SOS! My Family Are Driving Me Mad!

Fam driving you up the wall this Christmas? We’re here to help.

Even the happiest of families can feel the strain over the Christmas period. There’s a lot of pressure and stress to deal with, from making sure everything is ‘perfect’ to putting up with relatives you don’t see very often (or may not get along with). If you’re feeling frustrated, irritated or stressed, try these top tips to help you cope:

1. Be Prepared

Before the big day descends, have a think about possible triggers. Does your Uncle Joe drive you crazy with his lame jokes? Does Dad’s noisy eating make your skin crawl? By being aware of potential triggers, you’ll feel more prepared to deal with them if they arise. You may even be able to avoid certain situations altogether… make sure you sit furthest away from Dad so you can’t hear his munching!

2. Take Time Out

Give yourself a break from the chaos – take a walk or escape to your bedroom for a couple of hours. Don’t feel guilty about wanting some breathing space; you can use this downtime to relax and recharge your batteries.

3. Don’t Detonate

If there are underlying tensions or unspoken rivalries, do your best not to light the torch paper and watch it blow up. Avoid the risky topics or issues that spark tension in your family to sidestep a festive feud. Resist the temptation to wind up a cousin and try not to take it personally when your aunt asks you for the hundredth time if you’re ever going to get a job.

4. Positive Thinking

Are your family getting on your very last nerve? Try to look for the positives. Name one thing you love, admire or respect about each member of your family. Remember times when they’ve made you feel happy to achieve a more positive mindset.

5. Walk Away From Arguments

It’s OK to walk away if you feel completely overwhelmed, especially if you’re a second away from blowing your top. Leave the room and take yourself elsewhere to cool down and collect your thoughts. Try our grounding techniques to help you cope when negative thoughts become overwhelming.

6. Keep Busy

Keeping busy can help you swerve all sorts of uncomfortable situations or confrontations. Offering to help with the cooking of the Christmas dinner means you can always make your apologies and escape to the kitchen if everything gets too much.  

7. Be Realistic

Try to manage your expectations of Christmas. Remember, there’s no such thing as a ‘perfect Christmas’ – it doesn’t exist. Every family has its fallouts and tensions, and these don’t disappear just because it’s Christmas. By being realistic, you won’t set yourself up for major disappointment.


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