By Althea Fernandes

The holidays are supposed to be a season of joy, love and connection. However, for many people they can instead be a source of stress, anxiety and relationship difficulties. The pressure to create perfect holiday experiences for ourselves, our families and our loved ones is high.

Confronted with endless requests, impending deadlines, conflicting commitments and high emotions, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed, exhausted and frustrated. The good news is that  with the right mindset and strategies it is possible to get through the holidays with your relationships and boundaries intact.

Here are some tips for surviving the holidays and managing your relationships with ease.

1. Set Boundaries: The holidays can be a busy and overwhelming time. To avoid feeling frazzled, set boundaries for yourself and communicate them with your loved ones. This may mean scheduling specific days for family events or saying no to certain holiday traditions that you find stressful. Remember, it’s OK to take time for yourself during the holidays.

2. Practice Active Listening: When spending time with family or friends during the holidays, practice active listening. This means genuinely listening to what others have to say without interrupting or thinking about your response. This can help avoid misunderstandings and promote deeper connections with your loved ones.

3. Communicate Openly: Communication is key in any relationship, particularly during the holidays. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or anxious, communicate your feelings to those around you. This may involve having difficult conversations with family members or friends, but it’s essential to be honest about your emotions.

4. Manage Expectations: Expectations can be high during the holidays, which can lead to disappointment if they are not met. To avoid this, manage your expectations and communicate them with your loved ones. If you’re unable to attend an event or aren’t able to provide expensive gifts, communicate this and don’t let guilt or shame dictate your actions.

5. Prioritize Self-Care: Self-care is crucial during the holidays, especially when it comes to managing relationships. Make time for activities that bring you joy, such as exercising, meditating, reading or spending time outdoors. Prioritizing self-care can help you manage stress and prioritize your well-being during the holiday season.

6. Focus on the Positive: It’s easy to get caught up in the stress and chaos of the holidays, but it’s important to focus on the positive aspects. Take time to enjoy the company of loved ones, participate in traditions that bring you joy, and reflect on the good things in your life.

7. Practice Forgiveness: The holiday season can bring up old wounds and unresolved conflicts. To manage relationships effectively, it’s important to practice forgiveness. This doesn’t mean forgetting past hurtful actions but instead, choosing to let go of anger and resentment.

In conclusion, managing relationships during the holiday season can be challenging, but it doesn’t have to be unbearable. Setting boundaries, practicing active listening, communicating openly, managing expectations, prioritizing self-care, focusing on the positive, and practicing forgiveness are all effective ways to navigate the holiday season effectively. With these tips, you can survive the holidays and even enjoy the season with your loved ones.