Dealing with Relationships at Christmas Dec 2018

Christmas is meant to be a time when we get together with families and friends to celebrate.  For many people this emphasis on close relationships can be difficult, particularly if they are separated from their families and have few close friendships.  It can intensify the feelings of loneliness and remind people of painful losses.  Those who have lost loved ones will find this time particularly hard.

Not all families fit the "happy family" stereotype and tensions can be exacerbated when people who see little of each other during the year come together for a full day.  The best way of handling such situations is to limit the time and keep your expectations realistic. 

Be aware that people can be tired and stressed at this time and may overdo the alcohol in an attempt to cope.  Keep a look out for potential conflict and minimise time with any people you find difficult.  Avoid topics which you know from past experience have caused disagreement.  Remind yourself it is only a few hours and you wont have to see them for a while probably and keep your sense of humour.  You can relax on boxing day and just let any issues go.

If you are divorced and have children, access visits can be difficult.  Try to put aside any negative feelings towards your ex partner and focus on making sure the children have a happy time.  

For those who dont have family or prefer not to see them, seek out other people in similar situations and have your own celebration.  Some people like to help others at this time by volunteering to deliver meals on wheels or visiting elderly people in nursing homes or hospitals.

If the whole idea of managing relationships at Christmas feels too much, perhaps you may wish to give yourself a special Christmas gift of a holiday away from everyone.  This way you can choose who you interact with, what and where you want to eat and how to spend your time.  Do what feels right for you.




© Dawn Vincent