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Dealing With Holiday Family Drama

For many Americans, spending the holidays with family brings happiness and excitement, but for some, holidays are anything but happy and can cause many triggers for a range of emotional and psychological issues.

From gift-giving to travel, the holiday season can trigger a broad range of feelings and habits which can create serious conflict. If you experience these feelings during the holiday time, here are some tips to help you approach the holiday period healthily and mindfully. Who knows, you might enjoy yourself.

Understand Your Expectations

Before you even begin packing, you need to get a brief idea about what you expect to get from your family visit. Create a personal checklist of the reasons you are spending time with your family. If you feel like you are just visiting to make other people happy or meet the needs of someone else in your family, maybe you should reassess the situation and adjust your plans to suit. Perhaps you should plan a little bit of your time away for just yourself, away from your family.

Set Personal Boundaries

Determine your boundaries long before you even travel to visit. Write a list if you have to, noting everything that feels good and what does not, and use this information to create your boundaries. Create a plan on how you intend to set the boundaries when you are there and communicate them with anyone who will be involved. This is a great way to lessen the anxieties associated with gift-giving, accommodation, and even conversations. Just have a plan on how to approach everything that might set you into a spin.

Be Open To Other People’s Needs

Other family members might have specific needs to accommodate to as well, so you might need to be willing to adjust yours slightly to suit. This can often cause conflict, but if you approach it with an open mind, it will help you to be prepared. Let them know that you are the one who is willing to be flexible to accommodate their needs.

Be Mindful Of Substances

Substances like sugar, carbohydrates and of course, alcohol, all very commonly indulged during holiday festivities and can impair your judgment and mood. It’s vital for a happy holiday that you don’t over-indulge be mindful of your intake and keep a clear head.

Take A Breather

It is crucial you set aside some time for yourself each day if you can. Take a walk, go for a run or a bike ride, whatever allows you to let off some steam and clear your head. Meditation and yoga are also great activities to do this. If you start to feel stressed, don’t let it build up, use physical exercise to blow off steam. Let people know that you are going and that you are coming back, so they don’t worry too much. Most of the time, your family will know exactly what buttons to push to get you stressed or angry. As soon as these things happen, try a try stress-busting technique to get you through.

Once you have returned home after the holiday break, create some time for yourself so you can get back into a routine. Spend time with friends and reconnect with yourself before you head back to work again.