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Navigating Relationships Throughout the Holidays

Navigating Relationships Throughout the Holidays
December is full of holidays and this year many of us will be able to see family and friends! These our tips focus on how to manage relationships as we navigate reuniting with loved ones. 

Many of us are feeling uneasy about this holiday season and the different gatherings to attend. It's a great time to reach out to people you trust and share any reservations for this upcoming season. You're definitely not the only person feeling this way.

Over the past two years, many of us have gone through dark times during the holiday season. It's okay, and in fact quite normal, to have many different feelings about holiday plans. Make time to get in touch with your feelings; know that whatever you're feeling is OKAY!

If you're feeling pressure to spend money you don't have this holiday season, DIY is a great place to start. Hit up thrift or dollar stores & get super creative with gift giving. If you're really not in a space to spend money, consider writing heartfelt letters to give.

Take some time to decide what you'll be doing this holiday season and who you'll be doing it with. If you're feeling anxious about attending something, take some time to reflect. You have time to change your mind if you need something different. 

Create an exit plan if you're attending family/friend functions this holiday season. There are many reasons we'll experience big feelings this year and it's perfectly okay to pre-arrange an early exit if you need to.

A lot of us are feeling a bit more hopeful this holiday season as restrictions have shifted. Feeling unsure and anxious about where things will be toward the end of the month? Go day by day, create a couple alternatives with friends/family "just in case".

This year you may not want to do anything over the holiday season. Whatever you decide to do, is the right choice for you!

Plan things over the holidays that are fun for you! Remember this is YOUR holiday season as well.

Who are the folks in your support circle? Coordinate some times with them that you can reach out as needed over the holidays. It makes a huge difference when you can vent as you navigate the holidays.

Reuniting with family and loved ones can be overstimulating at times. Take time over the holidays to reflect on how you're feeling and consider journalling about it.

The holiday season and grief often go hand in hand. There may be an empty chair at the dining table or family traditions might not feel the same without your loved one. Sit with these reminders and the pain they bring, and be gentle with yourself.

For those struggling with disordered eating and/or body image, this time of year can be challenging. Make a game plan so you can manage your triggers, like fear foods or insensitive language from family. Think about where you could go or who you could reach out to for support.

The holidays are often family-oriented, which is hard when you don't have a good relationship with yours. Remember, family is what you define it as & doesn't have to include actual relatives. Focus your energy on those who love/care about you & make your own traditions.

Sometimes the holidays can be far from the most joyful time of year. However, one way to spark some joy is to practice gratitude. Make it a daily habit to write down who or what you are thankful for.

It's okay to prioritize yourself during the holidays. Give yourself permission to spend time alone & practice self love. Take yourself out on a solo date, buy yourself a present or make yourself a hot drink. Give yourself the gift of self compassion this holiday season.

Maybe you've done some healing work to forgive a person or people who have hurt you, but forgiving doesn't mean you have to rebuild a relationship with them. You get to decide if that's what you want or not.

Not sure how to have hard conversations with family this holiday season? Read this blog on Grammarly for tips.

Gathering face to face for the holidays may feel a little strange. Try and stay present during your interactions with family and friends. Listen, ask questions, and be mindful.

If you can, give back this holiday season. Donate food or presents, volunteer, or write someone a card. Get your family or friends together and share some kindness with the world. After all, community care is self care.

Take a look at this article, Holidays During the Pandemic, about tips for reducing stress, helping kids cope, and making new traditions during the pandemic.

When meeting friends and family after a while you may not know how you feel or how you want the interaction to go. Before seeing them, set an intention to help you feel a bit more at ease when interacting with them in the moment.

If you're missing a loved one during this holiday season, spend some time doing something they enjoyed or cooking their favourite meal for dinner to make them part of the festivities.

If you're not ready to see everybody this holiday season that is okay. Check in with yourself before making plans with people to make sure that it's a healthy decision.

Some of your loved ones might not be ready to meet everybody yet, that is okay. Respect their boundaries and ask if they'd like to join in virtually or in another way.

It might be hard explaining to your loved ones why you're not comfortable meeting up. Take time to write out what you'd like to say before talking to them. You can use the letter building tool from Kids Help Phone to support you. 

Plan a set of self care activities you can do before and after spending time with friends and family to help you regroup.

If at any point you decide that you're not comfortable meeting friends and family in person it's okay to say no. Your sense of safety is a priority.

While making plans to meet with family and friends, make sure to schedule time just for yourself to do things that bring you comfort.

Check in with yourself and your loved ones when deciding where you'll be meeting up and spending time with each other. Decide on a space where everybody is comfortable. This may be at home, outdoors or somewhere with less people.

It's okay to not continue responding to someone if they have been disrespecting your boundaries or pressuring you to hangout after you've let them know that you are not comfortable.

Remember there are many virtual ways to continue staying connected with your friends and family in a fun way. Try mixing a couple of those in while you ease into meeting everybody in person. Check this list 11 Creative Fun Ideas for Virtual Hangouts for more ideas.