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Dreading Christmas with the Family? Here are 3 Strategies to Help You Cope

Whilst there is a general theme of happiness and excitement at this time of year, the thought of spending yet another Christmas playing “happy families” with your spouse and extended family may fill you with dread. 

Having to make that journey to the in-laws (or as one of my clients used to say - the “out-laws”) and yet again being told that you’re not good enough for their son (even though you have passed 40 and have been married for years!). Being asked for the umpteenth time when you're going to have a baby. Being told "we never did that in our day" and so on and so on, yakety yak and all that jazz, can escalate into a full blown disagreement. 

The mere anticipation of it all is probably causing negative thoughts to fly around in your head, building momentum before you even get there! You’re probably be feeling more prickly than all the leaves on a holly bush put together!

Allow yourself time to breathe.

During the hectic run up to Christmas, you may be much busier than usual and feeling overwhelmed, especially if you are having to deal with divided loyalties and family disharmony. 

Ensure you don’t miss out on time for you. This will help you feel grounded and more at peace with yourself. 

Make time each day to take a break - do a 15 minutes meditation/yoga routine, find a peaceful spot to have coffee without your phone! Take a brisk walk. Let all thoughts of Christmas go and be present in the moment. 

Work through your meditation/yoga and concentrate on your breathing and posture, letting all other thoughts fly away, like butterflies up, up into a blue, cloudless sky.  If you don't usually meditate, try using the Love and Peace Technique below.

Savour the richness of the coffee, enjoy the feel of the mug in your hand, smell the lovely aroma. 

Hear the sounds as you walk - if you’re in the park, listen out for different birds, robins with their waterfall song, the sparrows chattering, the croak of a jay. See the beautiful colours of the leaves as you swish through them. If you’re walking through town, look up - admire the buildings, the architecture.

Whatever you decide to do, be in the moment and enjoy every minute of your time for you. 

Get out of the house

If you find you are struggling with relationship friction, get yourself out of the house for a while. 

Go to the gym and do your favourite workout.  

Book yourself in for a massage.  30 minutes is all it takes and is a great step for you to feel at peace with yourself. 

Walk in nature. The park, the woods or over the fields. Exercise and fresh air are proven stress relievers. 

Take your spouse with you! It doesn’t always help of course, but more often than not, if you get out of the environment which is making you both tetchy and enjoy a walk together, you’ll both be focussing what’s going on around you rather than what’s going on at home, and it’s a chance to have that chat that will clear the air. 

Communicate effectively

You can decide how to react if your spouse or a member of the family “pushes your buttons”. There’s usually at least one individual who is determined to spoil the party, or who’s had a drop too much to drink and is more outspoken than usual!

You can chose whether to let them ruin your day or rise above it.  

Whilst your immediate reaction may be to get angry, think about how that will affect your mood for the rest of the day. Do you really want to feel upset and annoyed or would you prefer to feel calm and in control? 

A simple way to deal with this is to take time to breathe before you react. Flash them a disarming smile, thank them and tell them you will think about it. Then move gracefully away and either find someone who deserves your time, or pop out of the room for a bit.

If you are unable to move away for whatever reason, use the technique above and immediately throw the conversation back, asking them some general questions about themselves. That will get them talking about them rather than you. Appearing interested and attentive will help break the tension and you should feel on safer ground. As soon as you can, leave the conversation and move on.

Love and Peace Technique

  • Find a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed for around 5 - 10 minutes.  Lock yourself in the toilet if you have to!
  • (Don't do this whilst driving or if your attention is required elsewhere).
  • Close your eyes and focus your attention on your breathing.  Just breathe naturally and quietly until you can feel your heart beat has slowed down and you’re starting to feel more relaxed.
  • Bring your attention to your feet. Imagine there are roots sprouting from the soles your feet. Feel them growing down, down, down and as they reach the beautiful warm, pink light at the centre of the earth feel them tingling with pleasure. 
  • Enjoy the feeling of warmth and light as the roots start to draw that beautiful light up into your feet. Feel the light travel up through your legs, your thighs, your lower body and into your heart.  
  • Bring your attention to your heart. Feel the beautiful, warm pink light filling your heart with love and compassion. Imagine that light is expanding until it fills your entire body.  
  • You are a beacon of warm, pink light shining brightly full of compassion and love for all things. Connect with those powerful feelings of love and compassion while you are in this deeply relaxed state. 
  • Breathe in and out and imagine your are breathing in and out from your heart. And as you breath out imagine you are breathing the beautiful warm, pink light out from your heart. Visualise it reaching out and enfolding others. It can be a specific person or people, or just people in general. Feel only love and compassion for them and see any indiscretions or failings as expressions of unhappiness in their lives. Feel the power of your love break the power of any hold they have over you until you feel nothing but compassion and love for them. 
  • When you have finished, let your mind clear open your eyes and feel fully awake and refreshed. 

As with everything, the more you practice the better you’ll become. Enjoy manifesting the love and light.  

Wishing you a truly wonderful Christmas.

Reader Comments (1)

LOVE the website!!! XXXX

By Nick Blanchard on Monday, December 19, 2016

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