How to Deal with Stressful Family Relationships during the Holidays – Part 2

We have continued the list to help guide you through the holiday season.

Learn How to Detach When Needed

Regardless of the type of holiday you celebrate, there is most likely to be some form of intergenerational conflict of family entrapment that requires you to detach to find peace. When you feel overwhelmed in situations, gracefully extricate yourself and engage in grounding exercises.  This helps you to center yourself and be more patient and less judgemental within the family dynamic.

Just Do Not Go

It’s basic, but simply do not show up during holiday gatherings that you are dreading. A great way to do this is to take a vacation during the holidays, if you are not in town, there cannot be any expectation for you to attend. A change of scenery can be helpful in boosting your mood and feelings about the season and in general. If you cannot afford a full holiday, you can also make fun day events. Think about whom you would rather spend time with, and plan a trip or outing so you have something to look forward to.

Create Your Own Traditions and Rituals

In some families, decorations and presents are not done. Some parents are too exhausted and financially restricted to decorate a house or buy gifts. But with a family of your own, you and your partner can be deliberate about starting your own holiday traditions. By creating new rituals, you can grieve the lack of celebration experienced as a child but work toward creating joy and excitement for the future. If you have kids, this can become their favourite time of year and the process gives you something to look forward to and love.

Make a Safe Space for Yourself

If you grew up as an only child, being raised by a single mother, the holiday season can typically be challenging to navigate, as you can feel sad that your family relationships don’t look the same as your peers from school or like other families. It is important to know you deserve to be in a safe space, and it is ok to protect your emotional well-being by creating your own traditions and setting boundaries. Just because you are related to someone, does not always mean they have the best intentions for you. Sometimes you do need to distance yourself from people who are not healthy for your mental health, and just because someone is part of your family, that does not mean they have to be part of your life path. You are capable and deserving of creating new holiday traditions and dynamics that bring you joy and peace.

Host Family Get Togethers’ on Your Turf

Sometimes people are in situations where they want approval from their families. Rather than seeking approval from parents who do not budge, focus on building a life you love and are proud of, and then invite your family into that if you want them to, with the boundaries you need. You never have to tolerate abuse or disrespect from anyone, including family. It is easier to set limits when it is on your turf. Try hosting dinner in your home so you can set the rules and pace for how you want the evening to go. This way you can let family in your life, rather than pushing yourself by waiting for them to come around.