As the holidays arrive, families travel near and far to gather together to celebrate. As much as we may love to see our family and spend the holidays with those we love, it can be a bit stressful. Some of us, no matter how much we love our family, have a hard time being around them for the holidays. Luckily, there are a few steps you can take for managing family stress around the holidays.
Something that may be a cause of stress when family comes to visit is the fact that we already have so much stress in our lives outside of the holidays. Work and other daily obligations are already stressful enough, but getting the house ready, preparing meals or special treats, and making time for family gatherings can add to that pressure.
One way to manage the stress around the holidays is to plan ahead. Luckily, most employers will give workers some time off to enjoy with their family. Even with the time off, it is important to plan ahead.
Look at your calendar or schedule and determine dates and times when you can prepare for family and other holiday obligations. Make a manageable list, and tackle anything you can in your spare time to prepare yourself for your family during the holidays.
Be Proactive with Communication
The holiday season is no doubt one of the most stressful times of the year. It can be frustrating when you are trying your best to reach out to family and nobody is getting back to you.
You want to know when you should be where or what the plans are for the holidays. But you are met with “I’ll get back to you,” or worse yet, silence, when you need an answer as soon as possible. That is enough to cause frustration at any time of the year, let alone the already stressful holiday season.
One thing that you can do is set an expectation for the communication you would like from your family. Let them know how busy you are and that you need to know what is going on so you can plan accordingly. But remember, they are also busy.
You should also open the lines of communication as early as possible to avoid waiting until the last minute to know what the plans are for the holidays. By communicating effectively with your family, you can help manage the stress of the holidays.
Spend Time with Your Chosen Family
Sometimes, the family stress that comes along with the holidays is simply the obligation we feel to visit and interact with our family. You may dread this time of year because being with your family is, in itself, stressful.
However, there is no rule that says you must spend the holidays with your biological family. If you expect the time with family during the holidays to be stressful, you might want to block out some time to spend away from family.
With the creation of holiday events such as Friendsgiving,” more and more people are escaping family stress for a few hours to instead spend time with people they enjoy being around–their chosen family. Avoid some of the holiday stress by spending time with those who bring you joy and those you actually want to be around during the holiday season.
Remember: It’s Not Forever
When you are feeling stressed, remember that the holiday season doesn’t last forever. Even for the most festive of people, the holiday season is only two months out of the year. Luckily, that means that the time you have to spend with family is not very long.
Remind yourself when you are with your family or planning family events that this will all be over soon, and life will get back to normal. Take time to remember why you have chosen to be with your family for the holidays and enjoy all of the positives. When the time with your family becomes too much, step aside, take a breath, and remember that the holiday season is just a short period of the year.
Need Additional Help Managing Family Stress Around the Holidays?
All families are different and come with their unique quirks that can add unwanted stress to our lives. If you are feeling especially anxious about spending time with family this holiday season, give us a call. At Keri Powell Therapy we have attentive and compassionate therapists who can work with you to develop a plan for getting through the stressful holiday season.