How do you stay relaxed with your loved ones over Christmas? Add unsupportive or homophobic, transphobic, biphobic and interphobic parents, siblings and family and taking your partner with you for the holidays, and what do you get? The potential of losing it with your loved ones and attempting to get through the holiday season without a family fight.
Well, here’s your survival guide for Christmas, or any holiday period with your family.
1. Self-care. Look after yourself before, during and after your trip. Exercise, reading, writing, meditation, being social, massage. Whatever self-care looks like for you, do it. And listen, don’t stay sat in one place. Get some fresh air, move about and limit the alcohol.
2. Prepare yourself for any questions that tend to come up at family gatherings. The usual ones: partner, marriage, kids, job. Know how you will respond to these. By doing this you will boost your confidence and reduce the anxiety you may be feeling. Be clear with yourself about how much information you want to divulge. Do you really need to go into that much detail about your current dating situation or sex life with Uncle Bob for instance?
3. Stay away from topics of discussion that trigger disputes.
4. When you are triggered, acknowledge it, breathe into it and feel the emotion. Don’t react or respond in that moment. Simply be. You learn so much about yourself in these moments of vulnerability.
5. Be kind and extend compassion to everyone – more so in those moments where you feel triggered. Instead of reacting, be curious. Coming from a place of curiosity feels totally different from coming from a place of anger and frustration. Try it.
6. Stay present. Don’t let your mind wander into things that happened in the past or worrying about what the future may hold. Be here, now. Enjoy this moment.
7. If you feel it is getting too much, excuse yourself for 5-10 minutes. Offer to make a hot drink for everyone. Go to the bathroom. Stick your head out of the door and breathe in some fresh air. Offer to do an emergency run for more crisps or napkins. You can never have too many napkins, right?
Embrace these 7 simple principles and ideas and I guarantee a holiday period filled with love, light and laughter.