How to Avoid Family Frustration This Christmas
Are you up for some family frustration this Christmas? Or is it a silly question? Maybe so. But consider this…
A melting pot of family members with grumpy, miserable, cynical, impatient and hard to please personalities is sharing the same space.
Seated around the Christmas table is a mixture of young and old. Your mum cooked up a Christmas feast. She invited family who hasn’t seen or spoken to each other for months. Or even throughout the year. Most of them have nothing in common. They all have strong personalities. Surely, that’s a recipe for frustration.
On top of that, there is an endless flow of alcohol.
You travelled for miles to enjoy turkey and all the trimmings. You’ve been looking forward to Christmas for ages. But instead of smiling and pulling crackers over the stuffed turkey, you feel your stress levels rising.
Your cynical auntie grabs a seat next to yours. She’s ready to probe deep, into your life. The little kids (nieces and nephews) are screaming and throwing brussel sprouts across the table. Your uncle is upset with you because you didn’t greet him properly. Your head is banging because of the loud chatting.
How do you stay calm when chaos and frustration are all around you?
Well, these tips are going to help you have fun and enjoy friendly Christmas kisses with your family under the mistletoe.
- Take a deep breath
The first thing to realise is you can’t control other people. However, you can control, the way you react towards them. Therefore, before you open your mouth to respond to criticism or anger, take a deep breath. Relax.
- Treat others the way you would want them to treat you
For a moment, swap places with the aunt who always winds you up with her endless criticism. Imagine you are your aunt. Why is she cynical? Maybe she’s not happy but pretends that all is well. Or she’s irritated for other reasons only known to her. People sometimes lash out because they’re carrying around anger. Or painful baggage from the past.
- Lighten the mood
Before you react, think about how you’ll both feel afterwards. Will your response add fuel to your frustration or lighten the mood? If you answer back aggressively an argument is likely to start. Two negatives can never make a positive.
- Give her a hug
Instead of challenging her offensive comments, be level-headed. You can’t change her. But you can show her love. Give her a hug instead of an angry face. That’s probably what she needs to make her feel happy.
- Empathise with families who frustrate you
You can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family. Try to understand why they are frustrated or miserable. Also, bring some Christmas crackers and silly jokes to lighten the mood.
- Don’t be bitchy
Why is your cousin so bitchy? She argues with everyone around the table. Is it because she’s single and lonely? Then again, maybe, she’s got other issues going on in her life that nobody knows about. Take time out. Speak to her. Be nice to her.
- Oh boy, the brother-in-law
Then there’s your brother-in-law. He sits there criticising the food. The turkey is too dry. The gravy is too runny. The music is getting on his nerves. And his wife, your sister, sits next to him looking fed up. Perhaps they argued before they left home. Instead of judging, have compassion for them. It will cut the stress.
- Get some apps to help boost your well-being
Wouldn’t it be great if you could cope with your family and all the frustration they bring this Christmas? The good news is, you can.
- Take control of your stress levels
Prepare yourself beforehand to make it easier to handle tension, anger and criticism. Work on developing your mood and applying a few well-being techniques. And instead of stress taking control of you, you’ll change the atmosphere with a smile on your face. And calmness in your voice.
- Manage your well-being
Get ready for some fun with family this Christmas. Play some games. Download one or two apps on your iPhone or Android and manage your well-being.
11. Five Ways to Wellbeing: This app shows you practical ways to improve your well-being. Plus, boost the way you feel about yourself. It helps you improve different parts of your life and tracks your progress.
12. Mood Panda: This online app tracks your mood and shows you your emotional state. It comes with a mobile mood diary or mood journal. And it displays a graph of your moods daily, monthly and yearly. If you want your friends to know how you’re feeling, you can tweet your mood updates.
13. Happier: Wouldn’t you like to feel happy every day? Your happiness rubs off on people around you. This unique app is about sharing photos of things that make you feel good. It helps you focus on positive things. It could be something as simple as watching a butterfly dancing on a flower petal.
14. Season of goodwill
Make this Christmas an extra special one. Relax, have fun and share the love. Treasure your family and friends because you don’t know who will be here next Christmas. Life is unpredictable. Don’t let stress dictate how you spend this season of goodwill.
Over to you…
Have you had to deal with family frustrations over Christmas? What did you do to bring peace?