Like the song says, “it’s the happiest time of the year”.
But is it really?
The last couple of month might be full of get togethers, good food, family and friends…
And at the same time, it might be full of stress, anxiety, and toxic social situations.
Here’s how to make the most of this holiday season and keep your sanity intact!
How to deal with toxic people
Whether it’s family or friends, there are likely people in your life that are less than healthy to be around. While you can’t control other’s words, thoughts, feelings, or behaviors, you can be in control of yours.
The first step is identifying those people who trigger you. Maybe it’s a narcissistic “friend” or a domineering family member. Personally, I have gotten pretty good at cutting people out of my life who are not healthy. That being said, you might not feel like that’s an option. You also may have not yet realized just how toxic someone is. Either way, it’s time to evaluate the people you spend your time with. How do they make you feel? If you find you are always having to defend yourself, second guess yourself, or you just plain feel bad about yourself after interacting with them, they are on your trigger list.
You might not be able to avoid them altogether this holiday season, but you can definitely prepare yourself mentally so that you can take back your control in these situations.
- Limit the amount of time that you spend with these people one-on-one. If you stay in group situations, there are safety in numbers (assuming it’s not a group of like-minded jerks who will gang up on you).
- Keep the conversation on them. This will not only make them feel good, but it will keep them from being able to pick a part what you say and what you are doing.
- If it’s a family member or unavoidable “friend” that continuously makes you feel bad or doubt yourself, let them know how it makes you feel. Their intention (hopefully) isn’t to make you feel bad and maybe they don’t realize the effect their words and actions have on you. When you find yourself in situations like this, use “I” statements about how you feel as opposed to “you” statements about them. If they feel attacked, they’re likely going to get defensive.
- If you have done all of the above and the situation doesn’t get better, it might be time to consider limiting the time you spend with them and if you are able to, maybe eliminate that time altogether.
When you know you are going to be walking into these situations, one of my favorite things to do is spend time preparing. Take some “me time” before you’re required to spend time with those on your trigger list (actually this is a good exercise if you are spending time in any group) and make an empowering list of who you are. Fill yourself up with your truth so when you go into these social situations you are in an empowered head space mentally. You’ll be surprised at the boundaries that you create and confidence you feel which in turn will effect how people treat you.