If you’re planning on being around family members this holiday season, you may already be stressing. Sure, family gatherings in movies or on TV are nothing but love and light, but we know that this isn’t always the case in real-life. If you know you’ll be partaking in some sort of family get-together during the upcoming holiday season and you’re already mentally preparing for the side-eye glances and snarky comments, we’ve come up with a few tips to keep you from ya know, expecting too much, because why would you do that? Let’s get started.
Lose all hope.
Okay, sure, this sounds dramatic, but let’s get real. Of course, you would love to show up to your family gathering and have family members compliment your outfit rather than tear it shreds verbally, but if it’s something that happens year after year, expect it. If you try to alter your thinking, you’ve set the bar too high and you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. Now, we aren’t saying this to sound negative, we’re just being real. And hey, if you show up and your family members are actually giving you compliments and being supportive, then that’s a win for you!
Do something relaxing.
The day of your family gathering, make time for yourself. Maybe this looks like waking up bright and early and squeezing in some yoga, or enjoying a good book and mug of hot tea on the front porch, or maybe stopping by your favorite coffee shop that morning. Whatever will relax you and make you feel good, set aside some time for exactly that.
We cannot stress the importance of setting boundaries with family members that you simply don’t get along with. Setting boundaries can look like a lot of different things such as setting a time limit on how long you’re staying or even a friend making that notorious emergency phone call to get you out earlier. However you need to set boundaries, don’t shy away from doing so.
Focus on what you can control: your reaction.
Picture it: you’ve made it halfway through dinner and up until now things have actually been going pretty smoothly, then it happens. Your aunt pops off with one of her comments about a diet, clearly directed toward you. Sure, you could start throwing mashed potatoes around, but is she worth it? We hate to see mashed potatoes go to waste, so no, of course not. You are in control of your reaction and we suggest shutting it down by simply saying: “we don’t need to discuss that right now” or some variation of that and move on. Plus you get the satisfaction of seeing THAT look on her face after you’ve taken the high road.
Plan a happy little break.
Even if you’re only going to be with your family for a short time, it doesn’t hurt to plan your escape route for a quick break. This could look like stepping outside to read a chapter of your book or even just scroll TikTok. There are no rules to how you achieve this. In fact, a lot of us are probably expert car break takers.
Remember it’s temporary.
Family gatherings during the holidays can be a drag, but just remember that it’s only for a short period of time then you’ll get to return back to normal life. You are strong. You can and will survive this.