6 Tips to Minimize Family Drama During the Holidays
My husband and I were talking about the upcoming holidays and that we were determined to make them “good” again and to try to have a wonderful time with family. This seems to be our conversation most years and no matter what your family situation is, or what your experience has been over the holiday seasons from the past, many of us approach each year with more and more trepidation rather than positive anticipation.
There are many factors that can bring on this “bah-humbug” attitude. In this three-part blog I want to capture a few of the common stressors and then walk through some solutions for how to navigate this time in the healthiest way.
One of the most common stressors is difficult relationships with family members. Whether it is a family member’s political stance, “splitting” time with your children with a former spouse, something specific that happened in the past, or an issue that has been going on for many years (a secret, a grudge, a past hurt), we see in the media and in stores that we should be feeling happy and celebrating family, and in reality that is difficult to do when society even seems to be putting on pressure for everyone to get along and be happy. A few tips for how to handle family members you might not get along with, are dreading seeing or seem to always cause drama, are:
1. Let go of the past, even for one day. Practice acceptance.
2. Manage your expectations – shoot low and don’t expect much.
3. Focus on today – your family today, your loved ones, that it is “only a day” if you have to truly endure something painful.
4. If you want to suggest a change to a routine or tradition, get ahead of it as early as possible to avoid extra arguments, and decide how important it is to you to make a change.
5. Reach out for support – even being surrounded by family and friends, the holiday season can be very lonely for some. It’s okay to talk about your feelings and ask for help.
6. If a tense situation arises, practice breathing techniques or a new communication method. Contact us to learn more about this.
Holidays can be bright
Taking some of these steps to try to prevent stress can result in you looking forward to the upcoming holidays rather than dreading them. Learning to recognize when you are feeling out of control, what your own triggers are and what you need to take care of yourself and your family is important. For help navigating stressful situations or a family issue, please reach out to us.