It’s that time of year when we get thrown together with those family members we don’t get along with, or worse, would be happy to avoid seeing altogether.
- The drinker who imbibes too much to the embarrassment of all.
- The politico who likes to argue his point until everyone is frustrated.
- The jokester whose jokes always poke fun at someone else.
- The pill popper who sits in the corner glassy eyed and disengaged.
- The newly widowed or divorced who are struggling to make it through their first holiday alone.
- The drama king or queen who can always be expected to stir the pot and get people riled up.
- The unexpected angry outburst that leaves those involved fuming, and those who are not, wishing they could leave.
- The stress of being in the same room with the family member you have been avoiding all year.
The combination of challenging holiday scenarios is unlimited and we’ve all found ourselves in these situations.
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So how do you brace for the onslaught of uncomfortable interactions and emotions during the Holidays?
- Plan ahead for what you will say to that challenging person to avoid a confrontation.
- Repeat a calming mantra in your head.
- When you feel yourself getting triggered, focus on your breathing.
- Embrace your personal power by maintaining your dignity and keeping your cool.
- Honor yourself by setting reasonable boundaries; such as not allowing personal attacks.
- Take the high road by apologizing or holding out the olive branch for peace (if only for the day).
- Monitor your own behavior, don’t drink too much, choose your words thoughtfully.
- If you feel provoked, disengage or walk away. A family holiday is not the time to work on a relationship.
- If need be, be courteous to the person who triggers you, but keep your distance.
- Place your focus on the family members you cherish and enjoy your time with them.
- Accept what is and what you can’t change.
Truth is, the holidays may not always be the postcard picture of happy. Instead, they are a chance to rise above your relationship issues to find the silver lining of personal growth.