I know the holiday season is in full swing for most of us what with Diwali, Hanukkah, Thanksgiving, Kwanzaa, Christmas, Boxing Day, New Year’s Eve, or other important holidays we celebrate this time of the year. For some of us, it’s an exciting time but, for others, well, it can be a time filled with dread, sadness, and unavoidable family drama. Holidays can come with a lot of emotional and mental stress. Even if we love the holidays, it can still be physically taxing and get overwhelming at times.
If you struggle with getting through this time of year, as I do, one of the ways you might find some peace during the holidays is to think about embracing new traditions. One of these traditions might include continuing much smaller, more intimate family/friends gatherings (given the current climate, going smaller for health and safety reasons is an easier argument to make than in the past).
That being said, I want to share a few more tips for how you can plan to have a more satisfying, less stressful holiday season.
5 Ways to Protect your Peace During the Holidays
#1 Know Your Triggers
Number one know your own triggers are there are certain people or topics of conversations that get you worked up. Learn what you might say to shut down triggering conversations during the holidays according to therapists.
You might also try to excuse yourself and spend a minute in the bathroom or, if weather permits, take a walk to avoid that person pressing your buttons and ruining your mood and the evening.
#2 Say No To That Invite
It can be hard to say “no” during the holidays. It can be heart-pounding scary to decline an invitation or decide to not extend an invite to certain family members. It may cause some tension and maybe even a lot of drama. But if someone is abusive you literally don’t have to spend time with them even if their family remember this is your holiday too.
Saying yes to something that you don’t really want to do can also leave you feeling resentful and angry with yourself and others.
#3 Let Go of the Guilt
Whether it’s saying ‘no’, especially to the family during the holidays or deciding to scale back on gift-giving or the size of the family gatherings this year, it can be incredibly hard. Guilt is a difficult emotion to let go of. It can be incredibly difficult, but not impossible.
Reflect on why you’re feeling guilty – where is that coming from? What are you afraid of? What do you have to gain and lose by saying no? Will you survive it? Then, make peace with your decision.
Just remember to be kind and gentle with yourself as you would with a friend or family member.
#4 Don’t Engage in Family Gossip
Not all gossip is bad. There can be ‘juicy’ news about someone that’s positive or helpful. But then there’s negative gossip that isn’t centred around concern for someone else or being helpful. It’s gossip for personal gain and where you question the motivation of the person sharing the information.
Probably the safest way to avoid engaging in negative gossip is to avoid family gossip altogether. One way to not engage in family gossip is to set the intention that you will not talk about anyone who isn’t in the room with you. This will also require being aware of your own tendencies to get caught up in the gossip game.
#5 Set realistic expectations
Let go of unrealistic expectations and the Hallmark Christmas movie version of what the holidays should look like. Find a way to celebrate healthily and happily for you and your family. Find what brings you joy and do more of that this season.
I hope that you find these tips helpful and that you can make the most of this holiday season with a heart full of gratitude and hope for a brighter New Year.
This post first appeared on The Swell Life Blog (Swell Made Co.)