The holidays are right around the corner, and for the next month or so, it’s likely your new motto will be “go, go, go.” The holidays can bring all kinds of cheer: great food, fun traditions, and a little break from the norm. But they can also be an added source of stress.
The pressure of preparing meals, going to events, spending all kinds of money, and being pressed for time can all hinder your enjoyment of the Thanksgiving to Christmas whirlwind. But there are ways you can limit (or eliminate) stress and boost your happiness during the holidays.
One of the biggest stressors you might encounter this season is having to spend time with those you love, but just don’t seem to get along with. It could be your in-laws or energetic little cousin or somebody else who makes you uncomfortable. You love your family, but with the busy season and being in close quarters, you may just find it all to be a little too much.
While you may bump heads with loved ones during this stressful time, this shouldn’t ruin your season or hamper your holidays. Instead, follow these tips for limiting stress and boosting happiness this holiday season.
1. Minimize Interactions That Are Stressful or Negative
If you’re in a big family and there are a lot of people there, simply limit the time you spend with those people who may just stress you out or get you feeling down. You don’t have to avoid them completely; just say “hi” and wish them well, then go congregate with the people with which you enjoy spending time. There is no rule saying you have to be around people you don’t like over the holidays—just because you’re under the same roof that doesn’t mean you have to get close.
2. Have an “Escape Plan” for Avoiding Stressful Interactions
You can also tell someone—preferably someone close to you, like your partner or sibling—that you’re looking to stay positive during the holiday celebrations by avoiding negative conversations with that certain someone. They can keep an eye out for you, and come to your rescue to diffuse any stress if they see you cornered. You can also easily excuse yourself if the conversation goes down a road you wanted to avoid. You can be direct by simply stating that it’s a topic you’d like to avoid if the conversation is turning tense, or you can have an alternative excuse, like you need to check on something in the oven or you may have forgotten to bring a present and need to check to see for sure.
3. Avoid Creating Tension at the Dinner Table
If something happens and you find yourself in an inescapable position, like at the dinner table, focus on what you can control and act accordingly. You can’t control what this person says and does, so don’t stress about it. If they try to bait you into an argument or take the conversation down a rocky road, realize what they might be attempting to do and steer clear of it. By the same point, avoid bringing up any issues that might rev them up. Choose your words wisely and don’t stress over what you can’t control. Before you know it, dinner will be over and you can relax and enjoy yourself.
Limit holiday stressors by focusing on what you can control. Purposely expose yourself to positive interactions and environments. Don’t let others determine the quality of your season by letting them ruin your time. Prepare yourself, act accordingly, and enjoy these important moments with your family!