If you were to choose your top three goals for this year, would any of the three be about relationships with family members, or your role in your family?
Many times these relationships have a huge but largely ignored impact on us. We “forget” the discomfort of certain long-running family frictions or frustrations for most of the year because we’re so busy working on reaching goals in other parts of our lives, like career, money and friendships. But as soon as the holidays approach, those frictions and frustrations come front and center once again!
Well, having a perfect family holiday is actually quite simple, not matter what family you have or how they behave. Yes, it’s true! Note that I didn’t say “easy” – I said “simple.” That’s not to be misleading, it’s just to acknowledge that it’s totally do-able but will take some awareness and intentionality on your part!
But here’s how to do it, in 3 simple steps:
- Take three slow, deep breaths and FOCUS on a desired outcome for your holiday gatherings, making sure to state is as something positive that you want, NOT what you don’t want. For example, it could be, “Remember that my sister’s judgmental comments about my life are really all about HER thoughts. feelings, beliefs, etc., and NOT about ME – so I can remain neutral and compassionate no matter what she says.”
- Watch “Caregivers Holiday Sanity” video by clicking HERE. Discover two little ideas that can have a huge impact on how you deal with family this holiday season.
- Practice stating your desired outcome(s) and the supporting declarations in your head BEFORE your family gatherings as well as while they are in progress. Remember that it takes PRACTICE, PATIENCE and PERSEVERANCE to turn a new behavior into a habit that will happen automatically.
Remind yourself that you get to define who you are, and it doesn’t matter if anyone else agrees with you or not! Know that if you have an internal reaction to something that happens, that’s ok. As long as you remember to care for yourself, by returning your thoughts to your desired outcomes and the supporting declarations each time, you are creating your own experience of your holiday. It’s one over which you have full control, and one that supports and celebrates who you are, no matter what anyone else says or does!
What could be more perfect than that?
As a therapist, my goal is to help you Prevent the Holiday Blues. As a family caregiver, I have experienced the struggles and have felt the overwhelm. So, I’ve created a video that gives you a few ideas for re-thinking your attitudes and finding new ways to respond to all the holiday challenges that can arise.
Take a few minutes for yourself to see that support does exist!
…and we breathe….