Don't let a Debbie Downer take away your holiday fun. You have the right to enjoy this season even if a Scrooge shows up!
The holidays are time for family get-togethers, enjoying family and friends, laughing, and exchanging gifts. But some families aren't that lucky...and they get stuck with a Scrooge. It can be exhausting to be around pessimistic comments, hearing negative views of the holidays, or being told about what isn't just right. These ongoing negative comments can rub off and bring you down if you let them.
Don’t get stuck in that holiday slump! Here are a few tips to survive the holiday:
Filter the Comments:
If a family member is negative, don’t let it dampen the mood. Instead of letting the comments keep you down, filter the comments and only allow yourself to think about the good statements. Yes, this is easier said than done, but with some conscious effort you can learn to let go of the bad comments and focus on the positive ones.
Stop the “Negative Radar”:
When we are aware of how negative a person reacts, we tend to build a “negative radar” and notice every complaint — you might even start to anticipate them or look for them. Instead, turn off the radar and stop looking for the negative comments and reactions. Focus your mind on the good things about the holiday, like having fun with more positive family members, and remembering the things you love around the holidays.
Shift Your View:
Many people who are negative about the holidays often have a painful past or simply try to connect with others through self-pity and negativity. The problem here is that it hurts relationships, rather than creating a connection or handling the past pains. Shift your view and see the Scrooge as sad and attempting to connect with others (even though it doesn’t feel like it). Try to look at him from a new lens.
Take breaks throughout the day, calm your nerves, and re-energize yourself. When people get upset and bothered, the body reacts. It tightens up, and you will take shorter breathes. Make an effort to take deep breathes, oxygenate your body, and calm down. If you notice that you’re getting agitated, take breaks away from the negative environment and step outside or taking “bathroom” breaks. A 5-10 minute break can help re-energize and help you get through the day.
Play a game:
Take a challenge with your partner and bet on how many times a negative comments come out. Spice up the holiday a bit and play a game with it. Learn how to see it as funny and something that can tighten your bond with your partner. Make fun of the situation and don’t let it keep you down…. I dare you!
Focus on the Goal:
Remind yourself that there is an end and you get to go home. Focus on why you are there, instead of getting irritated. If your goal is to have a good holiday, make it happen! Don’t let other people get in your way.
Check out a related article about the holiday stress: Surviving the Holidays
About Jennine Estes, MFT
Think of me as your relationship consultant, I'm your neutral third party that can help you untangle the emotions and help you figure out what's really going on. I am a Marriage and Family Therapist in San Diego, CA. Certified in Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples. Supervisor. I write relationship and self growth advice for my column Relationships in the Raw. Creator of #BeingLOVEDIs campaign. MFC#47653