Hey, it’s me, Chris. So, here we are… I promised one more Christmas post, and as there is just a week to go until Santa climbs down the Chimney, I guess now is the time to write it!
Let’s talk families. Specifically families at Christmas..
I mean, we’ve probably all had one of ‘those’ stressful Christmases, where we’ve fallen out with a family member (or two…), and then spend the rest of the next December dreading seeing family over Christmas.
So, in this post, I want to talk about what to do, if you’re dreading spending time with your family this Christmas, and I will also give you my top 3 tips on how to handle the stress of it if you have to.
Families.. who’d have ’em eh? But the fact is, we do. And to be honest, let me start with a bit of sentimentality here – there are many lonely people out there who would give anything to have people to share the big day with, so if you DO have a family to spend time with this Christmas, then let’s start being being a little thankful for that….
Okay, lecture over… 😉
So … with one week to go until the big day is here, let me ask you a question: are you stressing out already about spending the time with your family? If you answer YES to this question, then let’s get that under control for you.
Christopher’s guide to a family Christmas:
1. Know that you can always say no, you know?
My first piece of advice is to know that you can always just say NO you know? If you really really cannot stand to be around someone, perhaps you just do not get on, or (sorry to dampen the tone here), perhaps there has been a history of abuse, arguments, violence or something else between you then make your excuses as to why you won’t be seeing your family this Christmas. YOUR happiness (and mental health) comes above family loyalty, so ….. just remember that.
2. Set a time limit.
If the thought of spending a whole week with your family scares you then set yourself a time limit. Tell them that you will be there for Christmas dinner.. you do not, I repeat, you do not have to stay the night. Set a block of time that feels comfortable for you. Know your limits.
3. Know how to escape – literally.
If during the time you are with your family, something happens and you just need to get the hell out of there, make sure that you have an escape plan. That could be, actually physically leaving (‘got to go, the cat is poorly), or, popping to the bathroom with your phone and headphones and doing a really fast meditation. If you have a family dog.. offer to go out and walk it.
4. Know how to escape – mentally.
If you really cannot escape to the bathroom, then know how to escape mentally. You don’t even have to close your eyes to do this:
Feel your feet planted firmly on the floor and visualise a room. It must be a room that appeals to you. Make it as warm as you need it to be and use your senses, and notice what it smells like in there and sounds like in there..
Will you have a chair that you can sink comfortably into? Will you have company? (Remember that this is in your own imagination so if you want to you can choose to spend your Christmas with John Lennon!).
Then, whenever things are really getting too much for you, head off to your fantasy room.
5. Resist the temptation to argue.
Life really is short. Please try not to argue. Know that one day, Christmas times like this will be a distant memory so try and see the good in things. In the grand scheme of things, it really is not worth it and the time spent with family is minimal.
If you really find it hard to control your temper then try this exercise:
Walk away, go to the bathroom, the garden, wherever and count backwards from 100. Promise to yourself that you will do this before retaliating. If you get to 0 and STILL want to say something by all means go and say it. But think it over before reacting.
Other tips include things such as: don’t drink too much if you are prone to arguments, take a book and get lost in it, and if all else fails, fall asleep on the sofa after that filling dinner..
No seriously, have a great Christmas, it’s been a pleasure to know you in 2018 and I look forward to 2019…