How to Be a Rockstar at Dealing with Relatives During the Holiday
Holidays are often about family time, but they can very quickly turn into family stress. While your immediate family is fine, often we find that all of those additional stresses when you are dealing with the holidays can be too much. Extra stress is never a good thing and often turns into families worrying overmuch at a time that family time should really be the major focus, rather than guests and parties and gifts and everything else.
Those elements are nice, but the holidays are meant to be enjoyed.
It’s time to cheer up and remind yourself what it’s all about! We have some tips and tricks for dealing with family impositions during the holidays to make sure your own family unit stays strong, stress-free, and filled with holiday cheer.
Extended Family and Family Stress Theory
“Family stress theory” is a theory that looks at what families endure in terms of stresses and how they deal with it. Rather relevant during the holidays, isn’t it? You have in-laws in town, likely staying with you, and at the least visiting regularly. Maybe you haven’t always gotten along, or don’t like the way that they tend to influence the daily life of your family routine.
Believe it or not, that’s normal. Even a largely positive visit has a way of disrupting your normal family time, hopefully in some pleasant ways, but it can still add stress to your holidays.
We can explore some ways to keep situations from escalating and turning family stress into a memorable family get-together. Just remember that the holidays should be about family, and such visits are only temporary, so with the right plan, you’ll make sure any trying times are just good times, instead!
The first and most important thing is to set expectations with your family. Rather than trying to deal with everything after the fact, you will want to discuss what is going to happen and how you will approach it as a family. Is one set of in-laws coming to stay for a couple of weeks?
Okay, then you need to plan for a few things: Where they will sleep. What, if any, kinds of dietary needs or preferences they will have. What activities they plan to do.
The next step is to discuss your family’s routines. Family time is important, and you don’t want to completely disrupt your normal life, even if you do make some special allowances for the holidays. As a family, sit down and figure out what is absolutely necessary to your routine.
Do the kids need to stick to their bedtime? Grandparents are good at disrupting that, so this is a good thing to discuss with both the kids and the grandparents. Can you flex their bedtimes a little? Make sure everyone is on the same page, then, and there won’t be any hard feelings.
Set limitations that are reasonable for your family and won’t make any relations feel like they’re being unfairly targeted.
Certain behaviors might not be okay, such as smoking around the kids, or excessive drinking, or any number of things that you might not want to disrupt your normal family time.
Defusing Situations Before They Explode
Hopefully, your holiday visits will be peaceful, full of cheer and awesome family memories. There’s always a possibility that things get heated with the additional stresses of relations coming to visit. That’s actually a perfectly normal thing for any family, and it’s nothing you should feel ashamed about.
Remind yourself that the visit is only temporary, first of all. So any challenges that you face trying to integrate visiting family with your normal family time are also temporary. There’s no need to let things get out of control.
Another thing is to keep communication open.
Talk it over with your family and with any visiting relations before things build up. If something isn’t working, like perhaps they’re encouraging the kids to stay up too late or neglect things like chores or homework (while they’re in school, at least!), talk to everyone.
Make sure they all know the importance of maintaining those elements of the routine even through the festivities because sooner or later the holiday will end and readjusting can be difficult.
Find Ways to De-stress
It’s important that you find ways to de-stress even during the holiday itself. Find moments to step aside together and reconnect, or talk about how things are going. Take a few moments for yourself to stop and reevaluate. Try some soothing yoga routines, or a few calming minutes listening to music away from the bustle, and don’t be afraid to try some stress relief supplements to help you stay cool even with the added pressure of the holidays.