The holidays are supposed to be a joyous time with friends and family but sometimes we might need a little help surviving the holidays. Unfortunately, the holidays don’t always bring that nostalgic and warm feeling to some people and your life is not like a Hallmark movie. You are supposed to have that cozy feeling of hot chocolate and comfy sweaters, listen to all of the Christmas music and be mesmerized by the colorful and sometimes a little too excessive lights. Instead for some, the holidays come with stress and bring back up old negative memories that you would rather not deal with. It can cause depression, pain and take you back to a dark time. You think of the awkward conversations with family members to whom you barely speak, pretend that you have a perfect family and ignore the dysfunction.
As the holiday season is approaching, here are a few tips to help get you through it.. .
Don’t Expect to Heal Old Wounds
Grandma’s house is not the place where you need to call your aunt out for causing so much tension between the family. Don’t bring unnecessary drama to the dinner table over turkey and pie. Keep conversations simple and pleasant. If you don’t like where a conversation is going, walk away. Don’t use this time to try and get an apology or heal past pains.
Don’t Expect People to Change
As much as we would like the holidays to bring out the best in people, more than likely it won’t. Your alcoholic uncle will probably still have his spiked eggnog and say something inappropriate. Don’t get your hopes up that someone has changed within the past year. You will just set yourself up for disappointment. Remember that you can only control yourself.
Put the “Fun” in Dysfunctional
Keep things fun and easy. Play games, bake cookies, tell favorite memories, watch a movie… It is important to just keep things joyful and light.
Keep your Boundaries
Don’t allow this time to be an excuse to throw all of your boundaries away. Remember what you need to stay strong and healthy. Don’t allow people to walk all over you and don’t take the bait if someone is testing you. Keep your head up and focus on you.
To avoid as much stress as possible, plan ahead so you know what to expect. Know what gifts you have to buy and for who, know what side dish you are going to contribute and decide on a time when you are going to leave. If you think it is necessary, plan on how you are going to respond to someone if they try to get under your skin.
Pay Attention to the Blissful Moments
Allow yourself to see the happy times with your family this holiday season, especially if you have children. Focus on the laughter, joy and exciting times. Give yourself the opportunity to make special memories. Make the most out of the holiday season. And remember that you will get through it and not have to deal with it again for another year!