Family holidays offer unique opportunities. No one triggers us like our family. So how do you stay centered, and maintain your sense of humor? I once attended a family function with mascara on the tiny hairs of my “mustache.” My sister and I laughed ourselves silly. No one else noticed.
#1. While you do want to manage your expectations, you don’t want to go in expecting the worst. Anticipating that this year will be “as bad as last year” will not serve you. You probably know most of your triggers by now. When Uncle Frank starts telling off-color jokes, you know it’s time for you to step out for a breath of fresh air. I heard a woman joke once that in her family, “we’re not having fun if someone doesn’t go to jail.” Surely, this was an exaggeration; at least I hope it was. My point is, all families have their own level of crazy, it’s part of our humanity.
#2. Identify your trigger points ahead of time and plan accordingly. Plan ahead, schedule more downtime than usual. Get more sleep, and find some great comedies to watch with family, or by yourself.
#3. Keep spirits up by sticking to your regular health routine. If you don’t have one, choose something EASY, like gentle stretching to ground yourself and release tension.
#4. Create some manageable intentions around diet. Don’t be too hard on yourself, everyone overindulges to some degree, but keep it real. If you can’t resist having one of those adorable frosted pumpkin cookies, go ahead, but skip the wine.
#5. The key is staying aware of how you feel and what you need. Take short breaks and practice breathing and relaxing. Notice where you hold your tension; is it your jaw, shoulders, maybe your neck? Check in with yourself physically and emotionally.
It’s easy to become overwhelmed around family dynamics. Go for the sprint this year instead of the marathon. Spend 30 minutes “on” and 10 minutes away from the madding crowd. Set a vibrating alarm on your phone if necessary. Do a little stretching outdoors, or in the bathroom, to regroup.
This is your holiday, and you know what, even if those people, your family, are a tiny bit crazy, they love you in their way.
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