November 2011

November 2011

With the Holiday’s coming up there can be some Family Issues.

The holidays present many opportunities to bond with family, but this time of year can also present significant stress, particularly when family conflict arises. Some conflict can come from having to decide which relatives to see—if any.

Take Turns with Relatives. If you and your spouse both want to celebrate with your families of origin, if you’re dealing with a divorce situation where not everybody wants to celebrate together or if you just have a lot of family, it can be stressful deciding who to see, and when. Taking turns is an easy solution. If you see one group in November, see the other in December, or alternate years. Then you can eventually see everybody.

Be Prepared For Some Conflict. If you usually have conflict when you get together with your family, it’s a good idea to be prepared for it. I’m not suggesting that you go looking for trouble, but rather, approach the situation with a sense of realism. If your mother always criticizes your appearance or your brother always makes rude jokes, don’t expect them to change their habits; just have a sense of humor about it and remind yourself what you love about them.

Just Say No. If seeing family causes you great amounts of stress each year, it’s OK to say no sometimes. Celebrating with just your partner or kids can be a wonderful alternative to seeing people who make you feel consistently stressed.

Surround Yourself with Friends. Many a happy holiday has been formed by groups of people who have decided to celebrate with friends instead of family. Whether you’re unable to travel (or have family who is), or for some other reason find yourself without kin, celebrating with other people you know who are also without family for the day can be a great way to bond with friends and enjoy the spirit of the season.

Keep It Simple Don’t get caught up in all the materialistic aspects of the holidays. I used to start my Christmas shopping before Thanksgiving and wouldn’t get finished until Christmas Eve. This year, I’m already done. I kept it simple. I asked what my family wanted. If they said nothing, they get a gift card. I’m not forced to go store to store and up and down every aisle in search of something. I get home quicker. I’m less stressed. I get to spend more time with my family—which is what the holidays are all about anyway.