How to Survive Your Family During the Holidays
The holidays are my favorite time of year. I love the traditions of Egg’s Benedict breakfast on Christmas morning and watching all the holiday movies together.
All that closeness can be great, but it can also cause a lot of stress. From differing political and religious beliefs to a range of conflicting personality styles, even the closest families aren’t exempt from a little holiday drama.
Here 5 tips to help you not only survive your family during the holidays, but actually enjoy seeing them!
Get Good Sleep
From jet lag and late nights to packing in too many activities, the holidays can easily wear everyone out – and make us cranky. You can’t avoid other people’s emotional outbursts, but you can try to manage your own. Getting 7-9 hours of sleep each night will not only give you the energy you need to do Christmas but also help you control your emotions, so you don’t lose it on Uncle John when he asks why you’re single for the fifth time.
Make A Food Plan
The food and drink traditions of the holidays are one of my favorite things, but overindulging, especially if it’s not what your body is used to, can wreak havoc on your digestion. Even if they mean well, food pushing relatives don’t have to deal with the aftermath of junk food overload, you do.
What food boundaries can you set to avoid the tummy troubles? Can you plan to eat a healthy breakfast every day? Do you need to stop by the store and buy some veggies to keep on hand? Will you pack a water bottle to stay hydrated?
I’m all about enjoying all the holiday foods, but when it comes to the third day of ordering fast-food for lunch, I opt-out, and you can too. Your stomach will thank you for it.
Anticipate Difficult Situations and Plan Your Responses
If you’re trying to survive your family during the holidays, you need a game plan.
Is your brother known for having one-too-many scotches and trying to talk politics? Does your sister criticize your marriage every time you see her? If you know these conversations are coming, plan your responses in advance.
Being proactive about how you reply will help you be in the driver’s seat of your emotions. You’ll have an opportunity to use assertive communication when you respond, which will be better received by your family than responding reactively and aggressively. Tell your sister you appreciate her concern, but that you don’t wish to discuss this topic again. Tell your brother you’ve made it a rule not to discuss politics with anyone, and leave it at that.
If your brother is still trying to talk politics or your cookie-pushing aunt refuses to take no for an answer, you need a plan to enforce your boundaries. You can’t control them, but you can control how you react. Do you need to remove yourself from the situation? Can you go for a walk? Will you pack some books and go to bed early to read? Creating a plan in advance to handle the known offenders is one of the best Christmas gifts you can give yourself!
Accept You Can’t Change Them
Everyone has quirks. We can’t choose, or change our family, but we can accept them as they are and try to make the best of our time together.
I hope these tips help you survive your family during the holidays! Wishing you a Merry (and drama-free) Christmas!