Worried About Political Discussion at Thanksgiving? Here’s How to Prepare.

First: take care of yourself.

By Alexandra HartNovember 24, 2016 9:30 am,

This story originally aired and published on Nov. 11, 2016.

A funny thing happened at the Javits Center in New York City on Tuesday night. Well, a lot of things happened but this one certainly caught the attention of many Americans on both sides of the aisle. Longtime Clinton supporter and pop singer Katy Perry took to the dais and said this: “Tonight, my parents voted for Trump. But you know what? We will still all be sitting at the same table for Thanksgiving.”

In the moment, the comment left a lot of folks scratching their heads, but by Wednesday morning, there were many Americans second-guessing their own annual family get-together. 

Dr. Norma Ngo is a licensed clinical psychologist the director of Counseling and Psychological Services at the University of Houston. With the rollercoaster of emotions after this election, Ngo says the first thing to do before gathering with family is to check in with yourself.

“How are you doing in coping with everything – are you at a good place going into your family and knowing your family?” Ngo says, “I always say fill your tank. Put on your oxygen mask on and be prepared.”

Ngo says preparing for these situations looks different for everyone. 

“You know yourself best,” she says. “For those feeling raw, taking care of yourself may mean steering away from political conversation – If you can at all, clearly you want to avoid things that might create more problems than is necessary.”

In the end, Ngo says we supposedly love our family members, and that means showing that we value them even if points of views don’t align.

“We’re all feeling some kind of feeling at this point,” she says, “You do want to talk about your feelings when you’re ready to do that… there’s nothing wrong about taking some time to do some self-reflection.”