A stress-free family get together – doesn’t that sound nice? I absolutely love my family and holiday get-togethers but one thing I never understood was the stress and negative thoughts that came with it.
I thought, “If I love these people so much, then why is this difficult?” My tagline for my business is “Coaching through Chaos” so today I am going to give you some tips on how to have stress-free and fun-filled family get together.
To get through the chaos, you first have to understand where it comes from in the first place. This is essential, otherwise we sit and analyze and pick our loved ones apart.
5 Reasons Why Family Get-Togethers are Stressful
1. A Lot of Personality
Whenever you take a bunch of people and put them together for any amount of time, you are going to get a cluster of combative energies. It doesn’t matter if you come from the same family or not, all of us have completely different personalities, needs, expectations, and desires. It is crucial to recognize and understand that we are not one in the same.
2. Schedule Shifts
A shift in your schedule causes a lot of stress on the mind and body. Think about it. You just worked all week and did your normal day-to-day routine and all of a sudden you are going to be thrown into a schedule jam-packed with a bunch of to-do’s with a bunch of people. Everyone may want to do various things so there is increased pressure to squeeze it all in. We spend every minute we can with loved ones and run ourselves on overdrive.
3. Reflections & Reminders
Being around family and back in old familiar territory can trigger reflection and reminders of the past. Some will be good and others not so good. Oftentimes, unprocessed emotions can get stirred up without you realizing it. Other times you may find yourself reflecting and saying how on things have changed and just aren’t the same. This can happen as we age, lose a loved one, or after a divorce. You may also find yourself saying, “Nothing has changed” and getting stuck in thoughts of negativity.
4. Decreased Defenses
We do a lot in a short amount of time, which decreases our defensives. We wake up earlier and stay up later. We eat more, drink more, and rest less. This takes a major toll on our bodies.
5. People Pleasing
Many of us are people pleasers and there is no one we want to please more than our families. However, we set these high standards for ourselves and often feel like we “should” do this and “have” to do that. We often over extend ourselves and go over the top. We spend too much money, too much time, and too much energy trying to make everything perfect and then before we know it the party is over and we feel broke, exhausted, unappreciated, and like we didn’t even get time with our family.
So once you understand where the chaos and stress may come from, it is easier to move forward and take action.
So Here are 5 Tips Towards Stress-Free, Family Fun
1. Acceptance and Intention
Accept what is and set an intention to only control your thoughts, feelings, and actions amongst the chaos. Love everyone and all their quirks and idiosyncrasies. The various personalities is what makes family fun and exciting. Before any holiday or get together, close your eyes and imagine how you want it to go and focus on your energy only. You will be amazed on how much power you have in shifting the dynamic when you stay in a positive and high-energy place.
2. Eat Fast Food
No I am not talking about the drive-through! I am taking about planning meals so they are simple and quick, leaving time for everyone to really sit and enjoy each other. Plan your meals ahead of time. If you are cooking at home, make simple dishes that you can make ahead of time. Make dips in the crockpot, make burgers ahead of time, have a diy sandwich bar, or make casseroles ahead of time and throw them in the oven. Too often, one person gets stuck at the grill or in the kitchen running around cooking and cleaning and miss out on what is most important – spending time together.
3. Schedule for the Self First
Before your event, write down everything you want to do during your get-together. Ask yourself, “If you could have the perfect family gathering, what would that look like?” How do you want to feel? What activities do you want to do? What is the most and least important to you? Then you plan your gathering around those wishes.
Feeling energized and refreshed are priorities for me. I hate coming back from events and feeling exhausted and miserable so I always make sure I am taking care of myself by not overdoing. I am mindful of what I eat and drink and take time for movement and relaxation. Make sure to take 5-10 minute time outs to regroup and re-energize, especially if you are highly sensitive.
I need to move and exercise so I often invite family to join my workouts or we play a sporting activity. Think about emailing family ahead of time to see what everyone’s expectations and wishes are so you can all get on the same page before getting together. Some people may just want to relax and others may want to be on the go. No matter what, make sure you are scheduling things that YOU want to do.
4. Evaluate Energies and Express Emotions
Make sure to take inventory of all the various energies and personalities in your group. Recognize that certain people may trigger you and keep yourself in a loving, balanced place. Be mindful of emotions that you are feeling. Events may trigger memories of past times. You may find yourself getting emotional just being together. This is all okay.
Watch your alcohol intake as it is a depressant. When you feel emotions coming on, ask yourself what it is really about and go into the feelings. If you need to release anger, try going for a run or writing about it. If you need to cry, do so. Feelings are meant to be felt. Release and express them so you can make room for connection and making new memories.
5. Joyful Judgments
The best way to make sure that you enjoy your time is to make sure you make decisions based on joy being your ultimate goal. If you are doing things that cause you stress and make you miserable, it’s time to do things differently. If you stop and ask yourself questions in the moment it will help you make joyful judgments.
When doing something, ask yourself “Will this bring me joy?” and see what happens. Or ask “Why am I doing something that makes me miserable?” Often, you will find yourself doing things to please others. It is okay to say no and set boundaries. Ask yourself, “What’s the worse thing that could happen if I don’t do this?” If other people get mad at you, than that is their issue. Set limits for yourself so you can stay in joy.