One of the biggest stress makers during the Holidays is when you spend an extended length of time with your family. Here are 5 tips for finding your Middle Ground … and feeling more balance this year.
Let’s face it, spending 24-7 with anyone can be stressful, so here is some wisdom to help you make it through this year with less drama, tears and opening of old wounds.
1. Lower your expectations. This isn’t the movies, this is real life. And life has its ups and downs! We may put a lot of work into the decorations, food and the family setting to make it look perfect, but it can it really be like in the movies? Accept that there will be emotional baggage being brought into the house and through the Holidays. When we recognize that, we can think about how we want to handle it – before we get triggered. So reset your expectations and accept the reality that things don’t always go the way you planned them or hoped for.
2. Let it go. Have you ever noticed that you end up having the same argument or rehashing old sore points year after year? It’s time to let it go. This is not the time to get into an argument wishing your mother would not interfere in the kitchen. She will. Let her. It’s what she has always done, so be kind and let her feel useful. This year resolve not to get sucked in. If your brother, sister, cousin, father, daughter or son has a tried and true aggravating behavior … take a moment and ask yourself. Can I let this go this year? Is this truly a battle worth fighting?…. What’s more important to us as a family?
3. Be smart and be present with what you are saying and doing. Don’t over indulge as a way to escape. You can’t control other people, but you can control your own attitude and behaviors. If you want this year to be more peaceful and loving, then take action that comes from kindness rather than being right or getting back at people! Whenever you notice you are being judgmental and critical, then take a deep breath … and choose to be kind. Resolve not to add fuel to the fire but to be the peacemaker.
4. Take a time out. If you find yourself starting to feel resentful or lashing out in your head, give yourself permission to have down time. Leave the room, take a walk, have a bath, take a nap, meditate or hit a yoga class. You need to unwind and recharge – and that’s okay. Encourage others to do the same. We all need a break from being “on” 24-7. Remember that laughter and deep breathing release dopamine and serotonin in our bloodstream and make us feel good. Direct that pent up energy in a positive way and let it move through you!
5. Appreciate. Make a list of the positive reasons to spend the holiday with your family. There must be a reason, you show up every year! – And the family does too! Pull out the list whenever you hit a rocky moment. One thing about families is that you’ve got a long history with them, and unlike your friends, you have no choice.
On the other hand your family are just that – yours. Be grateful for them. Without them you may not be here …. and you would definitely not be the person you are today.
Resolve to let gratitude in, keep your heart open and be present.
p.s. Refer to the guide on practicing being present by clicking here.