5 Tip For Coping With Family Stress During The Holidays


The holidays are upon us all and we all know sometimes being around family this time of the year can be difficult and stressful. We all have a family get together and traditions that we do every year. Yes, for some this is fun and exciting but for many others it brings on nothing but stress. So going into this season it is good to start preparing yourself for what is to come. We have come up with a list of tips that can help to make the family gatherings less of a daunting task and something you can start to look forward to and enjoy!

1. Adjust Your Mindset.

If you go into the holidays thinking everything is going to be stressful or that you are going to be anxious the entire time, then that will be your outcome. There are so many times we have had our minds made up before we left the house to go somewhere and said it’s going to be a horrible time. Once we get the occasion it was better than we expected and wished we had a better mindset going in. Find ways to relax and focusing on the positive when getting with family. Is your favorite cousin who you haven’t seen in a long time going to be there this year? Is there an aunt who makes the best side dish or appetizer, and you can’t wait to indulge yourself? By lowering your stress, you can allow yourself to tolerate more and be less irritated during your time with family.

2. Have Realistic Expectations

We all have created this magical thinking that turns into unrealistic expectations. We are hoping things will go a certain way in a situation and that doesn’t happen. When dealing with family, we all have that one person who we know is going to bring up something that could tick us off. The problem is we can’t expect that person to change but we can change ourselves, meaning set a boundary and limit how much you are around that person.

3. Set Boundaries on Sensitive Topics

People bring up topics and start discussions without thinking about the people around them. For instance, "When are you guys going to have a baby?", others think it’s okay to ask but it can trigger you. How do we get through that? Plan to keep conversation off the topics as best as you can. If it gets brought up change the topic, ask the person what's new with them? You can also let them know you don’t want to discuss that topic at this time. They need to respect that. If they don’t then excuse yourself and find a place to ground yourself if you are feeling overwhelmed.

4. Use Radical Acceptance

You must learn to accept the things you have no control over which is your family. The only thing you can control is your reaction to your family. Sometimes if you know there is no changing the mindset of the other person it is easier to smile and nod and get out of the conversation. It's not worth the stress the family may cause when some of them you will only see once a year. Pick your battles!

5. Have A Plan

When going to family occasions for the holidays, come up with a plan to get through. If you are just stopping over to say hi then have an exit plan. Before getting to the gathering, figure out how long you are going to be staying if things are too much to handle. Having the exit plan can be helpful if you don’t want to stay at the event all night and you know when you get to leave. Also having a plan of coping strategies while visiting is always beneficial. If you are staying for an extended period of time, then make sure you are allowing yourself time to leave and be away from family while visiting. Have hometown friends to catch up with? Take some time throughout your time home to visit with others with whom you can enjoy their company.


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