Here’s a thought we like to avoid: the holidays can bring so much opportunity for conflict! While we may be seeking out a peaceful, fun and joyous season, interpersonal differences really tend to rear their head the more time we spend together, especially with a vested interest in having a wonderful holiday season together!
Communicate Early and Clearly
Take some time to reflect what is most important to you and be intentional about discussing this with others when emotions are calm. You’ll feel good about asserting your needs and values, as well as give the other person time to reflect on this more and keep it in mind. Where compromise is needed, early communication will identify this so that you can plan ahead to avoid conflict. Setting an overall priority or intention for the season can be helpful as well, that you can use as an anchor when the season gets busy or even hectic.
As difficult as it can be, taking another’s perspective helps reduce our anger by balancing our thoughts and building empathy and compassion for ourselves and others. Challenge yourself to look at the situation from the other person’s eyes and notice the shift in your own emotions and the ideas to resolve that will flow from that.
Plan Downtime and Time Alone
Built up stress can lead to greater challenges regulating our emotions and communicating effectively and peacefully. Make it a priority to schedule in regular breaks and positive time as a couple/family as well. Be sure to also plan time apart doing the things you most enjoy about the holiday season, whether that’s casual baking, a good book or puzzle, or those Hallmark movies you hate to love.
Whether it’s past memories or traditions family members are trying to uphold, the sheer amount of time you may be spending together compared to the rest of the year, or the busyness and stress that can come with the holiday season, try some of these strategies to plan ahead and de-escalate as needed this season. If further help is needed to address some of these concerns before, during or after the holidays, feel free to reach out to us.