Adulting during the holiday season

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So here we are…again. Halloween is over. It’s now November which means holiday season is around the corner.

Whether you love your family, hate your family or feel somewhere in between, the holidays always brings up a lot of “stuff” for all of us.

What I hear from many of my clients is, “I’ve been working on myself for this entire year. I’m building my confidence and creating a life I love and all it takes is one meal with my family to throw me right back to where I started!”

You can prevent this from happening!

This entire month we’re going to be working on creating a holiday mindset and action plan so you can show up, have turkey and walk away from the experience with you and your sense of self intact.

This week’s topic: In order to ‘adult’ this holiday season you first need to determine what do you really want and need from your family and from yourself?

Whether you are best friends with your parents or you barely speak with your family, the holidays (whether we like it or not) force us to think about our relationships with our loved ones.

Each of us is going into this holiday season with a different set of wants and needs. Some of you are recent college graduates who need your parents to treat you like an adult. Some of you have a parent you love very much but drinks waaaaaay too much. Some of you have a parent or sibling or another family member that has hurt you over and over again and the idea of “playing nice” for one more year makes your blood boil.

The biggest mistake I see my clients make is going into the holiday season with the mindset that they have no control over their family interactions. You can’t control what your parents do or say or how much your uncle may drink or how selfish your sister can be…but you can control how you respond and how you choose to react.

None of us had any say over the family we were born into and as children we need to do what we need to do in order to survive. The best part of being an adult is you get to make choices on how you live your life. More importantly, you get to decide what you will or will not tolerate.

This means you can’t just show up and expect people to know how to treat you and then get upset when they can’t read your mind. You have to first figure out what do you need and want from your family and from yourself.

Action Step: Start journaling

Journaling is a great way to better understand your thoughts and feelings. Journaling gets your internal thoughts — the ones spinning around in your head all day long making you feel confused and anxious — external. Once the internal becomes external, thoughts, feelings, beliefs start to take shape, make more sense and lose their power — in a good way.

Here are some of the questions I want you to journal about:

Knowing that I can’t change my family, how do I want to feel at the end of each day I’m with them?

What’s one thing I can do differently when I’m around my family that will make this visit better than the last?

How will I take care of myself throughout my time with my family?

If someone triggers me and my anxiety or anger or resentment or ________ starts to come to the surface, what will I do?

What mindset do I need to walk in the door with in order to make sure this is a pleasant experience for everyone?

What expectations do I have already? Knowing I can only control myself and my actions, are these realistic?

Feel free to create your own questions. The primary goal is for you to identify what mindset you need to adopt in order to be with your family and remain the fantastic, wonderful, confident, powerful person you are today.

Tess Brigham