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It's that time of year again! The weather is frightful…more like delightful here in Australia!

Christmas music is everywhere, and you're stuck with your family without a school bus or a work commute in sight. There's nothing better than spending some extra time with your loved ones (it's what the holidays are all about, after all), but even the closest kin can get testy when they're together for days- or even weeks- at a time.

It is our seven days of Christmas treat to offer up seven ways to survive festive family time!

 

  1. Get moving

Everyone abandons their routines, exercise and otherwise, when they travel, amplifying their stress and anxiety. A day of holiday travel puts everyone on edge before they even arrive. This makes you, and your family, like caged animals. Try and go for a walk every day or every evening. Even 20 minutes of light exercise will reduce your stress and restore your tolerance for annoyances. Get as many people up and outside for a game of touch football, tag, or just a walk around the block. Fresh air can do wonders.

 

  1. Form allies

Who are your favourite family members? Enlist their help as an oasis of serenity (“Can you help me calm down when Dad’s driving me crazy?”). Offer to reciprocate with whoever it is that drives them crazy.

 

  1. Play games

Board and card games are an age old tradition for sharing time with people you love but who also drive you crazy. Games have rules and the rules eliminate many frustrations of interacting with certain people. The better the game the more positive that experience is. 

 

       4. Keep laughing…or you might cry!

Let's face facts. Everyone's family is a little bit crazy (some more than others), and the holidays often contain more stress than we are willing to admit. Instead of feeling flustered and embarrassed while Uncle Elbert spends the greater portion of Christmas dinner trying to get your sister's boyfriend to sign up for his Ponzi scheme and your mother-in-law shows up with all three of her Great Danes to stay the week, pretend your life is a TV sitcom and have a good laugh. Remember, whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger. (With the exception of Grandma's vegetarian mincemeat and tofu pie. That might actually do you in, so be careful.)

 

  1. Organize an event that creates a memory

For example, create a cookbook. Ask relatives to donate stories or recipes to share with each other. Take pictures and make a photo album to share.

 

  1. Have an attitude of gratitude

Yeah, they may be annoying, but it's your family…and you definitely aren’t the only one thinking it!

 

  1. Relax!

It’s the holidays! Take a load off! You love your family, and they love you. This doesn’t have to be a stressful or traumatic experience. Enjoy the fact that you’re spending time surrounded by love, even if said love may sometimes drive you a little bonkers. If you do find yourself getting too stressed out, do the little things you do whenever you find yourself stressed any other day of the year. Step outside and gather your thoughts if that helps. Maybe excuse yourself and listen to one of your favourite songs. Just do whatever works for you.

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