Home for the Holidays
By Laura Oliff, Ph.D.
As so many of us prepare for this holiday season, oftentimes family gatherings are not as enjoyable as we would like them to be. All families have their share of disagreements and strained relationships but following a few simple guidelines could help make your holiday a lot less stressful.
- Be gracious toward other family members. Consider being the first one to initiate conversation with a relative you’ve had tensions with in the past. Remember you don’t have to like all your relatives but engaging in friendly and courteous behavior will make it a more enjoyable holiday for all.
- Avoid “hot topics” among family members. There are typically a few topics that lead to disagreements and arguing at family gatherings. Whether its politics or some long standing conflict between certain family members, you can always be diplomatic and calmly suggest that this is probably not the best time to have this conversation.
- If tensions rise, try a two minute mindful breathing exercise or politely excuse yourself and help out in the kitchen or get a breath of fresh air outdoors. Remember you can’t control what other family members say or do just how you respond so consider “letting go” or responding with kindness or humor. You will never regret keeping the peace with other family members.
- Consider setting a positive mood by going around the table and asking each family member to share one thing they’re grateful for. You also might take a few minutes to skype or facetime as a group with family members who aren’t able to attend your celebration.