Managing Triggers that the holiday may bring.
Holidays are a time when family members often make an effort to set aside time for the family. Spending extended time together that involves family traditions, gift giving and other holiday festivities can be a wonderful time to connect and catch up with each other. But for some, getting together with family can create stress and anxiety. There are many reasons why people do not look forward to holidays. Some examples are certain family members just not being able to connect well with each other, or past unresolved conflicts that haven’t been laid to rest, or even negative memories or experiences in a childhood home can all potentially create stressful situations during a time that should be enjoyed. Some parents of young children in a family can also be made to feel very uncomfortable especially when there is a need to discipline children because different members of the family may judge or have differing opinions as to how to better or effectively parent a child.
There are fortunately some things that you can do to possibly minimize the anxiety and stress during the festivities.
Have smaller get togethers
As opposed to having large numbers of relatives gather together in one home on a set day, maybe take turns visiting with smaller groups of family members in their home for the holidays. This may actually be more intimate and reduce the chances of conflict with certain family who don’t get on.
Have smaller gatherings in your own home
By having family or friends over at your home, you can actually decide who to invite over at any time, thus avoiding unnecessary conflict. This way, you are more in control of who you are interacting with at any given time which can allow for a much more enjoyable time.
Know that there may be some conflict
Having a sense of acceptance that there may always be some degree of conflict during the holidays with some family may be a wise thing. Just knowing that some people will always be awkward no matter what you say or do. Take it with a grain of salt if possible and appreciate them for the good qualities that they have.
Plan a fun or creative thing to do when together with family
Even though typical family events usually involve having a festive meal and conversation together, maybe start a new trend amongst your family and friends by doing something completely different! For example, dinner and a movie at the movie theatre or going to see a live show or performance together. Or you can do something charitable by volunteering at a local church or event as a family together. This could quite possibly take the pressure off conflicting family members and allow everyone to focus their attention on something new and different other than being unkind to one another.
No matter how you handle the unavoidable holiday family get togethers always aim to stay calm, take time out for yourself if needed, and know that there are some personalities that cannot change but you love and care for them anyway.
Happy holidays! 😊