photo of a family gathered around a dinner table with food on their plates

Frustrated By Family During The Holidays? How To Not Lose Your Mind

Holiday traditions can be such a source of joy. From music to gifts to food and beyond, these annual rituals preserve a sense of connectedness within a family. Unfortunately, eggnog and carols are not the only things that travel from year to year. Complicated family drama and dynamics can turn any gathering into an emotional fiasco.

Of course, we cannot control the behavior of others. Hence, as long as we partake in the holiday festivities, the onus falls on us to not turn losing our minds into a new yearly tradition. But how can we celebrate without risking an all-out family feud?

Self-Care is Fully Under Your Control

Even if you love this time of year, the holidays are exhausting. If you’re like 99.9 percent of humans and you have some frustrating family members, the holidays become draining. Thus, a logical step is to ramp up your self-care. Take care of yourself, build your resilience, and give yourself the love that some relatives can’t offer.

Truth be told, you really should be practicing self-care all year long. But, if you haven’t yet made the commitment, the holiday season is an ideal time to start. It’s the ideal antidote to overindulgence. Whether it’s rich foods, alcoholic drinks, or not getting enough sleep, such behavior will only make it harder to navigate family drama.

Self-Care Basics:

  • Healthy eating choices
  • Daily exercise and physical activity
  • Regular sleep patterns
  • Relaxation techniques
  • Social time with trusted friends and family members

photo of a family gathered around a dinner table with food on their platesHow Else To Not Lose Your Mind With Family During The Holidays

Acknowledge and Accept

If you have family members you don’t like, accept it. Trying to rationalize your emotions and/or waiting for the other person to change will not change reality. You can’t fix them and trying to do so will only exacerbate the situation.

Set Boundaries

You have every right to let others know if there are conversation topics you will not indulge in. If your boundaries are not honored, you’re under no obligation to endure this kind of treatment. Feel free to remove yourself from the discussion. Take a walk if you need or, or if things have truly escalated, you have every right to call it a night.

Ask For Help

Almost certainly, you’re not the only one cringing when a particular relative enters the room. Connect with those who understand and commit together to have each other’s back. Even better, focus your time and energy on those who display mature social skills.

Guard Your Self-Worth

It’s important to maintain civility whenever someone politely disagrees with you. But if you find yourself subjected to abusive behavior, don’t respond in kind. Don’t take this toxicity personally. This kind of family member is probably seeking a reaction. Avoid sinking to their level. You can feel better for a few minutes by attacking back but you’ll regret it later.

Break With Tradition

If the holiday season inspires dread, it may be a clear sign that big changes are needed. Sure, some folks will dig in their heels but who needs more of the same in-fighting. Take the initiative to host a holiday event, control the guest list, and try new things to switch the vibe from contentious to joyous.

When Your Family is More Than You Can Handle

Family conflict can be overwhelming — certainly enough to drain us of holiday spirit. If this is the case for you, there is no reason to grin and bear it. Reach out to speak with us about anxiety therapy. The holidays can be a tough time of year and you deserve to get the help you need. Let’s connect soon.

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