The Holidays bring warm feelings tinged with a touch of dread. Dread because it’s that time of year again…family time.
For many people, seeing family triggers feelings that do not jive with the holiday spirit. Even angry feelings. Even feelings of (*gasp*) dislike. If this sounds familiar, keep reading and I’ll help you enjoy the holidays.
For an unfortunate few, their family is truly toxic and just being around them is a mental strain. Keep it short and have an exit strategy.
Before You Go to Dinner
Take advantage of the quiet time at your own home to take a few minutes to center yourself, take some deep breaths and smile. Yes, smile. It will make you feel better.
Think of some conversation topics you can use when talking with your family members.
Practice exit-strategies for when you get stuck with an annoying family member (see below).
Keep your sense of humor at the ready. It helps if you can see things through a comedic lens.
Come up with a reward for yourself that you can have when you get home like chill-out time playing a video game, couch potato time in front of the tv or a little shopping trip.
Day of the Living Annoying
Many family members fall into this category, from the too talkative to the incredibly nosy. You can’t change these people. You can only feign interest in what they are talking about and plan to put your exit strategy into play.
* Help in the kitchen. It keeps you busy and away from the crowd.
* Spend time with the kids. They are always good for lightening up your mood.
* Just get it over with. Go talk to the person who makes your holidays unhappy. After five minutes you can say, “Uh oh…I think I’m needed in the kitchen.”
* Talk to family members that you don’t get a chance to see very often.
* Choose your seat at the table wisely. Let’s face it; there are certain family members that everyone avoids. Don’t get caught sitting next to them.
* If its Christmas and you’re like my family, you open gifts after the meal has been served and cleaned up. Be prepared: the kids will be worked up into a pre-gift frenzy. There will be lots of running around and yelling for no apparent reason.
* Figure out what you like best about the holidays and emphasize those things. Love Christmas music? There’s loads to go around. Do you like decorating the tree? Make an event out of it. Love the lights? Take some light-seeing trips.
Time to say “Goodbye”.
If things get unbearable, excuse yourself and leave. Say goodbye to the host/hostess and get thee out of dodge. I can last about 2-3 hours at these events and then I must bolt.
Give yourself credit for making it through these times. The Holidays can be some of the hardest periods we go through because expectations are so high and family is so close.
Its also difficult because we feel the shadow of those that have passed and we miss them. Sometimes there is a huge hole in our family that was occupied by a loved one. Honor your loved one with a simple gesture such as a candle, or put their picture out where everyone can see it. Celebrate your loved one in a way that makes you feel good.
So try to see the magic in the Holidays and ignore the stuff you don’t like. I hope you make it through with your jingle intact.
Tell me about your holidays. Are they relaxing and fun, scary and long, or somewhere in between?
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