Christmas can be a high-pressure time for families; here are some tips to make it more enjoyable for everyone…
1. Don’t take things personally
We all have our own view of the world and can see the world very differently even when we have grown up together. Sometimes we can be sensitive about the views of others, so for the festive season it pays to be as resilient as possible, to develop a thicker skin, to not take things personally and then to let them go.
2. Have optimistic but realistic expectations
If one of your siblings is prone to the same competitive behaviour as when you were children, be prepared. Is there any way you can surprise or tease them out of their childhood habit? Or otherwise ignore them or refuse to play the role you used to play as a child? Family patterns can be stopped or interrupted when one party refuses to play ball (the game). If necessary, shorten the time you spend with that person or with your family…
3. Pause before speaking
If everyone waited and took a deep breath before they spoke, we would have a very different world. If there is someone in your family who particularly challenges you, taking more time to respond can be a good idea. If you need to, count from 1 to 5 before you speak. Remember that some things once said cannot be unsaid. Taking your time to respond to someone who you find challenging can potentially mean the difference between an amicable interaction and an argument or a blazing row. For your sake as well as everyone else’s, keep the interaction as calm as possible.
4. Take a break from your family when you need to
Make time for yourself every day over the holidays. Phone a friend or go for a walk down to your local shop and give yourself some space. Or take a long shower or clean up the kitchen while you listen to your favourite music. Don’t feel you have to spend every moment with your family. Taking time out can give you some time to relax and recharge, you can then return with more energy and patience to deal with them.
5. Have a positive mind-set
Remember that relationships are key to our happiness, and our mind-set around our relationships can make all the difference at Christmas time. How well we get on with our family can be influenced by what we focus on with our family. As we stay at our family home we can remember the happy memories, the pleasant trips and outings or we can share and support each other through remembered painful/difficult times.
If, when we gather with our family, we focus on the happy memories and the support our parents, brothers and sisters gave us, remember the times they helped us, recall their demonstrations of love, we can then walk in feeling more peaceful and more grateful that they are a part of our lives. And in that way, we are more able to create a happy holiday adds to our happy memories too…
Happy Festive Season!