When December rolls around, it means drama for some of us.

We have to be present at family functions in the spirit of the holidays and more often than not, mental health takes a knock. Do you have an uncle with no filter? Or the mother-in-law who snubs you every chance she gets? Or how about that cousin with no self-esteem who can only make herself feel good by trying to bring you down? Like it or not, we find ourselves in uncomfortable situations with toxic family members.

Instead of dreading it, use the holiday season as a test to grow your emotional tool set. No one else is going to change, no matter how inappropriately you believe they may behave so you need to change the way you react to their behavior if you want to keep your inner peace intact. Here are some tips to keep your head during the family festive season:

1.Ignore the conversation

Ever heard the saying “Ignorance is bliss”? If you give them a reaction, you’re feeding into the low-vibe circle. Yes, it’s difficult when you’re being insulted, but you need to understand that the energy required for a reaction isn’t worth it. Pretend not to hear someone so you can ignore what they’re saying.

2. Change the subject

Do what you can to direct the conversation somewhere else. Ask about their top highlights for the year, or what their plans are for the new year. Tell them what your plans are. Ask about their favorite holiday dish or number one Christmas tradition. There are endless ways to direct the conversation differently. Practice it until you become skilled at it.

3. Walk away

There’s always plenty to do at a family gathering. Excuse yourself politely and find something else to do.

4. Have somebody in your corner

If you do get upset, have someone you can confide in. Venting is a good way to release anger and let it move through your system. This doesn’t mean you spend all night going over the scenario. You get your vent done and move on.

5. Bide your time

The good thing about family gatherings is – they’re over at the end of the day. So just remember that you will be leaving soon and you don’t have to endure it much longer. As a matter of fact, why don’t you thank your lucky stars that you’re evolved enough to know how to handle your feelings and emotions?

6. Reflection

When someone says something to set you off, try and understand why it triggered you. More often than not, people around us reflect how we really feel or what we’re afraid of. Recognize the situation for what it is and realize that it only triggered you because you have a strong belief for – or against it. Maybe it doesn’t align with your values or it’s a fear you have deep down.

After everything else, remember that you attract what you focus on the most. Keep getting annoyed, and you will attract more situations to be annoyed at. We’re all human at the end of the day, and things will upset us. It’s how we deal with them that matters.

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