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Surviving the Holidays: Pesky Relatives

As we coast into the thick of Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Thanksgiving, and Christmas lets make a plan for getting through unscathed this year. Because of the health risks of the last two years, many of us decided to stick close to home. While we missed our beloved family and friends, there was relief in not having the responsibilities of entertaining, cooking the food, gathering, presents, etc. This year, many of us are ready to get back to the holiday cheer (parties, food, family, friends and fun).

Let's decide on a game plan for dealing with those people in our lives that make the holiday time a little less than cheerful. Below are my top five tips to help you develop a foolproof plan making your holidays healthy, happy, and joyful!

1. Don't expect to heal old wounds. Your family gathering is not a time to bring up old hurts from your childhood. Time often does not heal deep seated old wounds. That kind of pain takes the privacy of a therapist's office. Save it! Enjoy your time with family and know that you may still feel those same old hurts bubble up, but you don't have to act on them right now.

2. Don't expect people to change. You haven't seen your grumpy old uncle Joe in two years. Guess what? He's still going to be grumpy old uncle Joe. He's still going to want to test you. He's going to make a snide remark about your cooking, your kids, your spouse. EXPECT it's going to happen and you won't be surprised or caught off guard when it does. Remember, you don't have to engage. You're in control.

3. Control Control Control! This is my favorite tip. You get to decide when you'll arrive and when you're leaving (if you're not hosting). Decide to control your environment. Have activities planned. When there's a lull that's when we might see trouble. Watch a favorite holiday classic. Play a favorite board game or card game. Have an activity planned.

4. It's not about you. Set your boundaries. Just like tip #3, you have choices and you decide your boundaries. If you don't want to talk politics and religion then don't. What are the hot topics that usually start the arguments in the family? Avoid them! It's OK to say, "I'm not talking about that right now." Your relative's mean streak, has nothing to do with you.

5. Have fun! Most importantly enjoy yourself. This is a wonderful time of year when we get to see friends and family that we haven't seen in ages. While some people may not be on their best behavior, it doesn't mean that you have to engage them. Participate in those parties, that fill you up instead of drain you. Try not to over extend yourself this year. For the past two years, we have been craving connection. Now is the opportunity to do all the fun things you've been longing for.

Comment below and let me know what's on your list this year? What family traditions are you looking forward to? Can't wait to hear how you're planning to enjoy this holiday season.

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