Oh Lady, we know this can be a tricky time of year for some.
Not everybody's family buys matching onesies for Xmas Eve sleepovers or sends a group shot of ugly sweaters showing what fun it is to get the relatives together en masse each silly season.
Illustration by Heather Mueller
So we thought that if the lead-up is filling you full of dread and anxiety, it might be time to let straight-talking life coach Megan Luscombe give you her Top 5 Tips on how to look after yourself:
1. Set boundaries - if there are certain areas or topics of conversations you don't want to talk about (or feel comfortable talking about), use boundaries. For example: "I'm so happy to see you this Christmas but I'd appreciate us not talking about my work/relationship/pregnancy."
2. Set realistic expectations - we can't change people and expecting them to behave in ways they won't is unrealistic.
If your aunt has always been passive aggressive chances are she will be still (unless she's done some work on herself this year). Expect that, and have a plan to let it not bother you. Give yourself a pep talk to bring yourself out of the bad mood she may have once got you caught in.
3. Control your reaction only - it's the only thing you're responsible for, your reaction. That's it.
When it comes to being around family members who might trigger you, be mindful of the things that are within your control only and do what's best for you at the time, this might be leaving early in some instances.
4. Have an exit plan - yep, this sounds exactly like what it says but it's important you've come up with a plan of escape if things get overwhelming or overbearing for you. You're allowed to leave whenever you want, remember that.
5. Write down your "what if?" thoughts before any catch ups - get all of your worst case scenario thoughts onto a piece of paper and then create plans around them to give yourself more sense of control. This will help alleviate anxiety but also ensure you know there are options to help you, if you want to leave early/not have converations etc.
Half the battle with these things is feeling like you have permission
to do what's best for you, so Aunty Megan says all of the above is Okay.
You can catch Megan's brilliant podcast Real Talk via your fave poddy app and book her for realz HERE