By Kelly Graham, MSW, RSW
While many of us love our family, sometimes spending a lot of time with them during the holidays can be stressful. Not only do you have the stress of trying to cook, clean, decorate, buy presents, etc., but then you have to try to be happy and cheerful and interact with your family. Don’t feel guilty; it happens to the best of us. We are already stressed with everything extra the holidays throw at us, but then we have to try and hide the stress and make sure everyone is having a good time. It’s enough to drive anyone crazy.
During the holidays you have the pressure to buy the perfect gift, cook the perfect meal, have the best decorations, and you have the stress of having to afford it all. We have the pressure of trying to follow tradition and make every holiday as good as, or better than the last. We just have to accept that fact that we can’t make the turkey exactly the way grandma did; and that’s ok. This also all happens during cold and flu season, so many of us are functioning at less than 100% because we are sick or trying to fight it off.
If you don’t spend a lot of time with your family, or certain members, the holidays are a time when you are all forced to come together and celebrate. Not that it’s necessarily a bad thing, but there may be a certain reason you don’t see them that often. They could be a toxic influence in your life, there may be unresolved problems between you two, or you just don’t seem to get along. While every family is unique, there are many times when there is family drama happening. The holidays are either a great place for this drama to come out or where everyone tries to ignore it and put on a happy face. Either one can be stressful. Even if there’s not drama, having that one relative that keeps asking when you’re going to get married, or have babies, or get a real job can be annoying and stressful.
Here are some things you can do to make it easier for yourself:
While the stress can consume you during the holidays, try and find a way that you can still enjoy them. Watch your favourite holiday movie, or eat that food you’ve been waiting a whole year to eat again, anything that makes you happy during the holidays. This can be a stressful time for everybody, but try and focus on the positive things that happen during them. This way you can still enjoy the holidays and not let the stress ruin them for you.
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