Holiday stress_00004209
Coping with holiday stress
01:03 - Source: CNN

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CNN  — 

The table is set, friends and family draw near, and you already know what comments or questions are going to come your way.

Maybe the remarks are about food, your weight, money, relationships, career or kids — whatever the topic may be, the position you’re in isn’t unusual.

For many people, the holidays aren’t necessarily the most joyous time — often because we are anticipating conflict or inappropriate interrogation, said Dr. Roseann Capanna-Hodge, a psychologist based in Connecticut.

But instead of silently seething or lashing out, she recommends setting boundaries, she said.

Setting boundaries might seem like the start of a fight, but it’s just a way to communicate what your needs are and what you are OK with, said Kami Orange, a boundary coach based in southern Utah.

Boundaries are hard, though, and it takes some preparation to know how to respond instead of reacting to protect your feelings, Orange added. Here’s how to get started this holiday season.

The holidays aren't totally joyous for everyone, Capanna-Hodge said.

Plan ahead

Step one is to make a plan, said therapist Jennifer Rollin, founder of The Eating Disorder Center in Rockville, Maryland.

Before the get-together, think about what your needs are and what a friend or relative might say that would trigger you, she added.

“Decide in advance, these are comments that are triggering for me, and these are some things that I would say back to it,” Rollin said.