Happy holiday season! Around this time of year is when a lot of people tend to spend the most time with their families.. which can cause mixed emotions. For some, the thought of family time alone is a huge stressor. Whether that stems from toxic patterns, real trauma, or simply frivolous frustrations, it’s a valid way to feel. Even those who have great relationships with their families can still feel overwhelmed during the holidays. 

However, spending time with family is scientifically proven to have mental health benefits, including the reduction of stress and anxiety. Plus having strong family bonds can lead to healthier life choices, strong self-esteem, good communication skills, and even a longer lifespan. So, even if it may be tough to get along with your family, try to embrace family time for the gift that it is. 

The truth is that no family is perfect, no matter how much they may seem so. Even the most functional of families have their baggage. We all go through family drama, and it’s high time to normalize talking about that reality. Let’s have the hard conversations, with ourselves, with our loved ones, and with everyone else. Saying it like it is can be incredibly freeing, whether it’s getting those heavy emotions off your chest or owning up to the fact that we’re all far from perfect.

If you find yourself feeling drained from the complicated family dynamics and deep-seated triggers, don’t be afraid to take some time for yourself. Try to tune in to your stress cues and practice self-care. If you’re starting to feel heated or overwhelmed, just take a step back so that you can re-center. Maintaining a self-care routine can be difficult when traveling or hosting, but virtual therapy can be a great solution. As always, Kennedy Counseling Collective is here for you, wherever you are – physically and emotionally.