Thanksgiving is here– complete with exaggerated media images of how the day should be – and you may be trying to conform to unrealistic ideals. As a member of the sandwichgeneration with extra demands on your time and added responsibilities, are you on emotional overload? If so, just remind yourself that nothing’s perfect.
Following these common sense strategies will help you create a calmer holiday for you and your family:
1. Realize that anticipatory anxiety is common. Financial burdens and extra chores when entertaining family can make you feel apprehensive and stressed. Accept that this is a normal reaction.
2. Don’t take everything personally. Make sure that you have reasonable expectations. Some family members may be struggling with financial or marital issues that have absolutely nothing to do with you.
3. You don’t have to be all things to all people. If your favorite aunt can’t seem to get along with her ex-husband’s new wife, don’t invite them to this dinner. That will make it easier for everyone.
4. Avoid hot button issues. Sibling rivalry and unfinished family business are bound to surface. Put aside differences and, despite how hard it may be, go for the higher ground. Walk away from misunderstandings but agree to finish the conversation later.
5. Bury the hatchet. If in the past you have stifled your feelings and then blown up later, don’t let your emotions fester. With an important relationship, admit the part you play in the conflict and deal with it.
6. Talk in generalities. If there is tension in the room, discuss the value of apologizing for wrongdoings. Then encourage others to discuss how this quality has enhanced their personal relationships.
7. Practice letting go. You may be feeling childhood pain or longing for family who are gone and now only in your memories. Realize that forgiveness and gratitude are a gift you give yourself.
While taking care of your family during this hectic time, remember to pay attention to your own needs. Plan ahead and accept help from others when they offer. And try to include fun and laughter in what you do. During the holiday season, while you may wish for peace on earth and peace in your family, don’t overlook the importance of your own peace of mind.
We send you warm thoughts and gratitude for being part of our community of amazing women. Here’s an article in the Huffington Post from one of you. Our heartfelt best wishes to you and yours for a wonderful Thanksgiving and a list full of things to be thankful for.