Managing Family Stress During the Holidays

Stress is an innate part of life. However, learning to manage family stress during the holidays can be a challenge. Family dynamics themselves can be stressful. However, these can be amplified when considering how past trauma, difficult personalities, addiction, or not being accepted by family members impact interpersonal dynamics during the holidays.

Managing family stress during the holidays can be tricky. However, a few simple skills help you navigate these treacherous waters!Past Trauma

This includes all experiences of trauma. Trauma can occur at any point in life and stem from within one’s family or from outside of the family. No matter where trauma occurs, it can impact our ability to experience positive emotions, trust of others, and our ability to engage in healthy relationships.

Difficult Personalities

Some of our family members have difficult personalities to be around. Being aware of this is huge as we can use this awareness to take steps to manage stress.


Most holidays involve some level of mind-altering substances. In Wisconsin, alcohol and marijuana are both legal. Substances can interfere with how we and others interact with each other. Sometimes, substances can negatively impact interpersonal dynamics and create more stress around the holidays.

Not Being Accepted by Family Members

All people are unique. It is important to recognize that some people have tighter relationships with others in a family than with others. That is okay and normal. However, sometimes people are ostracized because of their sexual orientation, LGBTQIA+ status, or body image.

Stress During the Holidays

All of the above situations and dynamics can create stress and make the holidays less enjoyable. It’s important to remember that we

are in control of how we feel. Below are a list of things that can be done to help manage stress during the holidays.

Strategies to Manage Stress

  • Plan ahead – during the holidays we usually know who and when those stressors will arise during the holiday season
  • Create boundaries – both internal and external boundaries with others
  • Find those who are positive – find those at the parties who align with you and you can support
  • Utilize ‘I’ statements – this can help defuse stressful situations when you put the emphasis on how you are feeling

How Can Therapy Help?

Individual therapy can help you separate from stress, establish boundaries, and heal past trauma. See how therapy near the Kenosha, WI can support you now!

Location Map: 625 57th Street Kenosha, WI 53140

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