Category: Holiday Stress

How to survive dysfunctional family gatherings

3 Ways to Take Care of Yourself at Dysfunctional Family Gatherings

How do you feel about the holiday season? Many of us have emerged from dysfunctional, chemically altered, abusive, negligent or toxic family relationships. Merely the thought of facing these people again can set off a firestorm of triggers.

You may feel guilty about avoiding family during holidays. You may dread family gatherings. You may decide to go, but you feel uncomfortable at family get-togethers. You worry you won’t be your best self. A part of you wants to celebrate peace, joy, and happiness anyway. If the holidays are your personal kryptonite, how are you going to take good care of yourself?

Here are three important tips for your emotional safety and wellbeing.

1) Give yourself options, including opting out

“You’re not obligated to sacrifice yourself to ‘keep the peace’ or make others happy at the expense of your own sanity and well-being,” writes poet, author and men’s life coach Rick Belden. “It’s not your job to help maintain the illusion of a happy, healthy family.”

If you are recovering from a troubled family life, … Come Read the Rest

stop blamer, restore good feelings

How to Make Holiday Family Time Special

Do’s and Don’ts for handling holiday stress.

Don’t pin your happiness on expecting any day or occasion to be special the way you planned. The day the turkey caught on fire will always bring back a unique memory of the day!

Do create rituals or carry on meaningful ones, which anchor our lives in the rhythm of the years. Share memories of special times with your family and friends.

How to Make Special Family Memories

Often, families find great comfort in circling back to familiar celebrations and traditions.

For example, I know of one family that celebrated a decades-long Christmas Eve tradition. They prepared a dinner of bratwurst and knockwurst in honor of their German heritage.

But when the children grew up and married, the tradition ran into trouble. One man’s wife, so it happened, could not come to love German sausage her husband had enjoyed since childhood.

Adapting Family Traditions

How do you honor a beloved tradition, when people don’t see them the same way?

The answer will be different for each couple. But … Come Read the Rest

comforting holiday sadness

Comforting Holiday Sadness

Do’s and Don’ts for dealing with holiday stress

Don’t push difficult feelings away all the time. They honor our whole lives.

Do realize that holidays can bring sadness and losses to mind. Share your longings for past times or people with people who love you now. Even the “wheel of life” moments can bring tears.

When the Holidays Bring up Sadness or Losses

Unfortunately, not all holiday memories are happy.

We may miss loved ones no longer with us. When life dashes our dreams of something better, we may feel crushed. We may simply miss the way things used to be. Even the “wheel of life” moments can bring tears. Life may be progressing naturally and well. Still, we may grieve normal, unavoidable losses. Our losses may cause bittersweet feelings.

Accepting What You Feel

Know that your grief or sadness is not of itself “wrong” or “unacceptable.”

Sometimes the loss of a marriage, a spouse, or a loved one can feel very heavy indeed.

You may be in a place where you’re wondering how you’ll … Come Read the Rest

holiday stress management

Holiday Stress Management Tips When There Aren’t Enough Hours In the Day

  • Don’t short yourself on downtime, so that you are grumpy and can’t enjoy the season.
  • Do find ways to catch up on rest, get your downtime, and help yourself relax.

Holiday travel and changes in our daily routine can disrupt important things we do to rest our minds, restore our spirits, and get enough sleep.

Even if there are things we really want to do, taking care of our emotional well-being means slowing down to think about what we need to feel good over the course of several days.

First, feeling rested can help you get each day off to a good start:

3 Bedtime Rituals to Help You Manage Stress

Dr. Foldvary-Schaefer of the Cleveland Clinic offers these tips to keep rested for the sake of your emotional well-being during the holidays:

  1. Keep the times you go to sleep and wake up the same when possible. Even if you have a late night event, or need to get up earlier than usual, try to get back on schedule the next day. Do this even
Come Read the Rest
holiday connections

Holiday Cards and Connections: When You Want to Renew Old Ties

  • Don’t broadly send holiday cards and hope for the best.
  • Do give the gift of time and connection. Consider calling people you haven’t been in touch with lately.

People have a wide range of feelings about exchanging holiday cards and annual news letters. One couple explains they welcome getting holiday cards and family letters “because to have something to open that’s not a bill is just nice.” They like especially seeing pictures of children they haven’t seen in a long time.

Others admit that receiving a copy of a letter listing each family member’s accomplishments seems like bragging and it “drives them nuts.”

What Has Meaning For You?

Underneath whatever the level of detail or pride, is the message that someone is still thinking about us, and cares enough to reach out across the miles.

It usually means a lot to a person to be remembered in some way, even during the holidays. Think about what another person’s offer of connection means to you, especially if it’s unexpected. If you haven’t been in touch with … Come Read the Rest

give the gift of love

Holiday Spending: Talking with Your Partner about Money

#7. When You’re Really Tempted to Splurge

From: 11 Holiday Stresses, and What to Do Instead.

  • Don’t spend more than you can afford.
  • Do talk with each other about what giving gifts means, and about the budget, before shopping.

If we want to really make a holiday special, our big plans may well involve spending more money.

Some couples find holiday spending a recurring source of conflict, especially if they have different styles and attitudes toward money. One may insist on steering clear of credit, the other wants to splurge. If you don’t know how to talk these things through, you may end up feeling resentful, angry, or not listened to, instead of good about your holiday together.

Mindfulness Helps Reveal What’s Important

Mindfulness is key. What if you could look at your disagreement, not as a reason to argue or find fault with each other, but as an opportunity to share and learn about yourselves, and what is most important to you?

What would happen if you agreed to look deeper into the … Come Read the Rest