“After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one’s own relations.” ― OSCAR WILDE , A WOMAN OF NO IMPORTANCE.
I have many people who come to see me at this time of the year filled with fear and angst about spending time with family over the holiday period. We all bring our own baggage to the Christmas table and if you “unpack your bags” beforehand, spending time with the family might just be a little easier. Here are some tips that might help you through:
KNOW YOUR TRIGGERS:
The hardest thing to learn is that, no matter what you do, you can’t change others. Have realistic expectations. If you accept that everyone will be the same, and let go of hoping things will change, you might find that you will not react as strongly to the predictable behaviour of others. Keep reminding yourself that you will get through it just as you have before.
Try to steer clear of those who push your buttons.If you have a partner who is supportive, let them know your concerns so they can support you – not speak for you – just give you strength by being with you. If you don’t feel as if you have that kind of support, gravitate towards people who are likeminded and who will engage you in “neutral” conversation.
FIND A SAFE PLACE:
Have an escape plan – a walk in the garden, helping in the kitchen, playing with the kids – anything that lowers anxiety a notch.
ACCEPT THAT YOU MIGHT FEEL SAD:
The media bombards us with images of happy people and happy families. The reality is that these times bring up many mixed feelings. Around a family table there are people who are missing, due to the end of a relationship or a death. Acknowledge your feelings and accept that this is how you are this year.
Remember the things in life that you are grateful for. Gratitude can change your perspective – it shifts your mind from focusing on what you haven’t got to concentrating on the good things that life has brought you. Research has shown that gratitude can actually help your heart emotionally and physically.
For those who do not have family, or whose families live away, the holidays can be a lonely time. Prepare things in advance – do some voluntary work, make arrangements with friends ,participate in community events, anything that engages you with people…..
IT IS WHAT IT IS:
You can’t change circumstances; you can control how you respond to them. Ultimately your reality “is what it is”. All you can do is follow your moral compass and do what feels right for you!