Family & The Holidays

1 min read

Family time can be really difficult during the holidays. During the holiday season, we can experience reminders of those we have lost, unpleasant memories with those we are spending time with, and be exposed to behaviors that cross boundaries. This time of year can end up being more stressful than enjoyable. As anxiety and anticipation can increase with the upcoming holiday events, you may ask yourself, how do I make it through this holiday season?

Here are some things to consider and ways to cope with triggers and problematic relationship patterns this holiday season.

Do I Need to Spend Time with my Family this Holiday Season?

Sometimes, behaviors and patterns are so toxic there isn’t an easy way to protect yourself unless you avoid exposure to them. In some situations, it is important to give yourself permission to step back and focus on yourself and your well-being. This might look like not attending a family get together or limiting the time you spend with family.

How do I Manage my Emotions and Reactions when Feeling Triggered?

Consider how you normally react to behaviors in your family. What would it look like if you did something different? This may feel unfamiliar, but by doing something different, you can shift the expectations and responsibility in the relationship. Often, we take on managing the emotional reactivity of other people at the expense of ourselves. This may be a good time to try something new. The emotions that come up when we feel triggered are unavoidable but we can practice different ways of responding.

How Do I Handle my Family's Response to a Change in How I Function at the Holidays?

This is a season of giving, yes. However, it is important to honor the capacity that you can take on. Sharing responsibilities doesn’t mean you don’t care or love your family, it is a way to set healthy boundaries within your family so that you can enjoy the holidays and allow everyone the opportunity to contribute to the happiness of the season. Adjusting these expectations can, in a healthy way, shift responsibilites moving forward so that you are not always in the role of taking care of everything.

About Madi Elliot

Madi enjoys working with couples and relational clients to enact change in a system to improve its functioning and satisfaction in the relationship. She is passionate about creating a safe space for individuals and couples to reflect, grow, and feel empowered to enact change to achieve their goals.

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