Do the holidays create stress for you?
During this time of the year, numerous and diverse ethnic and religions communities celebrate their own special holidays. For many of these groups, the holidays are a celebration to be shared with family and friends.
Often there are special traditions that some families practice that have been handed down through several generations. Religions have particular traditions and ceremonies that are associated with their respective holidays that go back thousands of years. These gatherings can bring joy and fun as well as tension and conflict with loved ones and friends. The holiday of Thanksgiving is a celebration of gratitude and appreciation for the gifts we have received throughout the year. However, it is during this holiday and the holidays to come that resentments and fights are way to common because of unhealthy relationships and boundaries.
Some tips and techniques that may help to avoid resentments and reduce relational conflicts:
1 — Avoid Divisive Conversations
Everyone has their our own individual quirks and habits that may upset other people. There are some family members and friends that seem to always have an answer and solution to every problem and for all of the social ills of society. When these discussions about social issues inevitably arise during gatherings, this person is quick to tell everyone how to handle and fix all the problems in the world. When these discussions are occurring, this is a great opportunity to practice a healthy containment boundary. A good containment boundary is when we do not engage in these conversations and remove ourselves from such settings. There is a saying in 12 step meetings, “Live and let live,” which simply means, let the other individual live their life and you live your life and do not try to change the other person. When we live and let live, it’s much easier to avoid conflict and maintain our serenity during the holidays.
2 — Give Yourself Permission To Limit Your Availability
There are some holiday celebrations we do not want to attend, however we are obligated to be there for family or business reasons. When someone is new in sobriety or recovery, it is suggested that individuals arrive at the party or celebration late and leave early, which minimizes their exposure to drinking and helps the person with avoiding picking up the “first drink.” This technique is useful to everyone either in recovery or not. By arriving a little later at a party and leaving a little earlier, individuals can lessen their feelings of being uncomfortable with situations and individuals that we would rather avoid.
3 — Respect Your Personal Boundary
It is not necessary to attend every gathering and party. When we try to make every event or gathering, we can easily become overwhelmed and stressed which may lead to irritation and conflict. It is ok, to say no. I call this a good protective boundary. “No” is an answer that allows us to establish a healthy and protective boundary as well as maintain good self care.
4 — Avoid Drinking In Excess
During this time of holiday celebrations, alcohol is common and can be an enjoyable part of the celebration. When people drink to excess their inhibitions are lowered and this is when inappropriate comments or behaviors occur and impact relationships and the celebration atmosphere. Less is always better when drinking alcohol and this helps to reduce the risk that we may harm relationships or cause even more harm to ourselves physically and emotionally.
As the holiday season continues, I will write about good self care and nurturing our relationships. I will also write a blog on this time of the year is not always a time of celebration and joy for everyone. Many individuals are alone and burdened with problems that prevent them from celebrating and enjoying the season. I will provide some suggestions and ideas that may help to lessen the pain for these individuals.