Top tips for dealing with family at Christmas

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“My mum always thinks I’m being lazy and rude over Christmas if I don’t get involved with family games”

“Urgh, I really hope they don’t bring up politics at the table this year again, it infuriated me last year when Uncle Tim laughed down my views”

If these thoughts sound all too familiar to you, this blog is here to help you cope with a very common type of isolation at Christmas – the feeling of being isolated from family.

Christmas can be a high-pressure time of year. Suddenly family members you’ve not seen for months are popping round, and there’s an increased expectation on having the perfect Christmas. It can be a tough time of year for young people in this situation, as you may feel you need to change your behaviour to fit in and make sure to not upset anyone by not taking part in it all. Or you may be dreading Christmas dinner in anticipation for *that* big topic coming up again. Whatever your worry, we’ve got you covered in our tips below.

1) Explain to others how you’re feeling – if the stress of Christmas is getting to you, tell whoever you spend the day with. This can help reassure you that there’s no real pressure and at the very least give them a heads up so they won’t add anymore pressure to you.

2) Try and balance your time – If your mum is getting annoyed that you spend too much time on your phone or in your room over Christmas, it may be worth compromising just for a few days. Try to balance time so that you do have time to un-wind and re-charge but do get involved where you can to not completely exclude yourself. Remember, if they get annoyed at you not taking part, it’s most likely because they just miss your company!

3) Find and share activities you enjoy – if certain parts of Christmas traditions put you off more than others, why not try and create some new ones? If you can’t stand the pressure of a family games night, maybe try suggesting an alternative activity that you would enjoy doing all together. This way you’ll stay involved without putting yourself through unnecessary pressure!

4) Challenge ideas – Now, this is a big one. We all have a certain family member we don’t quite see eye to eye with, whether that be on politics or social issues. Unfortunately, these issues don’t always get left at the doorstep, and you may find yourself feeling uncomfortable or not listened to when faced with this situation. It can be quite helpful to challenge ideas, simply as “why do you think that” if you believe a viewpoint is wrong. Don’t expect them to change their beliefs just like that, but it may help them understand yours more. Also, remember you have every right to walk away from a situation if it’s ruining your mood or personally offending you. Read more about dealing with difficult family members here.

5) Make time for yourself – No matter your age or love for Christmas, it can be a busy, stressful and even tiring period of the year. Make sure that even with everything going on that you take time out to yourself to do the things you’d usually be doing.

6) Remember it’s your Christmas too – Finally, no matter how you celebrate it, remember this is also your time to relax away from school or college for a few weeks and to enjoy the copious amounts of chocolate no doubt overtaking your kitchen cupboards. If anything in particular is bothering you, speak to the person involved, they may not even realise it’s an issue until you let them know.

Do you have any other tips? Let us know in the comments!


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