The holidays are a special time of year, perhaps the only time of year when the whole family get’s together and is able to see each other! While these gatherings can be a wonderful time to bond and catch up with family you haven’t seen in a while, there is also bound to be some stress and drama as well. Especially when family conflict is involved. Here are some ways you can handle conflicts and holiday stress this season!
Alternate Holiday Obligations
Realistically, many of us won’t have time to see all of the family we would like to this holiday season. When there are too many family members and not enough time, it’s crucial to have a clear plan on which family members you will see and communicate that accordingly. If you and your spouse both want to celebrate with your family of origin, taking turns is an easy solution. If you saw one group for Thanksgiving, see the other for Christmas.
Adjust Your Expectations
If you know that being around certain family members causes tension, prep yourself for it and adjust your expectations. For example, if you know that it’s impossible to talk politics with your mother, avoid the topic. You can’t control how others behave, but by being intentional about what you say and how you act, you can help minimize the chance of conflict arising.
Learn To Say No
This is one of the hardest things to do, but if you learn to master this skill you will have more time and less conflict. If seeing a certain family member each year causes you undue stress and anxiety, just say no. This is your holiday as much as it is theirs and you deserve to enjoy it.
Surround Yourself With Friends
This goes along with the advice above. There is a growing trend of people spending time with friends instead of family. Whether it is because you are unable to travel, or feeling lonely this holiday season, celebrating with a group of friends is a great way to bond and enjoy the spirit of the holidays!
Host The Holiday
This is a great solution for anyone who has too many groups of relatives to take turns seeing. By inviting everyone else to your home, it relieves the pressure that’s on you to make it to everyone else’s event. While this doesn’t work for every situation, it can be a great way to change the holiday dynamic.
Talk To A Therapist
For those who have a long history of really rough family relations, talking to a therapist might be able to help prepare you for the interaction. A therapist can give you communication tips to help minimize conflict, prepare you for how to respond to sensitive topics, and even role play an interaction with you. Modern Therapy is a great resource for this and offers talk therapy + coaching exclusively online!