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7 Sure-Fire Ways To Handle Holiday Family Stress

I always loved the idea of the holidays, just not the practice. The decorations and fun seem to be the ideal combination. And getting together with...

I always loved the idea of the holidays, just not the practice. The decorations and fun seem to be the ideal combination. And getting together with family seems like it is an excellent idea. The problem is definitely with the actual “togetherness.”

If you have a close, loving, and accepting family, this article is not for you. If you have a family like mine with razor tongues and you feel like a family get together is akin to a grilling worse than a senate hearing, then this article is here to help you.

The problem arises when a group gets together, and people tend to fall into their comfortable roles. When getting together with family, especially during the holidays, everyone tends to revert to an earlier age.

You may be the CEO of your corporation, and then there’s your sister berating you for how you’re mashing the potatoes. Unbelievable.

Try following some or all of the following tips:

1. Realize you have changed. You don’t have to act as you used too. You’re an adult; you don’t have to fight with your brother and take your father’s constant ridicule. Choose not to take their bait. Easier said than done, I know. Just pay attention to your reactions and realize how ridiculous you would look acting like this in your everyday life.

2. Take Time to Yourself. When things get overwhelming, take a walk. Get out somewhere by yourself, take a breath, and cool off. It’s not worth losing your temper and ruining a perfectly good get together. Just disappear for a few minutes.

3. Keep a Cool Head. Watch how you’re baiting your family into the same reactions you are trying to avoid. Often it seems they are the ones chasing you around the table, but just notice if it may be you who is causing the problems.

4. Keep Up Your Exercise Routine. We all eat and sometimes drink a little too much over the holidays. Make sure you keep your workouts going. The workout raises endorphins making it easier to deal with your family and burns off that extra energy you’ll have from all of the empty calories.

5. Watch your Diet. Overeating sugar, having too much caffeine or alcohol, can set you off in an emotional tailspin as your brain tries to keep up with the influx of chemicals. This emotional whirlwind can put you back in that younger state where you feel you have no control of your situation, and that will make you defensive.

6. Get Enough Rest. There’s countless “to-do’s” over the holidays. A lack of proper sleep can get to you quickly. If you have trouble sleeping, be sure to stay away from sugar and alcohol after 7 pm.

7. It will end. One of my favorite quotes is, “This too shall pass.” Whether it be good times or bad times, the only constant is change. Be sure to “step back” and look at the bigger picture, effectively reducing your emotional involvement.

Following these seven tips will help you have a much better holiday season.

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