For many of us, it not always easy to spend time with relatives. All that shared stuff, due in part to the behavior of a few. There are many reasons in these backgrounds we share. Some based on generations after generations of behavior and sometimes due to behavior of just one individual.
Regardless of the reason or the season a gathering of our relatives can be stressful. The travel, the judgement, the attitudes and the history shared can be exhausting. So what’s a person to do? Well here are a few key skills I’ve found very helpful to use.
Skills to Help Me Deal with Family Gatherings
Breathing in on the count of four holding for four and breathing out on six (Four seconds, Four Seconds and Six Seconds). This breathing exercise helps me slow my heart rate, lower my anxiety and deal with the stuff going on around me.
I take an early morning, mid afternoon and late night walk. I do the Turtle Walk at the end of each walk for 3 minutes. I walk with ease and slowly, to a four second count. I walk slowly and practice mindfulness. I feel each footstep and I move slowly feeling the heel of my foot, the pad of my foot and then my toes touch the inside of my footwear with each step.
The goal is slowness with awareness.
Why do I feel what I feel with those I feel it with? I had an aunt, who has now died. Oh, I tried to like her as a kid. Yet I never could. Her judgement of others was harsh.
As an adult I now understand the burdens she carried unknowingly and then shared! This does not excuse her adult behavior but it certainly helps me understand it. With understanding I am better able to deflect the words and attitudes of others. Only if I feel safe. If I don’t feel safe then I need to take safe and appropriate precautions.
So there are three ideas on how to better deal with your holiday gatherings. I wish you safe travels and enjoyable times with those that love and respect you.