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How to Cope With Family Members Over the Holidays

The holidays are usually a joyous time of year when you get to catch up with family and celebrate. But it’s not always so merry when spending time with your loved ones — especially when there are tension and conflict between individual members of your family. It can be a tough situation to handle when you’re playing host or merely trying to make things go off without a hitch.

To help you cope with family members over the holidays and come out the other side in one piece, here are some tips to get through your upcoming get together, conflict-free.

How to Be Civil

When seeing family members who you’d rather avoid, simply say hello and speak kindly when spoken to. It may feel a little awkward, but attempt to be gracious and pleasant to just get through the evening in a civil manner. This will help maintain a positive mood during the gathering for everyone involved. And if one thing’s for certain, alcohol should be avoided when engaging in awkward family gatherings. Too much alcohol can exacerbate emotions and conflict, so it’s best to stay sober (or at least exercise moderation) to avoid deepening any issues.

How to Keep a Safe Distance

It’s highly unlikely that you will solve any of your problems during the holiday gathering. And if you can’t let bygones be bygones and place grudges aside, it will only cause stress and anxiety for the entire family. So it’s best to keep at a distance from the people who cause you discomfort and stick to those who make you feel welcome. Even if you get stuck in a group conversation with someone you have a negative relationship with or another family member tries to interfere, kindly excuse yourself to the bathroom or another room to avoid any uncomfortable situations.

How to Move Beyond

Did you know that forgiving others and putting burdens in the past can have tremendous benefits for your well-being? It can reduce stress, anxiety, lower blood pressure, and improve your own happiness. Forgiveness doesn’t mean that what happened in the past is okay or justified — choosing to forgive is a making conscious decision to move beyond the past and continue on with life.

If you can let go of the bitterness and resentment, you can gain more peace in your life. Even if the other person refuses to bury it, you will at least feel better and able to move on.

Reach Out

The holidays can be a difficult time when you face conflict with family members. If you are struggling to cope, professional support may be helpful. At the Vaughan Relationship Centre, we can provide you with strategies to better cope and build positive relationships with others. Contact us today to learn more about what we offer and how we can help you manage through holiday season this year.  

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