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Part 1 - Five tips to manage those festive triggers - by Karen Holmes

It’s not uncommon to get emotionally triggered during the festive season but there are ways we can manage this better. 


As the Christmas break looms, you might already be feeling stressed: you have sooo much to do, but even more so how are you going to cope seeing your mother-in-law/aunt/father during this time? Last year you felt exhausted from the tension. The good news is that there are ways to respond rather than react to these triggers. 

One of the most common refrains from clients around this time of year is how to manage difficult family members and relatives at big, festive get togethers. Sometimes they are relatives you don’t see very often but “tradition states” you see them on Christmas Day. It’s not always easy to get out of arrangements when multiple people are involved, so it can be about working within these limitations.

Things to remind yourself:

Tip #1 Their behaviour, usually, is about them – not you

It can be good to remind yourself of this, while you are breathing deeply for what feels like the umpteenth time that day. You’ve always suspected Auntie Pat is a deeply unhappy person, so maybe her negative comments are more about her and how she is feeling, rather than personally directed at you.

Tip #2 Plan ahead

It’s all about strategy – have you and your partner or someone else you trust planned how you will manage Great Uncle Joe’s infamous passive aggressive comments? Can someone laugh it off, or change the topic quickly? Failing that, does he need to be taken aside and gently reminded today is not the day for his grievances from the past….

Stay tuned for next week with tip 3 - 4 and 5 🎄

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