Christmas Anxieties

By Alicia Falzon

Well, Christmas is almost here and I still have time to pause and reflect on how I can manage myself during this busy, sometimes stressful domain of family relationships. I am aware of the differing degrees of relationship stress from relationship sensitivities, financial anxieties, the process of gift giving and the fact of just being so close to one another in one house.

My goal this year is to try to stay in my own skin. For me this means:

1. To try to not take personally others reactions and words. I am aware that others have their own stuff to deal with. My job is to stay as calm as I can and to not withdraw. To be present and accounted for.

2. To endeavour not to do all the tasks and then complain after that no one was helping. My effort this year was to ask for help when I needed it and to politely delegate other jobs.

3. To accept the partners that my children have chosen. I need to be respectful and considerate to them. If I like them and love them, then that is a bonus. This is a way of describing the differentiation of self.

4. It is what it is. I am not the keeper of the happy togetherness family on behalf of other family members who are sensitive to me. It is my responsibility to give other family members room to work on their own stuff and to not fix it for them.

My plan is to try to manage my own anxieties, these include the happy anxieties as well as the negative anxieties. This would also mean to not drink too much, take my exercise and vitamins, get good sleep each night. I also know that I need some time out for myself.

I am hoping to do better this year than I did last year, there is always room for change and improvement. I feel that my sensitivity to strong emotional reactions will always be there, but I am hoping to be less reactive and to withdraw less. I don’t have to take on others upsets and still stay connected.

These are just small steps and changes that I am taking on board to change the climate of our holiday gathering.

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