Stress Free Holidays: Surviving the Family

At this time of year, there is celebration, anticipation and STRESS!@X$!  As wonderful as it is to get together with loved ones, it can also be a very difficult time for many of us emotionally.  Here are some tips for taking care of yourself.

1. Advance Food Prep- Do as much as you can in advance and even consider

• making dinner a potluck

• ordering the turkey already cooked (many supermarkets like Publix will cook your whole meal)

• not cooking a turkey-having a brunch instead (less work)

• have the family do a service project instead of cooking

2.Alcohol dynamics. In many families, alcohol aggravates the family issues.  Drunks can get loud, critical, mean, demeaning and embarrassing. Think about:

• an alcohol-free meal; use festive hot cider and interesting hot drinks

• serving punch which is lightly spiked instead of offering beer, wine & hard liquor

• serving coffee drinks which have very little alcohol

3. Let go of expectations and protect yourself. Let’s face it  - if  your parents/siblings have not approved of you, your choices, your job etc until now, they are not going to change.  Accept it and let go of the expectation that they will be different.  Instead, protect yourself, focus on what you love about them, keep the conversations light and steer clear of family battles.  If your parent or sibling starts to criticize you, say “This is a holiday- I would appreciate it if you would be kind.  If you can’t be nice, please don’t say anything.”  Then walk away.

4. Before the family comes:

• get lots of sleep- at least 7 hours a night before they arrive

• hire a cleaning person if you can afford it

• take a hot bath with Epsom salts

• mentally shield yourself with a spiritual shield, prayer, protection or light.

• meditate, pray and move into gratitude for your blessings.

Don’t let your family bring you down.  Choose to be positive and loving regardless of their behavior.  And if they are really that dysfunctional, skip the holiday. Go away and be with people who appreciate you.

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