Dear Steadfast Counsellors,

I am really dreading the holidays this year. My family is spread out because of splits and remarriages, and I don’t know how to attend everything and keep everyone happy. I get that I shouldn’t complain because some people don’t have any family, but having so much is very stressful too. I feel like the holidays are just running from one place to another without real connection time. Any ideas how I can have a more relaxing holiday this year? ~ T.H., West Vancouver

Dear T.H.,

The holidays can be a tough time of year, with busy social calendars, decorating, gift exchanging, cooking…and then throw family on top of it and it can sometimes feel like the string is finally going to break. Our families seem to know the exact combination to push our buttons…and our emotional reactions to them can be bigger than they would be with others. I encourage you to take a deep breath, and pull out a pen and paper. Decide (with other members of your household if that applies) what is really important to you this holiday, what experience you are wanting to create. Then take out your calendar and accept only those invitations that are in line with your intention. It may not be feasible for you to attend everything, and that’s ok. Speak to your family and try to arrange alternate times for visiting, where you may actually get more time for a genuine connection without that big crowd! Let them know how important they are to you, even if you can’t make the original invite. Remember…”All you can do is all you can do…and all you can do is enough”. Best of the holidays to you and your family. – Christina Bianchini, RPC

Christina Bianchini
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