This post is the second in a three-part series offered to support parents with the most common stressors we’re hearing as we enter the 2023 holiday season. You can access the other posts in this series here: 10 Ways to Save Money on Gifts This Holiday Season and How to Avoid Overcommitting and Actually Enjoy the Season.
The holiday season is quite possibly the most opportune time for gathering together with friends and family. But, let’s be honest. Family get-togethers don’t create an abundance of excitement for everyone. For many, the thought of holiday gatherings fill them with anxiety and trepidation, rather than comfort and joy.
As a life coach for moms, I hear of these types of challenges from friends and clients alike. Family dynamics are nuanced for each of us and gathering with our family members can fill many people with dread. Differing personalities, viewpoints, and lifestyles are just some of the reasons many would rather NOT go home for the holidays. And while foregoing the event(s) altogether is an option, most would prefer to suck it up and deal with the existing challenges as opposed to risking the dynamics deteriorating even further.
For those who need some support to get through the holiday season with family with as little stress as possible, here are the two key strategies I recommend.
Both as a host and a guest, we feel most comfortable when we are either in control or at least know what to expect. And if there’s a history of family tension during the holidays, then you’re likely expecting this holiday to be no different. So make a plan of things you can rely on to help you guide the event or at least respond if/when things go sideways.
Here are a few examples:
When the family dynamics aren’t new and you know the pitfalls to expect, you’re better prepared to know how you might be triggered and to identify boundaries in advance. All too often, boundaries are considered a method for telling others how to behave. And while it would be desirable to direct the actions of others, especially to prevent emotional harm, we’re all human and can only control ourselves. To that end, boundaries are rules for how we will engage with others and how we will respond to their actions/behaviors.
Consider these boundary examples:
Time with family during the holidays can be merry, stressful, and complicated. Take the examples above and modify them as necessary to meet your unique needs this holiday season. Perhaps with the right tools in your toolbox, you’ll find you can engage with family this holiday season and enjoy yourself more than you thought.
The Ultimate Holiday Guide: 2023 Edition is a free resource offering you some simple ideas to stress less this season. Inside you’ll find a gift-giving tracker, coupon templates, activities to keep the kiddos entertained, meal/party planning ideas, and even some tips to tend to your own well-being this season. It’s our gift to you! And if you’d prefer personalized support this holiday season, consider booking a complimentary 1:1 coaching consultation here to learn how coaching can help!
Nessle has a podcast where we talk all things parenting with our experts, bringing useful insights into how you can find your parenting mojo.