Thanks to Constance Ray from Recovery Well for this informative guest post!
4 Tips for Keeping the Holidays Civil to Beat Stress
The holiday season is a time for celebration, fun, and food. Unfortunately, it is also a time for family members to come together and discuss sensitive issues such as politics, beliefs, religion, and other dangerous conversational territory. It can be hard to enjoy the holidays when you’re stepping on eggshells around argumentative, misinformed, or downright rude family members.
But, they are your family, and sometimes it’s better to take preventative measures than try to force your opinionated uncle to see your point of view. Here are a few tips to help you survive (and hopefully enjoy) the holiday season.
Remember That You Love Your Family
When one of your relatives is being argumentative or condescending, it can be tough to remember that you love them. However, you do need to make an effort to look past your anger or frustration and remember some of the good conversations or activities you have done with them. Bring up one of these memories and derail the negative conversation, transforming it into something positive.
Even if you don’t feel that you’re the problem, you may be guilty of criticizing, being condescending, or broaching a sensitive topic. Criticism is one of the easiest ways to start a family fight. If you have children going on a path you don’t like, hold it in. If you have an uncle voting for an unsavory political candidate, keep your mouth shut.
If your aunt has decided to quit her job and sell jewelry on Etsy, now is not the time to bring it up. Your criticism will have no effect on what your relatives have chosen to do or think. It will only serve to aggravate them and make them defensive, ruining the holiday season for everyone.
Stop Seeking Approval
If you and your family don’t always see eye to eye, they are unlikely to provide you with acceptance and approval for certain things. Abstaining from alcohol, for example, can be very difficult for your family to swallow during the festivities.
Though familial support is preferable, you shouldn’t go out looking for support from a disagreeable relative. It will, in most cases, result in frustration for you, which in turn can cause you to lash out. Seeking approval from disapproving family members is a recipe for stress and frustration.
Keep in Mind That Conflict Resolution Isn’t Your Job
If a disagreement breaks out in spite of your best efforts, it can feel as though you have made a mistake or let your family down. This guilt might not impact your family but it will cause your holidays to be less enjoyable.
Though you should do your part to keep the peace, there are some situations and some family members that cannot be stopped. If you’re doing your best and the family is arguing anyway, you should be satisfied that you did all that you could and that this disagreement is not your fault.
The holidays are supposed to be fun and exciting. You’re supposed to catch up with friends and family and enjoy too much dessert. However, family conflict can turn this wonderful season into a war zone. There are many ways to reduce the likelihood of conflict, and each family is different. However you decide to do it, limiting your part in family disagreements will make you and your family’s holiday season better.
Constance Ray believes together with Recovery Well that battling addiction is a community project. The team would like to inspire people by sharing stories about overcoming addiction.
We wish you twenty minutes of mindfulness every day!