Merry & Bright #2

By Erin Schindler

Family Feud

Do you struggle during the holidays? Does your mental health get you and others down? It is not a bad
thing if it does! But knowing this about yourself is very important. Awareness is a huge victory.

If you are just recognizing reading this article and you DO get down during the holidays, now you have that awareness. Once we are aware of something that is not working in our lives, we can work on it and
make positive change.

Planning is key.

Make a calendar of when you will shop, what parties you will attend, (btw, it is always ok to say no), lists of what you will buy for who etc. Schedule time to relax.

Take time to just enjoy what you are grateful for and what is important in your life. Light candles and
watch a holiday movie.

One of the things I really work on is making my health a top priority. I get 8 hours of sleep, I still go to the gym, and I eat even healthier during the week knowing that I will likely be eating more than normal. I also take vitamin D and try to spend a few minutes with my face facing the sun every day and I do a lot of deep breathing. I pray. I meditate. I think positive!

The biggest stressor and trigger for a lot of us is our own families. The exact people we are supposed to
spend the holidays with! Sometimes vitamin D and a great workout doesn’t quite do the trick! Funny
that our most strained relationships can be with our loved ones. The people we love do impact us the
most to the point where we can hurt for a lifetime. My gentle suggestion is to forgive and to forget this
holiday season. Forgiveness is a process, not a one-time event. You don’t even have to tell your family
member that you forgive them. You start telling yourself you forgive them until you start to feel your
heart change. We also don’t like to forgive family because of what THEY may have done to us.
Unfortunately, this just causes more resentment and a viscous cycle. Mostly because WE want the
apology. Best just to keep our own sides of the street clean and forgive. We can apologize for our part
in any past disagreement without an expectation of a return apology. This is not easy. I can admit that
from my own experiences. But having gone through this process with some of my family members, I can
tell you it feels amazing. The peace that I have is priceless.

You may have also lost a family member during the holiday season. Or you may have recently lost a
friend or family member. If that is the case, talk about your feelings. Talk openly about your family
member! Remember the beautiful memories. Don’t stuff your feelings like the holiday turkey!
I have some suggestions to make your family gatherings more memorable and happier.

Have everyone share their favorite Christmas memory.

Have everyone go around the table and say what they are grateful for.

Have family members share what they appreciate about each other.

Share one News Years resolution that you are willing to start now.

Remember the reason for the season. Take care of yourself. Breath, pray, meditate and most
importantly, don’t be afraid to set some boundaries. Perfectly okay to leave the family dinner at 8pm
instead of midnight. Also, set your expectations. If family gatherings have always ended poorly, Uncle
Harold getting drunk or Sister Sue dredging up the past, don’t focus on the worst outcome, instead, see
it going well. See yourself not participating in the drama.

If you want something different you need to do something different.

Show up as your best self.
Merry Christmas!!!

Have a blessed and wonderful week!

Please feel free to share any suggestions you have used to keep family gatherings less stressful!




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