Friday, June 14, 2024
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Maintaining Your Peace with Family During The Holidays

It’s about to go down! Yes!! It’s Christmas time, y’all! If you’re like me, the thought of helping myself to all my favorite holiday foods and spending time with family and friends is enough to make me do a little shimmy……LOL! However, for some,  spending time with family during the holidays can be very stressful because of past unresolved hurts and other relational issues. 

We love our families, but let’s be honest; we all have some dysfunction within our family circle. While it is true that some handle the dysfunction better than others during family gatherings, there are others who have a hard time maintaining their peace in those situations.  You don’t have to feel dread and anxiety about being around family. Let’s help ourselves this holiday season.  

You may have to make some difficult choices this season and find new ways of doing things to create peace for yourself. How does one maintain peace during these times? Here are a few tips to help you:  

  1. Be grateful – It is said that gratitude brings peace, even during one’s ups and downs. What things are you thankful for?  
  2. Pray – I’m a firm believer in the power of prayer and if you are too, pray for your peace and a  peaceful gathering.  
  3. Talk – If the timing is right and you feel the individual(s) may be open to reconciliation, you may want to consider having a conversation in hopes of resolving the issue, if that’s possible.  However, don’t force it.  
  4. Establish distance/boundaries – If you’re unable to avoid the gathering, keeping a little distance may be a solution. Instead of staying at the family home, you may decide to stay at a hotel.  Also, during the gathering, if there’s enough space in the home, you may want to establish a  boundary where you’re in another part of the house. Be cordial if contact is made with the individual(s) but maintain the boundary.  
  5. Other “Family” – Perhaps another option is not trying to force the problematic relationship this year. Consider your emotional and/or physical safety. Who says we must spend the holidays with family? Besides, the word family has a much broader definition. One therapist said that blood is not more important than your peace. In my opinion, that is very true. One of the most important things is building solid relationships. That could be with your trusted friends,  co-workers, long-time neighbors, a parent figure, church members, etc.  
  6. Take a trip – How about that trip you’ve always wanted to take? Well, now might be a good time. Explore the idea of taking a road trip or a quick flight out. Pack a bag and grab your close friend, who may be able to travel with you and enjoy the experience of seeing someplace new.  If there’s not anyone to travel with you, there’s always solo traveling. I travel solo often, and you’d be surprised at how much fun you’ll have. During your travels, if you wish to still say hello to your family, you can always set up a virtual visit or call, but don’t feel pressured if it’s going to make you uncomfortable.  
  7. Laugh – Last but certainly not least, find a reason to laugh. Laughter is good for the soul. It relieves stress and will hopefully lighten those awkward or tension-filled moments that may arise should you decide to go to the family gathering.  

The goal here is to enjoy yourselves during this holiday season. Try to keep it as light as possible and have fun with your family. Wishing everyone a Happy Holidays! Peace! Peace!

Janet Downs| Janet Downs is an instructor with over 20 years of experience, having worked with Fortune 500 companies and non-profit organizations. She volunteers and is a resource for the homeless community and is working towards starting her own non-profit. She’s passionate about mental health and seeks to bring more awareness to the black community. She is active in church ministry, a writer, and loves music, hiking, and travel.

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