December 24, 2014 2:54 am
One reason families can feel blindsided by holiday blow-ups is that this time of year is “supposed” to be all colored lights, childlike wonder, love, and gratitude. This is, of course, a setup for failure. Depending on your holiday expectations, they can bring a unique set of pressures—forced family togetherness, ramped-up financial pressures, and jam-packed schedules, just to name a few.
To help ease the stress, consider these tips:
Be real about what you feel. This will allow you to head off recurring holiday issues. Most people can predict their relatives' problematic behaviors based on past experience. This year, instead of biting your tongue and then blowing up after the fact, speak up. Not only can you prevent the issue from occurring, you’re taking a step toward a healthier relationship.
Identify your limits. Watch out for overscheduling. Make choices about where to invest your energy and your time. Figure out which events mean the most and let some things go. Otherwise you are sure to spend all of your time stressed, resentful of your loved ones.
Look for rituals that have lost their meaning and eliminate them. Ask yourself, 'Where are we just going through the motions?' Maybe you’ve always driven across the country for the holidays because that’s where your partner’s parents live. But if you’re approaching the visit with a sense of dread rather than anticipation and joy, why not change it? You can always visit them mid-summer instead.
Published with permission from RISMedia.