Making Space For Family

Making Space For Family

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While the holiday season brings a lot of joy, excitement and fun, the holidays can also be a difficult time for many of us.  

Some of us have to deal with the stress of opposing opinions, beliefs, and practices of family members; others don’t have a family to turn to during this season; and still others are unable to see their family this time of year due to distance, illness, or age.  Keeping these kinds of stressors and challenges in mind can be helpful when planning your holiday events both professionally and personally.  It is important, though, that we reach out to our community and family members if we need to or are needed and are able – regardless of how you are related (by blood or friendship) – as we all deal with holiday stress differently. 

Cleveland Clinic discusses the importance of reaching out virtually, or physically if possible, to our elderly family members. Many elderly family members no longer live at home and tend to be the loneliest during this season; they are not always physically able to be at the holiday celebration for a variety of reasons (distance, travel challenges, Covid restrictions, etc.) and are often the members of our family and community with some of the greatest familiarity with grief. This can make the holidays an especially trying time for them. This is why it is always important to remember to reach out to those who may seem a little more disconnected, down, or lost this time of year. 

As many of us are celebrating the holidays joyfully, some of us are also trying to ignore the relative that is on the opposite side of the political debate, is just plain rude, mean or thoughtless, or just has a comment for each dish served and every comment made.  The year has already been stressful; so how do you handle that? 

Headspace mentions the importance of understanding that family drama is inevitable, but it is okay to take a small break from a family member that just seems to drive you up a wall each time you get together. VeryWell Mind and PsychCentral discuss the importance of not only “dealing” with a difficult family member, but also reminding yourself about what you appreciate about that family member – maybe you like their humor or the way they tell stories. 

Both US News and Psychology Today discuss the importance of accepting your relatives for who they are. Accepting someone for the way that they are can take a large load of stress off of you, as you can accept that there is no changing them.  As you might have been told when you were younger, “you are not the boss of them”, but you are the boss of you and all of your carefully cultivated and well earned self-management, self-care, and communication skills.

We hope you have a wonderful holiday season this year, regardless of the difficult relatives you may need to see this winter.

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