunctional adults) for extended periods of time. They get restless. They get whiny. They slump in their chairs. Yes, they should be expected to behave with at least a minimum of decorum during the meal but head off complaints and tantrums by planning something for them to do while the adults linger at the table.

9. Be as cool as a cucumber. Master the art of smiling and nodding. Polite agreement can go a long way in helping you escape rough situations.

10. If they try to parent your children – yes this is very infuriating but it is what it is. Use the Sandwich technique: Surround your feedback with lots of compliments, so they can’t get angry or offended by what you’re saying. So, for example, ‘The kids love being with you and we really like having you over for lunch but when you shout at them for playing with their food, it upsets them and it hurts us. So can we work out a way for us all to help the kids eat properly?’

SO stay sane and try to enjoy the time you can. The final swan song is to simply wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving.

If your family drive you crazy, may your turkey at least be tantrum-free and golden crispy.

Till next time

AdeleSign2

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New Tantrum Event!

New Tantrum Event!

OK attention all Tantrum Peeps:

Our next Tantrum Event is a freebie held at 37 Degrees gym @ London Bridge in London from 2pm-3:30pm on SATURDAY 26 October 2013.

Bring your best BAD SELF and come and release all your pent-up frustration, anger, upsetness or just generally come and have a good laugh with others.

37 Degrees is at 2b More London Riverside, London, SE1 2AP. Go to London Bridge tube, walk to Hays Galleria then to HMS Belfast ship – there is a market and behind 3 colorful giraffes is the gym.

Please RSVP so we know to expect you (and your friends are welcome too)
xxx The Bitches (and Blokes) with Bats

TANTRUM – the anger management program so you can LET RIP and GET FIT

Coming to your from the founders of the critically acclaimed Tantrum Club, find out what people think about the all new anger management FITNESS program. For the first time ever you can completely LET RIP whilst getting FIT. Not only will you release all negative emotions like anger, frustration, anxiety and sadness whilst getting an INSANE workout – you will re-balance and recenter yourself at the end of the class. Tantrum is based on months and months of research into which movements release which emotions culminating in a never-seen before series of choreography and dance moves.

The danger of suppression: Don’t bottle up your emotions

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Any serious scientist will be familiar with the assertion that stress causes immune-compromise. A recent study by researchers at Harvard School of Public Health has finally put this long-held knowledge into perspective, deciphering that those who bottle up their feelings have a cardiovascular disease risk of 140 per cent and a risk of cancer of 170 per cent when compared to individuals who share how they feel. Overall, the risk of premature death for those who keep their negative feelings to themselves is around 135 per cent that of individuals unafraid to speak their minds. When framed in this way, the dangers of suppressing emotions are hard to ignore, but how exactly does bottling up your emotions lead to real and tangible damage to the body? The article below will explore the molecular and physiological mechanisms behind this startling array of statistics, and provide some helpful tips to managing your rage, and keeping your body healthy!

Although the concrete mechanism linking bottled-up emotions and premature death has yet to be established, several sound scientific principles may be applied in order to elucidate some facts about the forces at work. Firstly, it is conceivable that those who feel that they must hide their emotions from others are more susceptible to seeking comfort in substance abuse such as alcohol addiction, cigarette smoking, or the use of other harmful drugs in order to relieve their stress. The use of these substances has several obvious and detrimental effects to health and so needs no explanation here. The second suspected mechanism is slightly less direct in nature.

When the body is coping with a stress response, such as un-vented anger or pent-up rage, a hormone known as Cortisol is released. Cortisol is a hormone of critical importance to humans, but it also has some unwanted effects in individuals experiencing high levels of stress. Cortisol is a steroid hormone, specifically a glucocorticoid, meaning that it is capable of suppressing the immune system’s response to damage or invading pathogens. This unfortunate effect means that individuals who have a higher than normal stress level, and thus a raised Cortisol level, will have under-effective immune systems, not only opening the floodgates to any nasty bugs that may wish to make your body their home, but also preventing a complete response from being carried out towards invaders from within – cancer cells. Every day, the immune system destroys a cell that would otherwise have become cancerous, so it’s easy to see how quickly things can go wrong when this response is working below optimum levels.All is not lost, though. Studies have shown that releasing anger actually increases blood flow to those parts of the brain responsible for pleasure and reward, thus making taking out your frustration a ‘feel good’ experience. However, there are those of us for whom releasing anger at every turn can very quickly end both friendships and careers.

Perhaps a change in outlook is the answer? Conditioning your brain to be more optimistic about everyday situations and into overlooking the minor foibles of others can quite literally be a lifesaver. The statistics speak for themselves, and lend credence to the thought that optimistic people really do live longer than their pessimistic, stressed out counterparts.

Speaking of which, we are about to launch www.tantrumworld.com – a whole new approach to releasing your anger whilst becoming healthier. So, why not try to LET RIP whilst GETTING FIT?

Till next time

Lots of hugs,

AdeleSign