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Part 2 - Five tips to manage those festive triggers - by Karen Holmes

Tip #3 Try not to re-enact old roles

When you’re back in the family dynamic, it is hard not to succumb to those old patterns. If you find yourself back in an old role that you didn’t particularly enjoy the first time round or when you were younger, try to change the pattern. Families are notorious for scape-goating various family members, or labelling a family member according to a particular time or event in the past, and not really allowing them to forget it. Sometimes this feels hurtful and is hard to handle. Instead, think about how you would normally react; and honestly reflect on your own role in sustaining this tricky dynamic. Is there a different way you could react, that would suit you better, that is assertive without being aggressive?

Tip #4 Escape

If it is really getting too much when you are hosting, people are generally so otherwise occupied on Christmas Day and thereabouts, that it is relatively easy to mention a chore that needs to be done, or something that needs to be seen to – while you escape to your bedroom and take a breather. Lie down on the bed – put a favourite song on or do a quick meditation!

Tip #5 Down time

When the day is over (and you have congratulated yourself on managing the day, albeit with a few hiccups), take some time out. Try to resist the urge to pack in lots of events together, even if others are pressurising you to do so. Even better, outsource a picnic or similar, so that you can control your entry and exit, according to how your energy is during this time.


Merry Christmas from all of us at Burleigh Heads Psychology and Relationship Clinic!


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