5 Tips to Keep Your Peace With Family During the Holidays
The holidays are here! It’s a wonderful time of celebrating the birth of our Savior with friends and family, many of whom we only see once or twice a year. And as much as we enjoy this special time, family members are really good at getting on our nerves. Here are five tips to help you keep your peace as you’re with family this season.
First Thessalonians 5:17 tells you to “pray without ceasing” (KJV). This includes praying for wisdom during family events. Ask God to help you see your family members as He sees them. They are complex people with their own thoughts and opinions, which may be different from yours, and that’s OK. But with God’s help you can keep a heavenly perspective during your gatherings.
2. Avoid Politics
This is wise, age-old advice—heed it! Political discourse is important when your goal is to effect change. Call your senator, write your congressperson, become active in local politics, but don’t think that debating political ideology with grandma is going to do anything but create a stressful atmosphere.
3. Take a Walk
When it becomes too much, throw on your coat and scarf and take a walk. God’s creation is naturally soothing. Listen to the wind and the birds and take a moment to clear your mind. Studies show that exercise is a natural antidepressant, and even a 10-minute walk can improve clarity of mind and brain function, putting you in a better place to deal with your family members.
4. Be Present
When you’re participating in a conversation with a loved one, really listen. Make eye contact. Be present in that moment instead of planning your response or thinking about tomorrow. People can tell when you’re actively listening, and it makes them feel loved and valued, which contributes to a peaceful atmosphere.
5. Turn the Tables
Sometimes friends and family talk incessantly about stressful topics. Don’t seethe and allow stress to build, simply turn the tables. Instead of listening to them go on and on about this person, or that thing, ask them about themselves. “How have you been feeling?” “What new projects have you been working on?” “What is the funniest thing that happened to you as a child?” People love telling you about themselves, and learning new things about friends and family can be fun.
The holidays are supposed to be a time filled with family, friends and fun. All too often we allow ourselves to become bogged down with stress and worry about things that are, in the end, inconsequential. Remember that your loved ones are a great blessing from God. Keep your peace and enjoy their company. It may be the best part of your holidays!