For many of us, celebrating the holiday season means seeing family. And while this is a wonderful opportunity to reconnect with loved ones, it can also bring up some challenging feelings. With this in mind, here is a short list of ideas for interacting with loved ones during the holidays. If you have any additional suggestions, please share them in the comments below!
1. Practice Shalom Bayit: This is a traditional Jewish concept that literally translates to “peace in the home.” Shalom Bayit essentially means that it is more important to be happy as a family than it is to be right. In other words, pick your battles and let go of the rest. Of course, it is important to speak up when we want to communicate an important point. But being around family means that you will undoubtedly be faced with some triggering behavior. There are countless ways this can manifest, but the point is to release the need to confront every single thing that bothers us about our families. I know this is easier said than done.
A healthy first step you can take is to pause before responding to something that anyone says. Just take a moment to breathe and center your energy. I might excuse myself to go to the bathroom if I really need a break. Even if you choose to speak up, pausing will give you critical time to organize your thoughts, as well as to decide if it’s worth engaging.
2. Use Your Cosmic Chandelier: I use this technique all the time around the holidays. Close your eyes and imagine a shimmering light hovering in the center of the room you will be spending time in. This light can take the form of a glowing ball, an actual chandelier, or sparkles of light. It can be any color you choose, although I most often use white. When you have the light clear in your mind, imagine it attracting and neutralizing all negative energy in the room. As it attracts this negative energy, allow it to rise until it is touching the ceiling.
Sensitive people tend to bring the lightest energy in the room, which can feel draining after awhile. Visualizing the Cosmic Chandelier will ensure that any heavier energy will be attracted to it (and not to you).
3. Understand Your Boundaries: Many families who travel to see each other feel an obligation to spend every last minute together. This is an effort to maximize family bonding but can also have the unintended consequence of creating a pressure-cooker atmosphere. I have personally experienced this, and I always have to remind myself that taking breaks are okay. Try to schedule some “quiet time” for each day that you will be with family. This can be anything from a long walk, to running errands, or even reading quietly in your room. The point is to make sure that you have time alone to regroup and center yourself.