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  • Don’t Let Conflict Ruin the Holidays!

    December 23, 2010 No Comments
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    Christmas is a time of great stress in relationships. There are the inevitable party invitations. The money worries. You’re spending more time together than you may be used to. It can all build up to one explosive argument if you don’t take some steps to reduce the pressure. What can you do?

    Well firstly relax. Christmas is a time to spend with your loved ones. It’s about spending time with the people you care about. It isn’t important that you spend all of your money buying the most expensive presents and trying to impress your neighbours. If you forget something, does it really matter? Of course not!

    It is likely you will receive at least one invite to at least one party. For some of you, this may be the highlight of your year. For others who perhaps don’t enjoy parties so much this can be a time of real stress. Perhaps your partner enjoys socializing and you don’t? Maybe it is the opposite way around – you like being a social butterfly and they prefer to stay on the couch. For me personally, I don’t enjoy loud and brash parties where everyone crowds into a room, drinks too much and you can’t hear yourself think because the music is too loud! My partner on the other hand loves this kind of night out. We have resolved conflict by accepting that unless it is essential for me to attend, he’ll go alone and I’ll join him for the more discerning type of event such as a dinner party. If I am required to be there, I’ll make a concerted effort to go along and join in knowing that it’s only one night and I won’t have to do it again for a while. If you and your partner find your relationship is hitting problems over this kind of situation, would our resolution work for you too? Sit and talk to your partner to see if you can find a way through it.

    When it comes to giving gifts your partner and family would much rather you gave them a low cost, thoughtful gift rather than blowing the bank getting them something expensive. If you are good at crafts how about making them a special unique gift? If you can cook, bake some personalised cookies. If you can sew or knit create something just for them. There are plenty of ideas and suggestions on the internet you can try.

    I know I spoke about this in my Thanksgiving post but I reckon it is worth my repeating again here. Christmas is a time when families who are not used to spending any amount of time together are thrust together in one place. When alcohol is introduced, it can often result in a whole heap of tension which can manifest into arguments if you are not careful. If you find yourself getting angry or frustrated with someone over Christmas or are at the receiving end of someone else’s temper, try and stay calm. Things can get said in the heat of the moment which may have an impact on relations for years afterwards. Take a deep breath. If you feel you need space, take a walk around the block and come back when you feel more in control. Don’t say things you don’t mean in the heat of the moment or out of spite. If the conversation descends into an argument try not to respond emotionally. I appreciate it is easier for me to write this than to put it into practice but honestly you and your loved ones will appreciate the effort you make. You cannot control how others act but you can control yourself and that is all you can do.

    Finally, be thankful. Don’t allow one person to take the entire burden of preparations for this special day. Offer to help where you can even if it is just washing the dishes or taking the dog for a walk. If there are young children, perhaps offer to babysit so the parents can relax for an hour or two. The smallest things make the biggest impression but it is easy to take others for granted especially if they have always looked after everything for you.

    I hope you have a fantastic Christmas and enjoy the break from work with those who matter to you. It’s my 40th birthday on Christmas Eve so it’s a double celebration for me at this time of year. Don’t forget to come back and tell us how the holidays are going for you or if there is any relationship issue you encounter over the holidays that you would like me to cover in a future post here. I’ll see you back here very soon.

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