The Family Holiday Survival Guide
Holidays are here, it’s time for the Holiday Survival guide! You love your family. They’re great, but sometimes too much togetherness can make us tap into our inner Scrooge. There are family dinners, traditions to respect, perhaps complicated relationships and all around this holiday cheer. The season is stressful enough as it is with the presents and traffic and malls. So, how do we cope?
There is power in possessing an “attitude of gratitude.” How do fewer aches/pains and a stronger immune system sound? People who practice gratitude regularly experience more joy and are optimistic, not to mention they experience lower blood pressure (which particularly comes in handy when spending time with family). Gratitude makes us realize there is good in the world even while dealing with concerns and problems. So when you’re feeling strained, quickly count five things for which you are grateful—bonus points if your list includes being thankful that you get to spend the holidays with your family. Your mood will be instantly lifted.
Keep the alcohol intake to a minimum.
Maybe a no-brainer but worth a reminder: Imbibing in spirits means inhibitions are lowered, and conversations among relatives tend to get spirited as well, leading to hostility and heated debates. Keep yourself in check and stay in control (and filtered) by limiting your alcohol—and therefore, arguments.
A comfortable, calm mind allows one to have a better handle on taxing or anxiety-ridden situations that occur. “…at the end of the day, it is much more effective to learn to manage our mind with meditation,” says Dr. Venkat Srinivasan. Meaning: You can’t control what everyone else does or how they act, but you can manage your own behavior, how you respond to a stressful situation and how (if) you let it affect you.
Don’t drum up conversational topics that you know will entice drama (politics comes to mind).
Stick to basic subject matters—you know, the weather and what you ate for breakfast.
Take some time for “me time.” When things get complicated, we turn again and again to these 10-minute exercises from Tournesol. Or treat yourself to a soothing massage before your big family gathering. And if you want to skip the family drama entirely this holiday season, here’s another foolproof solution: Just stay home.