How to Deal with Family Drama Around the Holidays
Hey Ladies, Many of us imagine our time with loved ones around the holidays to be like something out of a Hallmark movie, with days filled with warmth and cheer. However, for other people, nothing is more terrifying than spending the holidays with their own families. Traveling, shopping, wrapping presents, and being in the same room as extended family members can all add up to an extremely stressful holiday season.
You may not be able to prevent family drama from happening, but you may take these steps to minimize its impact:
Have Realistic Expectations
Unrealistic expectations are a major source of holiday disappointment. Don’t put unrealistic expectations on yourself. Recognize in advance that you and your loved ones are only human, and that it’s okay for there to be unpleasant times. Messes are inevitable in life and in families. If you can admit it and take responsibility for it, you might find you’re less reactive to it.
Set Your Boundaries
Time spent with families over the holidays can also trigger us to feel like children all over again, essentially helpless. But you are an adult now and you are not helpless. You can set those boundaries to protect your mental health. Determine before you go what you will tolerate and what you won’t. This can be for simple things like meal times and sleeping accommodations to what topics of discussion you will engage in. Be sure to share your personal limits with all involved.
Use Good Judgement
It’s common to turn to alcohol or processed meals when the stress of the holidays gets to you. Both alcohol and processed sugar have a negative impact on mood and judgment when consumed in high quantities. Try not to get crazy on the food and drink.
Seeking out a therapist in the days or weeks preceding the holidays is another option. He or she can equip you with strategies for handling the awkward situations that inevitably arise at family gatherings.
Counseling is something I’m happy to discuss if you’re interested. I hope you have a pleasant (or at least bearable) holiday season because of me.