Relationships are an important part of living a balanced life. But during the holiday Christmas season, relationships can lead us to feel a host of uncomfortable emotions. If you are experiencing stress in any one of your relationships (i.e., romance, friends, or family), it’s easy to feel like a major part of your life is out of balance.
During the Holidays, you might feel obligated to spend time with people you are not fond of, or you might find yourself unable to be with people you care deeply about. Either situation can lead you to feel stressed and lonely.
Imbalance in Relationships during the Holidays
At this time of year, we are bombarded with images of happy, smiling families showing off shiny, new, expensive gifts. This is a far cry from the image of a lone parent who is away from their children on Christmas Day, and vice versa.
Alternatively, the Holidays might involve a lot of planning, negotiating, scheduling and traveling to see different friends and family members. This can also be stressful and anxiety-provoking, to say the least.
That’s not what the Holidays are about. That’s not what balance is about. Balance is about finding harmony within your relationships and between the other areas of your life (e.g., mental health, physical health, interests and hobbies, spirituality).
There will always be times in the year when your relationships won’t feel perfect, but by changing your perceptions and behaviours, you can improve the way you handle them.
Tips For Finding Balance In Your Relationships
Here are a few thoughts on how you can change your perspective on relationships, and how you can manage social situations so that you have more balance in this area of your life.
- Put it in perspective. You won’t feel lonely or be alone every day of the year. Christmas Day is just one day. If you are alone, then use the day to treat yourself and do something special. Beginning December 26th, you will have 364-days worth of opportunities to develop positive moments in your relationships.
- Make civility the reality. If you are feeling stressed about whom you might see over the Holidays, remind yourself that you don’t need to love them. You only need to be civil with them.
- Make it worthwhile. What can you do to make the most out of an uncomfortable situation? How can you improve your ability to manage stressful encounters? Reflect on what you can do to grow in this regard.
- Distinguish between what’s in your control and what’s not. No matter what you do, you can’t control how someone else chooses to behave. All you can do is manage how you respond.
- Practice Empathy. Although you might not be looking forward to some of the social events or people you will be interacting with over the Holidays, your presence could be benefiting someone else. I’ve spoken with many people who look forward to the Holiday Season because it’s the only time they get together with friends and family. You might not want to be there, but for your host or someone else at the gathering, your presence could bring some pleasure and balance to their life.
Remember that no relationship is perfect. But every relationship you have can provide you with some lesson or teaching that will you move closer towards a more balanced and fulfilling life.