Sisters are the Best!

This blog post is a bit late because I had the most wonderful week with my sisters and a good friend. They flew in last Monday from D.C. and Texas to stay with me. (Peter–wisely–escaped on a short trip out of town!)

It was so much fun to share with them the wonders of southeast Michigan! First we went to Ann Arbor, one of the premier college towns in the country. We had fun visiting the campus and shopping downtown. After a leisurely lunch, we came home and watched the Nationals beat the Brewers. Lots of baseball fans in my family!

On Wednesday we toured the revitalized city of Detroit. The Motown Museum was totally worth the low cost and we had an awesome guide for the one-hour tour. (If you go, you must have reservations). Woodward Avenue is so gorgeous now! My sisters had to check out the Shinola watch store in the beautifully renovated Shinola hotel. We finished the day at the famous Slow’s Barbecue in the Corktown. Yum!

On rainy Thursday, we had brunch at Anna’s House Restaurant and went to see the movie “Judy.” Our mom had been a great fan, so we had to see the bittersweet story of Judy Garland’s last years. Peter came back to town and joined us for dinner at Moro’s, a genteel Italian restaurant near Dearborn. Friday saw my sisters leaving, and I sure do miss them now.

There is nothing like sisters! But what if you don’t have any, or if you’re estranged? Well, there’s a simple solution: adopt them! Those of us in 12-Step programs have it easy with sponsors, sponsees, and recovering friends. But, most groups of like-minded people will bring you rich, caring relationships that can be counted on.

Let me know about the “sisters” you’ve discovered and the fun things you’ve done together. I’d love to hear…

PS: You may know that the Audiobook for Worry Less Now is available from Amazon, Audible, and i-tunes. Use this link to purchase it Be sure to get the comprehensive PDF/Workbook that comes with it.

ALSO, if you or someone you know has a blog related to recovery, audiobooks, or wellness, please refer them to my blog tour. They’ll get a free audiobook, the PDF, and a chance to win 2 Skype sessions with me. Registration closes Oct. 15. Click here

How to Stay Serene with Your Family During The Holidays

worry less now gigi langerThose of us who grew up in dysfunctional homes often have an especially hard time staying serene during the holiday season. For example, long ago I saw a TV ad showing a smiling, happy family sharing Christmas dinner. I just blew up, “That’s not how it was at my home!” Later, I wrote this poem.

Possum Hill Christmas

 “I’m the youngest of four at this Christmas dinner. My feet dangle—clean socks, patent leather shoes. We sit, waiting for Dad to come home. Mom’s tense, fretting over peas, turkey, and gravy. Her mother is quiet, reserved, disapproving. Something unspoken thickens the air. But we pretend it isn’t there. Finally, he arrives, boots muddying the carpet, drunken roars clouding the air. I sink lower and lower into my chair. This isn’t happening. I’m not here.”

[Read how I healed the insecurities created by these and other events in Chapter 5 of 50 Ways to Worry Less Now.]

So many of us have harsh memories of the drunken bashes and ugly scenes birthed by copious amounts of holiday “spirits.” What an upside-down way of celebrating Christ’s birth! We knew we were supposed to be happy, but all too often we felt hurt and confused.

 Family Holidays: Tips To Stay Serene

Now, however, we’re no longer at the mercy of others. We can choose to be serene with our families by using the following tips.

  • Family Wounds. If you were harmed by your family members OR if you harmed the family you created, the damage may take years to heal. Instead of trying to fix that, we first heal ourselves and gain spiritual strength. If being with your own family might prove too distressing this year, feel free to set some boundaries.
  • Time with Family. Early on, I discovered (the hard way!) that, after about three days, I reverted to my old insecurities and unhappiness. So, I kept my family visits short. After a few years of growth, I was able to extend my time and stay serene.
  • Prayer and Meditation. To prepare for family gatherings, I often increase my prayer and meditation. If I start feeling upset or defensive during the visit, I use one of my favorite prayers : “Please help me to see this (situation, family member, etc.) differently.” It acknowledges that my perceptions are clouded by judgment or anger; and that a power greater than my self-centered fear can restore my serenity. I also use guided meditations to reprogram my tension or negativity, for example Kelly Hine’s and Kristin Neff’s

My Wish for You

I wish you the wisdom and power to put your own happiness and serenity ahead of the need to please others, especially family, during this holiday season. I send you lots of love and encouragement!

What are some of your favorite ways of staying serene during the holidays? Please share them in the comments section below.

Worry Less Now; Gigi Langer
From me to you!

Gigi Langer is a former “Queen of Worry” who  holds an MA in Psychology and PhD in Psychological Studies in Education from Stanford University. She is a popular speaker who has helped thousands of people improve their lives at home and work. Gigi hasn’t had a drug or drink for over 30 years, and lives happily in Michigan with her husband, Peter and her cat, Murphy.