Although the holiday season is meant to be fun, it can be difficult to relax when around family that is prone to conflict. We all have some family members we don’t get along with—we may disagree politically, have different pop culture opinions or there might just be something about them we can’t stand. Regardless of the reason, for the sake of everyone involved it’s important to have a game plan for how to deal with family conflict during the holiday season; family can be difficult to escape, for better or for worse. In case you don’t have one already prepared, we at ing have created a game plan just in case conflict arises:
Tip #1: Deep Breathing
Yes, it’s cliche. Everyone knows to breathe deeply when having conflict with anyone, but practicing slow breathing can be especially helpful when dealing with annoying family members. The best plan is to go to a quiet room by yourself to breathe deeply. Stay away from the crazy family shit for a solid three hours by escaping to “meditate” with some sugar cookies and “The Office.” It’s a lot better than hearing Uncle Bob’s racist jokes for the millionth time.
Tip #2: Counting to Ten
Another oldie but a goodie. Apparently, ten seconds is a long enough time to forget that your aunt has pointed out how long you’ve been single… twice. If it helps, try screaming the numbers up to ten so you can’t even hear what anyone else is saying. It may seem strange, but at least you can’t hear those snotty comments for a solid ten seconds of bliss.
Tip #3: Meet a New Family Member
You’ve tried socializing with the usual suspects: grandparents, cousins, siblings… with no success at having a stress-free conversation. Try finding that one family member you don’t really know. We all have one. You’ve seen him before, no one really knows who he is or how he’s related to everyone else, and he always sits in the corner laughing a little too hard at Rudolph. Go find out his life story. If anything, it’s an interesting (though slightly weird) break from the rest of the family.
Tip #4: Eat
Eating delicious food is a wonderful way to forget about your quarrelling cousins. Holiday meals can double as not only great food, but also a surefire path to a self-induced food coma. Napping off that extra helping of dessert is a fabulous way to get a few minutes of peace during the holidays.
Tip #5: Enjoy It
Although we all have some problems with family, the holidays are a time to really enjoy the company of loved ones. Whether you’re spending the season with family, friends, or getting some much-needed alone time, try to have fun and not let the little things bother you. Family and friends are the best gifts of the season—even if they do drive us crazy from time to time. Spread the love this holiday season and hug your grandma one extra time. Happy holidays from ing!
Emily Jenkins is a sophomore student majoring in professional writing and comparative cultures and politics, and minoring in Spanish. She is a crossword puzzle enthusiast, and a soup lover, and she adores gorillas.