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Preparing for Christmas Chaos

Christmas can be a challenging time, some advice on how to avoid some of the crises and conflicts.

Christmas day comes with so much expectation and pressure to be ‘perfect’ but for many, this is just too much.  This, along with getting food out on time and wanting everyone to a good time or ‘make memories’ can be incredibly stressful. It can be even worse when family tensions are already running high. So what can people do?

Communicate and set boundaries

Understanding each other’s expectations is vital for preventing conflict. Before you get together try to set clear boundaries: how long you’ll spend together, who is responsible for what, and maybe plan some of the activities.

Do you have that one family member you just can’t get on with? Try to limit the time you spend with them and surround yourself with those you do get on with.

If there are conversations you are worried about having or there is existing conflict, try talking to them before the big day, talking in a more relaxed environment before Christmas might help to resolve the situation.

When trying to resolve problems, listen fully and allow the other person to have their say. When it’s your turn to talk try using “I” statements to say how you feel. For example “I am upset” or “I feel really hurt when”, it’s less confrontational than “you are upsetting me” or “you have hurt me”.

Find an ally

Having someone you can turn to if it’s all getting too much can make the visit more manageable. It doesn’t have to be someone with you, it could be a friend you can contact by phone. Try and talk to them in advance so they know how you are feeling and they can support you.

Time out

It’s alright to take yourself off to calm down, to have a nap, or to check in with friends who aren’t there – especially if you find yourself overwhelmed. If you have good habits you use throughout the year, don’t stop because it’s Christmas! If yoga, meditation, or reading a book helps you to keep calm – remember you can still do this on Christmas Day.

Get outside

A Christmas day walk can be the last thing anyone wants after a big meal, but often, leaving the space where the tension is building is a good way to stop arguments before they take hold. The change of air and pace can often sober up family members, give children a chance to blow off some steam, and help you to avoid that family member. Even if the weather is bad, put on those wellies and get walking.

If you or someone you know, struggles with family relationships find out here about how we can help.

More information on how to manage conflict at Christmas see here.

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