environment, but that may not be enough to stop people from acting out.
1. Give Yourself Permission to “Check Out” if Necessary
There is no written rule that you need to be at every family function from start until finish.
As a matter of fact, to preserve your mental health you may have to find ways to step away.
Going late, leaving early, or finding moments to take breaks for relaxation and deep breathing can be lifesavers for moments like these.
2. Set Firm Boundaries
If you have a repeat offender relative who tends to be the primary disrupter on the holidays, set boundaries with that person before the event. It helps if you have the support of other relatives.
Being firm with that individual about what behavior is problematic, how it affects everyone else, and what you all plan to do if the person doesn’t respect the boundaries being set can help with creating a more peaceful day.
The best boundaries are clear and concise with no room for misunderstanding. Boundaries that are too loose don’t typically stop the behavior. Boundaries that are too firm and rigid, tend to be unrealistic and set the person up for failure. As difficult as it sounds, practice makes perfect!
Taking the time to prepare for the drama we know is likely coming is the best way to deal with family drama. We can’t pick our family and we can’t prevent all the drama.
With some planning on our part and setting realistic expectations, we can decrease our level of surprise and disappointment when it comes our way.
Dr. Nicole Washington is a board-certified psychiatrist, speaker, author and host of The C-Suite Confidant, a biweekly podcast covering topics pertinent to mental wellness for the high performer. She enjoys discussing and providing education on all things mental wellness in hopes of decreasing the stigma associated with mental health issues.