Compass Health Network


25 Days of Ways to Deal with Family Dynamics Around the Holidays

The countdown to the holidays has begun! And while it may be the most wonderful time of year, family dynamics can also make it the most stressful time of year.

What is family dynamics? If you’re looking at a basic family dynamics definition, it’s about the interactions and factors that shape them with relatives. However, knowing the family dynamics meaning isn’t enough.

From healthy to narcissistic family dynamics, it can be a challenge during the holidays for anyone. Keep reading for tips on how to deal with your family this holiday season.

December 1-5: Don’t Burn Out

As December begins, calendars quickly fill up. It’s crucial to prioritize gatherings so you don’t burn out faster than chestnuts roasting over an open fire.

Here are a few things to remember as the party and open house invitations begin to roll in:

  • Remember it’s okay to say no.
  • Know when to say no.
  • Turn off your phone if you’re tempted to cave into the pressure.
  • Don’t let social media overwhelm you.
  • Talk to your therapist about setting and maintaining boundaries.

December 6-10: Can Someone Make Those Drummers Stop Drumming?

The music and lights around the holidays can quickly become overwhelming for people with sensory issues. Know how to protect yourself before enjoying Christmas lights with your family.

  • March to the beat of your own drum! (Noise-canceling headphones with music that relaxes you).
  • Be the cool kid with sunglasses. (Block out excessive light).
  • Practice self-calming exercises and remember that routine exercise dramatically helps with managing stress. (mindfulness, coloring, fidget toys, etc.).
  • Santa doesn’t come unless you’re asleep. (get enough sleep).
  • Find a safe space and take a break!

December 11-15: Know When to Stay and When to Go…

The weather outside may be frightful, but knowing when to go is essential, even if it is snowing. Time to yourself is as vital as time with friends and family (think of it as a gift to yourself)!

  • Take a walk (but don’t get run over by a reindeer).
  • Make a craft (make your own decorations and ornaments).
  • Read a book (or take a nap while pretending to read a book).
  • Treat yourself to a coffee date (peppermint mocha, anyone).
  • Spend time journaling (write what you are feeling, it’s therapeutic).

December 16-20: Holiday Party Woes

Eating cookies and candy may be fun, but it also may encourage you to overindulge if you have social anxiety.

  • Drink decaf peppermint mocha (cut down on the caffeine).
  • Challenge yourself to face your fears (even if you must wear an ugly sweater).
  • Reframe your thoughts (think of your happy place rather than consuming excess sugar).
  • We won’t tell anyone (hide in a safe space to take a break).
  • Keep your mind and hands busy (cooking, football, games, etc.).

December 21-25: Embrace the Days the Best You Can!

Do they know it’s Christmas time at all?

  • Avoid controversial topics (politics are a no-no).
  • Set a time limit on visits (it’s less stressful if you know what time you will leave).
  • Don’t deny your feelings (even if it’s a Blue Christmas, do you have a professional that you can talk to)?
  • Protect your holiday (choose to spend it with just your immediate family).

Conquer Challenging Family Dynamics

Family dynamics can be a challenge during the holidays. We’re here to help.

At Compass Health Network, we believe in moving beyond health to a wellness lifestyle. We’re committed to meeting the unique needs of our community. Contact us to get started with mental health services.