Six Ways to Deal With Family Stress During the Holidays

| December 4, 2012

dealing with stress for holidays The holidays bring together family and friends. This time of year also can put serious stress on relationships. Keep the following six strategies for coping with loved ones in mind this holiday season and be sure to arrive with gifts in hand. DexKnows listings can help you cross items off your holiday shopping 2012 list.

1. Take turns traveling

Whether driving or flying, travel can take a toll emotionally, physically and financially, especially for families with small children. Take turns each year, so that certain family members don’t feel as if they are always the ones spending the time and money getting to the family celebration. Feelings of resentment can easily come out at inappropriate times during holiday parties and gatherings.

2. Stay at a hotel

If you must travel, be grateful if the hosting family does not have room for everyone and you have to stay in a nearby hotel. A hotel room serves as a retreat when you need space and allows you to view the trip as a vacation, as well as a family obligation.

3. Think through expected issues

Every family has its issues and you likely know what they are. If you have yet to get married, or if you and your significant other have not started a family, think about how you have reacted to comments about your status in the past. Have the conversations become heated or have feelings been hurt? If so, then consider a new way to respond this year.

For example, if you know your grandmother will make note of your single status, tell her about how happy you are with your life and point out its many positives. You also can try scaring her with tales of how badly your last relationship ended and how much worse it could have been had you gotten married. If you find yourself simply stuck in a conversation, change the subject to the beautiful Christmas decorations.

4. Take a walk

If the above tactics do not work, you can always take a walk without insulting family members. Say you want to see the Christmas outdoor decorations and holiday lights in the neighborhood or point out that healthy holiday eating tips talk about such things as frequent walks to burn off the calories. Get outside, take a deep breath and clear your head of the holiday stress.

5. Limit your drinking

If the alcohol tends to flow freely at your family’s Christmas parties or gatherings, limit your intake to avoid reacting to family stress. Staying sober also helps get you back to your home or hotel room safely. If you are hosting this year, serve holiday cocktails that allow you to control the alcoholic content. Premake eggnog and other cocktails to avoid guests making their own drinks with a generous pour.

6. Know that the holidays always come to an end

After everyone eats, open gifts and plays Christmas games, know that you get to go home or have your house to yourself once again. Keeping this in mind helps you power through the family stress during the holidays.

Bonus strategy: Book a trip to the spa or your therapist’s couch for as soon as possible after the holidays. If you don’t yet have either, DexKnows listings can help you with that task.

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Category: Holiday Entertaining

About the Author ()

Pamela Mitchell spent more than 15 years at daily newspapers such as the Hartford Courant and Houston Chronicle before becoming a full-time freelancer. She now writes about a variety of topics, from dining and entertainment to pets and travel.