You know… Christmas is a great holiday...mostly. While the stuff surrounding Christmas is fun to be around – decorations, food, presents and the like – I know a lot of people struggle with this time of year. The stress alone is crazy enough. But, for some, this season brings more than the stress of getting everything ready, cleaning the house, taking care of all the presents, etc. For some, the "family time" is enough to send them over the brink.
I talk with lots of folks who have to mentally prepare themselves to see their loved ones. It sounds crazy, doesn’t it? But… have you ever thought about the mental “frame of mind” you have to get into to participate with people you know everything about (more or less)? For some, it is as seamless as if they never left home. However, for others, a root canal would seem more pleasing. The key is knowing what is going on inside you when faced with seeing your family. Know your triggers. Know your boundaries. Know exactly what your expectations are and plan accordingly. All too often, we enter the Christmas season hoping or expecting something from our family that is different than what experience has taught us. We fail to plan and prepare in a way that leads us to a path of joy and success. Rather, we set ourselves up to be disappointed because “others” don’t behave or say things in the ways we wish they would for our sake.
The one thing you can control when seeing your family is you. A great exercise is to take just a few minutes and think about what your expectations are of this Christmas. If you have a spouse or significant other, you might express those expectations and talk with each other on what each needs from each other while spending time with the family.
Christmas was meant to be a time of joy, remembrance and significance. Imagine… a Christmas spent with your family that you walk away from feeling that you had just created one for the memory books – in a good way! Take the time to prepare yourself in a way that allows the good stuff to reflect your Christmas experience by using that which you already know to carve out your expectations. If you do, that time spent with family can be best appreciated… no matter how crazy you think your family might be! One less root canal experience is a good thing… J
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