Everyone could use tips to surviving the holidays.
No matter what the dynamics of your family are, the holidays are a time where negative feelings should take a backseat.
Unfortunately, today’s modern families are faced with many complicated matters. That makes the holidays exceptionally difficult in terms of family relationships. That’s why tips to surviving the holidays are important.
It’s not just cranky in-laws or difficult siblings you have to deal with, but also the clashing of step-families, ex-spouses, half-siblings and new romances.
Although your extended family may cause anxiety, you may also have further stress at home.
If you take on too much burden over the holidays, it can affect the relationship between you and your spouse and children.
Couples who communicate with each other and divide up holiday responsibilities are more likely to work as a team, as opposed to couples who do the opposite.
If you find yourself yelling and arguing with your spouse and children it’s probably because you’re stressed, overwhelmed and overworked! Quick tip: it’s time to take a time out, engage in stress management activities, and reassess your goals.
Unique Families, Unique Problems
Each family situation is unique. We all have different arrangements, and within those arrangements, the holidays are viewed differently.
Perhaps your family lives out of town and stays with you during the holiday, or vice versa. Others see their family regularly. Both situations can trigger stress, which can become especially profound during the holiday season.
There are also differences in the setup of families. While we would all prefer marriages to stay intact, the divorce rate is 50 percent.
Therefore, chances are high that someone in your family will experience divorce, and this can bring great change to the family.
Who will get the kids for the holiday? Can both sides of the family get along? What happens if one partner starts dating again?
These scenarios can make everyone feel uncomfortable.
Another common situation is old woes that come up over the holidays.
Maybe two family members had a fallout earlier in the year. The holidays may be the first time they’re seeing each other, and the encounter can be uncomfortable, forcing other members to take sides.
Of course, it’s not always family that’s here that can make us sad during the holiday season.
If you’ve lost a family member over the holidays or within the past year, it can set the stage for a stressful holiday season. Each family is unique, but you must take the time to appreciate the positive elements to your family’s dynamic.
Now, helpful tips to surviving the holidays with your family.
Tips to Surviving Holiday Stress #1: Think About the Way You Want to Behave
The important thing to remember is that every challenge has a solution. The key is to keep your expectations realistic.
Try not to force family to overcome past struggles and let new relationships into your home and your heart. You don’t want to have past words or actions to regret the rest of your life.
With this in mind, spend a few minutes prior to the holiday and think about how you want to behave.
It can be easy to get caught up in moments of jealousy, competition, anger or frustration. But think about it. Is this what you want to remember of yourself? Is this how you want your parents or children to see you act?
When you keep calm and confident and refrain from feeding into the negative situation, you change the dynamics and create a more positive environment.
Tips to Surviving the Holidays #2: Don’t Ask Questions that Stir Emotion
Avoid topics that can make people feel inadequate or uncomfortable.
Even though you may be trying to be ‘friendly,’ asking others whether they’re dating can seem inconsiderate. And don’t ask others when they’re going to have children or when they plan on getting a job either. That isn’t exactly considerate either.
Instead, ask open-ended questions to keep the interest and discussion going.
Tips to Surviving the Holidays #3: Don’t be Too Serious
Even though you may control the questions you ask others, you can’t control what others say.
So, be prepared to step in and stop uncomfortable situations from forming. You can say something like, “Okay everyone, let’s all agree to disagree. How about some pumpkin pie?”
If you approach things with a fun, lighthearted attitude, you can pass this along to others and prevent potential arguments from forming.
Tips to Surviving the Holidays #4: Remember Your Family’s Togetherness
Savor in your family’s sense of togetherness to keep the family bond going strong.
If you see your siblings having a spat, bring up a time that you’ll all remember or talk about how your grandparents wanted you to carry on a specific tradition.
When we focus on the true spirit of the holiday and the meaning of family, we can leave behind negative feelings and work toward a better future.
Tips to Surviving the Holidays #5: Don’t Overindulge in Alcohol
Finally, do not overindulge in alcohol.
If you drink too much, you’ll lose the ability for self-control, which means you may do or say things that you’ll later regret. During the holidays, you’re on display, so make the most of your presence.
Now is a good time to show your children how you expect them to act, play the role of the ‘bigger person’ and possibly even mend some relationships.
When you say goodbye to family and shut the door behind you, you’ll be glad that you stayed true to yourself.