Bridget Leschinsky

21 November 2023

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The holidays are meant to be filled with joy and warmth but can occasionally become a time of increased stress and tension. Keeping your happiness while trying to control your emotions can be a challenge when dealing with a difficult friend, neighbor, coworker, troubled marriage, or demanding family member. Here are 7 tips for navigating difficult relationships this holiday season.

Navigating Difficult Relationships this Holiday Season

1. Be Prepared:

Identify the people who frequently activate negative emotions in you and work to understand the source of your annoyance. Recognizing your feelings is the first step toward managing them. When you understand why and who irritates you, you’ll be better prepared to deal with interactions with that person.

2. Accept People for Who They Are:

Resist the urge to confront someone about their holiday behavior. Confrontation can increase stress and aggravate the situation, potentially leading to a power struggle. Instead, concentrate on mastering your own reactions. Accept that everyone has flaws and approach them with empathy.

3. See the Best in People:

When dealing with difficult people, consciously identify and focus on at least one positive aspect of their personality. This changes your mindset and creates a buffer against negative emotions. When you feel tension rising, repeat this positive trait to yourself like a mantra.

4. Set Boundaries:

Limit your interactions with difficult people, especially around the holidays. If you’re visiting from out of town, consider setting time limits for events or staying in a hotel. Setting boundaries can assist you in creating a more controlled and comfortable environment for yourself.

5. Take a Time Out:

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, don’t be afraid to take a break. To collect your thoughts, go outside or find a quiet place in the house. Deep breathing is recommended, as is visualizing a happy place or activity. This break can help you regain your composure and perspective.

6. Take Care of Yourself:

Self-care is especially important during the holiday season when dealing with difficult relationships. Make sure you get enough sleep, eat regularly, and participate in activities you enjoy. Prioritize your well-being by going for a walk, exercising, reading, or watching a movie to help you cope with difficult situations.

7. Remember, It’s Temporary:

Remind yourself that the time you spend with difficult people during the holidays is only temporary. You can make the most of your time and actually enjoy the holiday season if you keep a positive attitude. Concentrate on the aspects of the holiday that make you happy, and don’t let difficult relationships overshadow the festive spirit.

Dealing with difficult relationships during the holidays requires a combination of self-awareness, empathy, and proactive strategies. By following these tips, you can approach difficult situations with grace, protect your well-being, and truly enjoy the holiday season.

Take advantage of a FREE 30 minute discovery session with The Bridging Coach to ask questions and get help.
Photo by Anthony Tran on Unsplash
Bridget Leschinsky is a CDC Certified Divorce Transition and Recovery Coach®
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