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How to Avoid the Family Feuds this Christmas

17/12/2012 04:12

“I think there must be something wrong with me. Christmas is coming, but I’m not happy. I don’t feel the way I’m supposed to feel.” – Charlie Brown – Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl

There can be a lot of social pressure at Christmas – pressure to make the day perfect, pressure to make sure everyone is happy, and pressure to hold your tongue… Surprisingly, stress, anxiety and depression are not uncommon during the festive season.

In particular, when it comes to anxiety caused by social pressure, single women feel pressured by their married siblings to ‘look after the parents’, and other people shared concerns over the stress of spending time with the in-laws around Christmas, and in contrast, teenagers feel “forced to be a part of it” as opposed to enjoying the season their way.

Everyone feels some kind of pressure and stress around Christmas time, but there are many things you can do to ease that pressure, and increase the chances of getting along smoothly:

  • Avoid known Triggers– If politics can become a touchy subject in your family, or you are likely to bite at something someone says, be aware of yourself. Learn what gets you going, and try to have the self-control to steer the topic gently away from anything that might become tense.
  • Use Relaxation Techniques– if you feel the tension beginning to rise, find a quiet room and take a minute to yourself to do some slow, deep breathing to cope with the anxiety and/or stress.

More importantly, look after YOU.

  • General health and wellbeing – with the stress of Christmas and having to deal with everything in such a short space of time, you might forget to look after number one. Try to make sure you’re eating enough, drinking enough, and not faffing over everybody else more than yourself.
  • Keep Moving – if you have a regular exercise routine, keep it up. Try not to let Christmas interfere with every aspect of your life. If it feels like it’s taking over everything this will only lead to more stress. It can also give you the psychological stamina and determination to get through this season.

In short, to name but a few, there are lots of things you can do to avoid arguments and tension during the festive time, so do not despair! Try to remember though, that if things DO go wrong, some people just don’t want to get on well together, and others will never change. There is enough social pressure around Christmas anyway, so just try to remember we can’t always please everyone. Try not to blame yourself or let it ruin this special time of year – relax and enjoy yourself!

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