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Lighten up Your Holiday Family Stress

Lighten up Your Holiday Family Stress

For many it’s a love-hate relationship when you deal with relatives during the holidays. The epic story of the difficult to please mother-in-law, or strange brother-in-law is enough to make you pull your hair out, if it’s not falling out already from the stress of economy and job crisis.

Holiday gatherings can be tense, but this year the collapse of the economy and job loss, have made people more volatile and stressed than ever before. You really have no idea what people are going through, whether it’s your brother-in-law that lost his job, or your sister who has no health insurance. Being mindful during time together is one of the best gifts you can offer this holiday season. Commit to being a source of light in the midst of possible gloom.

Here are a few tips to create more love, light, energy and peace into your family holiday:

  1. Communicate before everyone arrives. A lack of communication creates stress. Send out a guest newsletter to everyone expected to take part in the gatherings to inform them of rules, plans and potential play that is planned for the visit.
  2. Establish guest survival rules. Shower schedule, off-limit refrigerator items, phone use, etc., put them in a public place. Most of us have a card carrying narcissist in our family who don’t have great boundaries.
  3. Be sure to label quiet rooms (for guests to take a nap or read) and activity rooms (to play a computer game or watch television). Guests will appreciate the thought you put into their needs.
  4. Avoid known “hot buttons” for certain family members. Some subject areas are best left untouched.
  5. Be proactive NOT reactive. Have a plan in place for situations and stick to it.
  6. Project an attitude of gratitude and compassion. It is impossible to be grateful and stressed at the same time.
  7. Time management. Be aware of how much time you spend with each person; don’t spend too much time with someone you have a negative history with. Short staccato visits are best. Too much time can open old wounds or create irritation, impatience, and arguments.
  8. Move on from the Past. People tend to live in their rear view mirrors. They live in the past and want to bring up old dead topics that create anger and disagreements. Keep the conversations in the present.
  9. Don’t take things personally. It’s all about them. DO NOT REACT!
  10. When all is said and done, ’tis the season to be jolly. So make the best of it and enjoy the time you have with friends, family, and food. If you can de-stress this holiday season, people will notice and your experience can be that much more fun.
Posted in: Mindful Family

2 Comments on "Lighten up Your Holiday Family Stress"

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  1. Marge says:

    These tips worked well over Christmas holidays. Last of the in-laws on Sunday!

  2. Mishka says:

    Love this list, great advice. Especially the projection of gratitude & compassion as a stress stopper.

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