Many of us have dreams and expectations of a perfect family function that goes off without a hitch. But with so many back-stories, generations, personalities, and unrecognized dysfunction, it’s no wonder that family & friend holiday get-togethers can be so emotionally draining. Here are some tips that can help bring some calm for you during the holiday season.
1. Be prepared. “Ok, here it goes”. Take a deep breath. There may be things said, or other triggers that may frustrate you, anger you, or worry you. Come up with a plan about how you are going to acknowledge your emotions, without being caught up in the any unhealthy behaviour.
2. You are different than me, and I am different from you….and that’s OK. We have all been broken in our lives at some point. Some of us have acknowledged and learned from these life situations, and others just don’t understand or recognize their own unhealthiness. Practice empathy and compassion of other’s views rather than needing to be right, or having the last word on topics.
3. I am only in charge of me. Others may say or do things that we take as hurtful, or attacking. We are powerless over other's views, thoughts, speech, or emotions. The moment that you give your own power to someone else, is the moment that you lose yourself back into the chaos.
4. Take a Breather. Too much tension and frustration building up inside of you? Need a time out? Make a trip to the washroom, go outside and get some fresh air, and repeat the steps above.
5. Be thankful. While it’s easy to focus on the negative and pain in our lives, there too is a positive side that longs to be recognized. That doesn’t mean stuffing in the nasty stuff – it is real, and needs to be acknowledged. However, beginning to plant positivity can be infectious to ourselves and those around us!
Family gatherings are not always the perfect scene that we fantasize about. Calm, peacefulness, and enjoyment starts with one person – you! (Have an extra slice of dessert too. That can help!) And remember...If you're still feeling overwhelmed, make sure you reach out for help.