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Straight From the Shrink

Jenna Behrens is a licensed professional counselor who has been practicing in the mental health field for seven years. She owns Behrens Psychotherapy Services, LLC which has four office locations around the Milwaukee area. She works with children, adolescents, families, and adults on a wide array of issues including depression, anxiety, ADHD, childhood behavioral disorders, adjustment disorders, stress and parenting.

Family and the Holidays

Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving! The holidays are officially here! Unfortunately, sometimes holidays are stressful, not just because there's so much to do and not enough time or because of finances, but because of family discord. Not all families get along splendidly and holidays are especially good at pointing this out. Whether you don't get along with your in-laws, parents, or siblings, there are a few things you can do to make the holidays more enjoyable.

The holidays are supposed to be the most wonderful time of year, right? Sometimes it becomes the most annoying time of year. Maybe your Mom constantly critiques your cooking or your brother doesn't bring the dish he promised. Be calm. Take a deep breath. Remind yourself in the grand scheme of things, it's not that big of a deal. Try to have realisitic expectations and make sure you have a supportive person you can go to when you're about to lose it. Let that person know they might need to talk you off the ledge if things get too intense.

Maybe it's not a minor annoyance, but a bigger issue. If the conflict is minor, think about reaching out and trying to resolve it instead of letting it linger on and on. Forgiveness is a big part of life. Remember, we don't forgive to let the other person get away with the hurt they've caused, we forgive so we can let go of the anger and move on. If you feel like the conflict can't be resolved, for whatever reason, think about talking to the other person and calling a truce for the holidays. Agree that more time is needed to heal, but that you will both be pleasant to each other during the festivities. If all else fails, act like the bigger person. Greet that person with a smile, be kind, and move on. Keep busy, help out, talk to another family member, and remind yourself to relax. You can get through this.

Hope this helps you make this time of year full of joy and peace.

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