You’re navigating through the holidays, made it through Thanksgiving, and might be facing even more familial stress through New Year’s (or any family get together that comes up). You think about the dread, play it over in your mind of how it usually goes, and ask for guidance in managing through yet another party.
- It may be the passive aggressive manipulator that seems to always get his/her way
- The excavator who always digs for more with “so how is it going with <<< >>>?” knowing full well you are struggling with resolution right now
- The star of the pity party, and maybe you have a group that plays one-up on whose pain is the greatest
Then there is the noise, but no real conversation. Loud, argumentative, and maybe a little vindictiveness going on.
And so, you wonder why you all gather in the first place.
If you are like me, you probably build up tension and stress before you even show up. You create resistance to the situation and by doing so, add to the tension before you even show up.
No family is perfect, and your dilemma may seem to be insurmountable. There actually is hope. Let me share some small tips to help you manage family.
- If you are feeling stress beforehand, first realize you are creating this feeling so you can also create releasing it. Change your thinking to something amazing in your life, something you love to do, someone you love to be with, or someplace you love to go. Breathe deeply, pull your shoulders back, and let the tension leave your body for the moment.
- If you are in the middle of the turmoil and feel the stress building up, excuse yourself and leave the room. You might go for a walk or head to another room. Close the door and once more, breathe deeply. Let the moment go and shift your thoughts to self-care while you purposefully relax each muscle in your body.
- You can not get away from the onslaught of family drama? Stop participating in it. You do not have to respond to questions, participate in discussions, or take on responsibility that is not yours. Play the silent observer, like an author writing a story that plans to turn family drama into a comedy. What might that look like?
You can not escape the family gathering but you can choose to step back from participating in the chaos. This is a new skill and will take practice, so be kind with yourself as you learn how to let it all go.
Your feelings and responses to your environment are based on your thoughts. Recognize you are having the thought and feeling the feeling. Step back and focus on your breath and be in this moment.
You have the power to choose how you feel. Choose to appreciate who you are and live in the moment. This is a practice of conscious choice and being present in the uniqueness of the moment. Take control, accept responsibility, and be aware that your perspective, response, and results belong to you alone.
You know it’s time for even more.
If not now, when?