5 ways to avoid festive tension with your loved ones

Getting together with the family at Christmas time can bring tensions to the boil.

The festive season is a special time of year when family gets to spend quality time together. But, sometimes being around people who you don't necessarily see every day can be trying - no matter how much you love them!

Thankfully, the Christmas spirit doesn't need to be dampened by tense moments. Human behaviour specialist Dr John Demartini has revealed some ways that you can help you avoid any niggling tensions this festive season:

Schedule time for yourself

As everything gets busier, it can be easy to lose yourself in the mix of Christmas shopping and preparing for the holidays. 

"Plan your Christmas calendar as far ahead as you can and schedule some time in for yourself over this period," Dr Demartini says. "Importantly, try not to say ‘yes’ to everything or everyone. Only commit to the time you actually want to spend or the activities that your schedule allows and be specific about your availability."

Don't feel guilty about spending time on things you want to do, rather than organising yourself around other people. 

Set basic rules

Often Christmas means relatives will crash on your couch and Dr Demartini says there's nothing wrong with setting some ground rules. 

"Let them know what the rules are in advance - such as take shoes off at the door, no political conversation, everyone shares in the clean-up or food preparation etc. – can increase your fulfillment factor at Christmas and reduce unnecessary stress and aggravation," he explains. 

Have realistic expectations

It can be very easy to have out-of-this-world expectations, especially when it comes to Christmas

"Be realistic about what you can commit to regarding your time, energy and finances," Dr Demartini cautions. "Make sure you don't over commit otherwise you run the risk of resenting Christmas and associate too much pain with it."

Prepare for awkward conversations

We've all had to endure some kind of borderline inappropriate question from a family member whether it be, 'when are you going to have kids?', or 'why are you still single?'. The best thing is to be prepared for these prying questions so they don't catch you off guard.

"The only solution here is to arrive at your event prepared for those questions: come up with a witty remark or two, so that you can greet the question without feeling pressured to divulge personal information," Dr Demartini advises. "Or, list the benefits or the positives of this area of your life and lead the conversation toward those aspects – for example, you might not have a partner this Christmas but it has freed you up for seeing lots of friends and given you greater flexibility with your plans."

Be truthful

In this case, honesty really is the best policy. Dr Demartini says that you are guaranteed to have a better time if you remain true to yourself.

"Be willing to say ‘no’ and ‘yes’ equally, when either is most truthful," he suggests. "Christmas isn’t always a ‘happy’ time for everyone, and stress levels can often skyrocket over these festive weeks."

Armed with these tips, you'll be equipped to embrace the festive season wholeheartedly. 

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