Column: Strengthening family relationships during the holiday season
By ALETHEA PRICE
There is no better time to strengthen the most important relationships in your life than the holiday season! Holidays can be very busy and stressful, but they can also be opportunities to celebrate life with the people you love. Here are some ideas for strengthening family relationships during the holidays.
- Shift your focus from what has to be done to what you want to experience with the people you care about. So many things around the holiday season have to be done. It can make the holidays feel like one big giant obligation. Shift your attitude from obligation to your hopes for your family during the holidays. It may surprise you how much a shift in focus can do!
- Make your goal clear. Let your family know that your No. 1 goal is to strengthen your family during the holiday season. Use language that makes it something everyone will want to do rather than something people feel forced to do. Communicate your goals for how you plan to strengthen relationships with each member of your family. When you communicate that you care about people and tell them they are your No. 1 priority, it can be amazing how they will respond!
- Practice self-care. We are happiest and most likely to have positive exchanges with our families when we are taking proper care of ourselves. Get enough rest and eat regular meals. Do something you enjoy or have wanted to do and take a little “me time.” You will surprise yourself when you realize how much more positive your family interactions can be after you have taken some time to care for yourself!
- Put down the technology and focus on each other! We all spend too much time on computers, iPads, smart phones and other technologies. The best way to strengthen family relationships is to do something together and focus on each other. Play a fun family board game. Volunteer at a food pantry or nursing home as a family. Bake your favorite dessert together. Tell jokes together. It does not matter what you are doing, just do it together!
- Spend time reflecting together as a family. What are your favorite memories from past holidays? What traditions are important to your family? How can we work together as a family to keep a focus on the positive? How can we work as a family to reduce stress? Sharing these reflections can help to reduce future conflict and feel better understood.
The holidays are about spending time with family and making memories. I know it can be a stressful time with long to do lists, events, and travel. Keep in mind that your perspective can shift to a more positive outlook. Each shopping trip is an experience, each event you attend is a memory, and each task completed is a goal achieved. Stay positive this holiday season. Each day with your family is a precious gift. Don’t take this time for granted, live life to the fullest.
For more information on how to build strong families email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.