The holidays can be a joyous occasion as you watch loved ones opening their gifts, or listening to the re-telling of family stories. But not all holiday gatherings are created equally and some can create stress both during the event and in the moments leading up to the day. For some of us, this stress can remain long after the wrapping paper and decorations have been packed up.
It is not too late to change the pattern and infuse holiday joy back into the celebration. Simply by having some realistic expectations, setting some ground rules for conversation, using positive distractions, and working as a team you may find that peace your family gathering is in need of.
Having Realistic Expectations
While we always want family get-togethers to go smoothly, there is increased pressure during the holiday season to have picture perfect family bonds. The stakes are raised which makes it more painful when these unrealistic expectations are not realized. This year, recognize that not everything will be as peaceful as it is portrayed on the Hallmark channel. Be aware of your triggers and defuse situations before they escalate. Take time-outs throughout the event, a walk around the block may help relieve some stress and minimize the chance for any blow-ups.
Setting Some Ground Rules
It is much better to have a football game running in the background then a CNN political debate. Consider taking certain topics off the table and consciously not engaging in these conversations. Before the disagreements or hurt feelings start by suggesting the topics that should not be discussed in the larger group. Have some thoughts about some suggested topics that would be fun to talk about. Before the event come up with a few fun holiday memories to share with the group. These memories often lead the group down memory lane which usually has fewer landmines along the way.
It may not be a coincidence that movie theater parking lots are packed to the gills over holiday weekends. While sharing a movie as a family can be a great outing, enjoyed by all ages, they also are a good distraction. After the movie you now have new topics to talk about and everyone has refrained from chatter for at least the length of the movie. Not a movie watching family, consider setting up an activity before any stress arises. Board Game competitions, flag football, or a scavenger hunt may build camaraderie and at the same time serve as a necessary distraction.
Working Together as a Team
This year may be unique as it is the first year the family celebration includes an elderly parent or relative whose needs are requiring a higher level of care and consideration. If there are personal care needs, consider hiring a professional Home Care agency to schedule a caregiver to be available to assist this individual so your time can be focused on the emotional aspects of being a family member. If you are taking this opportunity to talk with siblings about what next steps may need to happen with your elderly parent(s) keep in mind that you all want the best for them, however you may all have different ways of achieving your goals. Keep the goal front and center and talk about the options with an open mind.
Hopefully we've shown you how realistic expectations, setting ground rules for friendly conversation, using distractions like movies and board games, and working as a team can help your family find the peace it is seeking at your holiday gatherings and even build some lasting memories in the process.
SYNERGY HomeCare can also sustain that peace by bringing care to a loved one at home. If you or a loved one are in need of a helping hand give us a call for a FREE in-home care assessment. Our care plans are 100% customizable and we can assist you wherever it is that you call home. Call us today 877-432-2692.