Your Relationships: Surviving the Holidays

The holidays are a wonderful time of year to spend time with your loved ones. But if your family life involves more fighting than laughing, your love life is nonexistent, and your friends are all busy with their own lives, you may find yourself with a lonely, awkward, or miserable holiday. How can you make it through?

Family
Hopefully, if you’ve been working on your relationships through the year, things may have gotten a little better. And the holidays can be the perfect time to make huge leaps forward as many people feel more generous and loving. When it comes to family, try talking to the people you have strained relationships with. Perhaps you can put the conflict aside for at least one day so everyone can enjoy themselves.

If that doesn’t work, you can also try simply making alternate plans. Just be careful not to slight the people you’re trying to reconcile with — that would set you back rather than move you forward. Have your alternate plans be an understandable choice: spending time with in-laws, volunteering to serve meals to the less fortunate, having a quiet day at home. If travel would have been involved, explain how you want to save money this year.

Love Life
Avoid sappy holiday movies! If you’re not in a relationship, they will likely only make you feel worse. Though if you’re in a strained relationship, they can perhaps remind you of the warm, fuzzy feelings you got in the beginning.

Either way, many associate this time of year with love, and if you’re not in a relationship, or in a strained relationship, that can be difficult to deal with. Try distracting yourself from your relationship status. Spend time with other family and friends, or volunteer to help the less fortunate. Focus on everything you do have, rather than how your life is lacking.

I would discourage you from setting up first dates for the holiday. In the event it goes badly, it will ruin your day. If you want to be with someone for the holiday, try having a couple of dates before the day hits first. See if you’re compatible before throwing them into the holiday mix.

Being Alone
If your primary concern is being alone — and lonely — for the holiday, the key is distraction. Look into local organizations who need volunteers for the holidays: soup kitchens, hospitals, etc. These places don’t close for the holiday, and may even be busier. Spread a little holiday cheer to those who need it even more than you, and you may just have a happy holiday yourself.

If volunteering isn’t your thing, line up things to do that you’ve been wanting to do but haven’t gotten a chance to. Not everywhere is closed for Christmas, but even if you decide to stay home, you have plenty of options: movies or TV shows to watch, video games to play, manicures and pedicures to give yourself, baking to do — the possibilities are endless. By planning out a day for yourself, you’ll have something to look forward to rather than dread. Enjoy the day off!

While in a picture perfect world the holidays would be spent surround by those we love, you can still have a happy holiday by yourself or with others. It’s all in the preparations and expectations.

 

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