Why Family Therapy Can Help You Through the Holidays
Nov 20, 2019
We look forward to the holiday season with innocent excitement, as small children, however, as adults, the holidays tend to bring with them increased levels of stress and anxiety. Much of this anxiety revolves around spending increased amounts of time with extend family. Whether it's your in-laws or your own parents, no one knows quite how to push your buttons like family. As you're preparing for long family visits, planning menus for big meals or organizing sleeping arrangements in your home, the ensuing stressors can be overwhelming and emotionally trying for anyone. This can be especially draining on someone with a history of anxiety or depression.
Applying some of the basic tenets of family therapy theory can help to lessen the stress of a variety of holiday situations.
It is easy to get caught up in holiday activity and planning. Make sure you take some time for yourself. This can be as simple as going for a solitary walk, research has shown that just a 10-minute walk can boost moods for up to two hours! Besides, raising your heart rate releases endorphins that will boost your mood, and also give you time to think about your situation.
Have Clear Boundaries:
Holiday traditions tend to be rooted deeply. If you are planning to make a change this holiday make sure you set very clear boundaries far in advance to that everyone can get used to the change. If, for instance, you've decided to stay home for Christmas morning, and you've typically visited relatives be sure to explain this well ahead of time. It can be very difficult to say no to the people we love, making sure you, and your spouse are on the same page when setting boundaries with extended family will help to eliminate a lot of holiday drama.
Set Realistic Expectations:
You cannot expect that everything will run smoothly when there are so many moving pieces during the holiday season. It is okay if you don't make it to every party you're invited to, if you wear the same holiday dress you wore last year, and if your Christmas cookies are frosted in only one color. You decide what you can manage and don't be afraid to accept that you cannot do everything.
Plan and Set a Budget:
Many stressors over the holidays boil down to expenses. Early in the holiday season be sure to sit with your family and discuss your budget. Then, stick to it. It may be tempting to stray from your budget, but money stressors are an extremely common complaint in relationship counseling sessions.
If your family is struggling with the stressors the holidays bring please contact us today to discuss how family therapy might be just the support you need.