Want to survive the holidays? 11 tips for dealing with family and friends

Thanksgiving is coming up, and Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa will be upon us much sooner than we expect. What these holidays have in common is that they celebrate the spirit of togetherness among family, friends and communities.

But with any collection of human beings, you’re bound to have conflicts. That’s true even in the most loving families, with people bringing to a gathering their different personalities and views on everything from the right food to serve to whether it’s OK to mix a political debate into a turkey dinner conversation.

It turns out there are certain conflicts that are pretty common and often inevitable, according to experts. With that in mind, we asked three experts to offer tips on how to address them, either ahead of time or when they come up so you can enjoy that spirit of togetherness.

Our experts are Carolyn Hax, the syndicated advice columnist with the Washington Post; and Bay Area-based marriage and family therapists Margie Ryerson and Amanda Somberg. Here’s how they suggest you handle 11 holiday conundrums:

Is it OK to have your own Christmas?

The choice can depend on whether you’re single or in a couple, Hax said. Singles can decide on their own, while couples need to work out the issue together. But you should never feel bad if you and your partner want the holiday to yourselves. “It’s not a declaration of war. It’s just Christmas,” Hax said.

Which family should you spend the holidays with?

According to Hax, start by asking, “What’s your top priority: Fairness? Yourself? Each other?” Once you know the answers to these questions, “the decisions become easy to make, though they still may feel difficult to execute,” she said.

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How do you deal with depression or grief among those who are jolly?

If you’re depressed or getting over a recent loss, you should prioritize your health by making sure you’re getting enough sleep and exercise and by eating a healthy diet, said Somberg. Try not to take on too much, and break down holiday tasks like shopping, gift-wrapping or cooking into “smaller bits,” which can give you a better sense of control over your emotional state. Above all, try to be present and mindful of small moments, like the flavor of the eggnog you’re drinking, the lights on the trees

Source:: The Mercury News – Lifestyle

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