For many of us Christmas is the biggest family holiday of the year. That can mean a lot of stress and frustration, and maybe even some anger. But, we can avoid a lot of that by simply making a few choices to put the odds back in our favor. Here are my top 5 tips for surviving Christmas (#spoonie or not).
1. Lay off the guilt – We often think that it’s others who make us feel guilty for not doing things during the holidays. That it’s others who make us feel guilty for not coming to every gathering, but it’s not.
We put that guilt on ourselves. Another person can’t make us feel anything, we choose how we feel. This is especially true of guilt. If you are feeling guilty for not being at every event, don’t. You are making the best choice for you and there should be no guilt in that.
Related Post: Chronic Illness & Letting Go of Guilt
2. Stop taking everything so personally – Often the “little jabs” we get from others are really nothing they intend as negative in any way. It’s just our mindset that makes them negative.
When we aren’t sleeping well and/or are hurting we can’t process actions properly and are more likely to take things the wrong way. I can’t tell you the number of times that I’ve felt bad and someone has said something that wouldn’t phase me if I was feeling good.
But, because I’m not feeling well, I’m feeling guilty for letting him down, or for my illness, or whatever, so I take his comment in a completely different way than he intended.
3. Don’t be the victim – Why do people get tired of hearing about how we feel? Could it be because we make a point of telling them every chance we get? Just because we are sick doesn’t mean we have to play the victim.
Sometimes the best thing we can do is avoid conversations about our health, and shift the focus somewhere else. That doesn’t mean we don’t answer honestly if someone asks, but we don’t dwell on it.
We move the conversation along to other things. Instead of going on about how bad you feel, shift to something funny you saw on TV, or share something awesome that your kids or spouse did.
4. Smile – I know it’s hard sometimes, sometimes it’s downright impossible. But, it does make you feel better and it can go a long way to completely shifting the dynamics at a family event.
5. Skip it – If you are feeling so bad that you won’t be able to get through the event and enjoy it, don’t go. There’s no sense in making yourself feel worse.
Will others miss you? Yes. Will you miss them? Maybe (honestly it depends on how bad you feel). They will ask where you are then they will go on about the event.
Don’t let the holidays create more stress and pain for you. Enjoy them as much as you can and add enjoyment for others wherever you can. The small things count for way more than the big ones. Show up if you feel like it, smile often, and avoid anyone who makes you feel worse.