practical mental health wellness


How To Avoid Your Holiday Conflict


It's official. The holidays are here. 


Mariah Carey Thanksgiving GIF


If you've made attempts to deny that we are IN the holiday spiral (aka the insanely quick time warp between Thanksgiving and January 1), I hate to inform you- there is no place to hide, we. are. here. If you observe any of the upcoming holidays, you know each is likely to come with its own set of stress and inevitable conflict. While we'd hope that our annual, end-of-year gatherings went as smooth as that one dessert someone brought last year after finding a "new recipe", -eyeroll-, (hashtag: no new recipes for holiday meals) unfortunately, things don't always go as planned or anticipated.


Courteney Cox Thanksgiving GIF


Every family and friend group presents with it's own set of challenges and dynamics; we are human and disagreements happen. Additionally, I find that a lot of holiday conflict takes place because, the calendar placement is kind of terrible. Think about it: we're over extended at school or work all year and then we're expected to spend the little downtime we do have, traveling extensively with other stressed people? Then we're required to spend intimate time with others we may only see one time per year and expected to keep it Brady? 



Positive Distraction of The Week

Whether you'll be bombarded with friends, family, or even coworkers for the end of year "team morale" functions, use these tips to help you avoid that holiday conflict and protect your mental and emotional wellbeing. Take time to actually enjoy the winding down of the year as we move toward 2018. Here are a few ideas to help you avoid those rough spots:

Plan Ahead

If you know that you and a friend/family member that you will interact with at a holiday function are currently on bad terms, relationally- plan ahead. It is 2017 and you have multiple ways to contact someone in this day and age. Send a text, facetime, animoji, facebook message, or one of those old school phone calls, and either a) have a brief conversation with the person if it has been a while or b) extend the idea: let's agree to disagree and just be civil. This way you are emotionally prepared to enter an environment with a mutual agreement. Just talk it out.

Stay In Your Lane

Everyone plays a specific role at the holiday functions to get things accomplished in the system. If you know that you are the music and entertainment person- stay out of the kitchen conflicts. If you know you are the person that brings the ice and paper products, don't jump into the logistics of how to fry the turkey. Often the best way to help in holiday conflicts is to set healthy boundaries around what you can and can not control.

Create A Forcefield

One of the worst components of holiday time with family/friends is getting asked a million questions, to which you may only have the answers to 3 of them. This is incredibly intensified when the food isn't ready and that one aunt maybe had too many wine coolies. Getting asked uncomfortable questions is the worst, because even when you try to practice a script beforehand, nothing stings as much as thinking you've passed the threshold of intrusive question asking, only to get cornered on your way for seconds with: so when are you graduating? (hashtag: no when are YOU going to stop asking me about this) -eyeroll- Holidays are the perfect places to ask uncomfortable questions because you have no place to hide. So to avoid this conflict, get assertive. Just got divorced? Still single? Haven't graduated? Don't worry- we've all been there. This year, get ahead of it and assert yourself by staying calm, use (and practice) simple and direct sentences, and don't lose yourself. If the answer is no, say it.

Pick Your Battles

Didn't leave at the time your wanted to? Take deep breaths. Annoyed because you couldn't get that specific brand of egg nog for your morning French Toast? (use Challah Bread) Make something else. Basically what I am alluding to is: get strategic and problem solve your way through conflict, by picking your battles. Instead of spending time trying to prove your point (listen, I know you're right) just brush it off and get to the good stuff- cause ain't no body got time for that.

Feel free to share the love via the links below to someone who may also need a few tips to avoid holiday conflict. Thanks so much for following up this week. I'm already looking forward to session with you next Sunday. You can like this post below via heart-moji and be sure to share this with a friend. Follow-up in one week!

Best, Dr. Dyce