Last week I was invited to speak to a group about how to deal with stress during the holidays. As per usual with talks about stress, we quickly got down to the real issue of stress during the holidays: Difficult People.

It is a fact of life that the people we are tied to through blood or marriage, are not always the best put together people in the world. They can be a pain in the ass, especially if they have rigid, ridiculous expectations and cling to them no matter how unhappy it makes the majority of people in the room.

It only takes one person who doesn’t know when to gracefully shut up about politics or another who insists that everyone must go to midnight services, even your sleep-deprived two year old, to make a family gathering into your own personal hellscape.

[Check out Am I Depressed Or Surrounded By #!@holes?]

Bottom line, you have a choice. Remembering you have a choice, no matter what you eventually choose, is itself liberating. Each of these articles reinforces this theme from a different angle. Please let me know what you think in a comment. Share your experiences, questions or tips for the rest of us!

For the Holidays Change Can Be Empowering!

9 Depression Busters Just In Time For the Holidays

This Holiday Season Give Yourself A Break

10 Ways to Bring Cheer to a Loved One In the Hospital During the Holidays

How to Avoid Spending the Holidays With Seriously Toxic People