Daily Life · Holiday

How To: Survive Family Holidays

Now I’m no expert. I’m not a therapist but I’ve been told I give decent advice with relationships. Part of that being so many mistakes I’ve made and would love to not see repeated in others lives and the other half just listening and being objective. It’s hard to do that in relationships and even more so when it pertains to family. Holidays are no exceptions. Emotions run high and everyone just wants so desperately to get along that it makes it hard to relax and really enjoy.

That being said I have a few tips to help you enjoy the holidays a bit more. These are all tips that I have learned over the years and that have really helped me relax a bit more.

  1. Let It Go – I know that sounds a bit “Disney Princess” of me but it’s so true. There are many things in life that you can’t control and family is among them. That being said – pick what you can control (ie. Your own attitude). Make the concious decision to relax and refuse to let little petty things ruin your holiday. Who cares what someone else said about another person?! It doesn’t need room in your head.
  2. Take Time For You – You do not always have to be around everyone. Take 1 hour maybe 2 and relax in your own way. I find that going for a walk or leaving for a coffee shop with a good book is the best way to relax. It gives me space and something new to see with nothing to hear. Distance can be healthy and it can be helpful. It will help you decompress and maybe in advertently help them. Think about this – you spend over 200 days of the year living your own life and then when the holidays come around you have to bring new people in. It’s stressful and tense because you aren’t used to having them around. Take time for you, it’s your holiday too.
  3. Set Boundaries You Can Stick To – Never say you can or cannot do something if you aren’t going to stick to it. All that will do is let them know that boundaries are flexible and that you don’t mean what you say. It will also make you feel like you are being pushed around or can’t keep up. If you say you need 1 hour – take 1 hour. If you say you are leaving at 2pm – do not let them manipulate you into staying longer. Sure family is important but so are you and you will feel better for sticking to your guns.
  4. Hygge- My readers are going to get sick of this, but seriously – Hygge. Get up 30 min early and take time to read a book and have a little time to yourself before the holiday “day time” with family starts. You need time to wake up before you have to hit the ground running and your family will thank you for it. Take time at the end of the night – make a cup of cocoa and go sit in bed reading to relax. Don’t feel like you need to spend every waking moment surrounded by noise and family.
  5. Not Your Problem – This is a new concept that I’m still learning from my in-laws. It is taht while you feel bad for something that has happened or hasn’t gone right in another persons life – you are not the solution. Listen to them if you feel like it’s necessary and offer advice if you like. It’s ok to help and it’s ok to feel sympathy but you don’t have to be the savior. I recently experienced the freedom of what it means to say “No” because someone else made a bad decision and you don’t have the emotional capacity to be a savior. Make sure you do it nicely but don’t feel like you have to do something.

In total here’s what I recommend and am learning to do myself. Take time for me – 2 times, each day when I’m with family for extended periods. Realize that I’m not the savior so I can say “No” and set that boundary. I can also stick to it and at the same time realize that their bad attitude towards not getting their way isn’t something I can control. I will not let it affect my holiday and my attitude though.

Navigating holidays and family isn’t easy. I won’t guarentee that these 5 tips are going to solve all your problems, but they do help you. Any suggestions or things you have found to work? I would love to hear them.

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