Toasty warm hot chocolate, twinkling lights, carols, and of course, interacting with your immediate and extended family. For many of us, not all of these things about the holiday season are enjoyable. Every family has its own dysfunctions, but the key is minimizing disagreements while acknowledging your different family circumstances.
- Don’t take things personally. Even if things get heated and you think someone meant something to be hurtful, developing a thick skin can keep the situation from escalating.
- Make a plan before an event. Perhaps think of some neutral topics or questions to bring up, and be aware of discussions you should stay away from. If there are certain people you know you react against, plan to minimize your interaction with them.
- Pause before speaking. It’s easy to bite out a quick retort, but if you pause first, you can offer a less tense response, or perhaps disappear to the bathroom or another room instead.
- Don’t take sides. If an argument heats up, don’t pick a side. Answer noncommittally, and if pressed, say that you’d rather not talk about it right now.
- Be aware. If someone has experienced a loss, a divorce, been added to the family, or is in a tough financial situation, give them their space. Let them express any pain and don’t try to force them to be happy or feel right at home.
- Allow yourself time for recovery. Realize it can be draining or painful to spend time with your family. That’s OK, so allow yourself to decompress after and recover.
Spending time with your family can be one of the most rewarding things, but that doesn’t mean it’s not hard or doesn’t take some strategy. If you’d like more help getting through the holidays, give us a call at 717-840-9885 or click on the button below to make an appointment.
Dr. Julie Drolet
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