Four Things to Keep In Mind During The Holidays With A Relative Going Through A Tough Time
The holidays are upon us which means it’s time to share the joys of this time of the year with your friends and loved ones. However, it’s not too uncommon for people to have a relative who’s not doing too great. This could cause a lot of people to think that they should avoid that certain person just so that they don’t tread anywhere they shouldn’t, but this is far from the best strategy you could implement. In fact, avoiding them altogether sends a completely wrong message, that is, you don’t care for them at all which is the opposite of what you’re trying to achieve. Your relative may have been through a heartbreak of some sort, they might have lost a loved one recently, or they could have someone in the hospital; they may have even gone through a divorce. However, none of those are reasons for which you shouldn’t want to spend time with them. That is unless they’ve specifically told you not to visit them which probably won’t be the case. Here’s how you should treat this kind of scenario with grace and in a way that’s beneficial for your relative’s mental health.
Don’t Raise The Subject Too Much
As a relative and a friend, your job is to make them forget about whatever ordeal they’re going through. No matter how tempting it is to delve a bit deeper into what ails them, you should let them be and enjoy a nice Christmas dinner. If it looks like they’re trying to talk about it, however, then lend them a patient ear and listen to all they have to say. Don’t ask too many questions and just let it pass. However, your primary aim should be to distract them from their troubles and let them have a well-deserved day of carefree celebrations. It’s okay to let them know that you’re here for them during these tough times and that you realize what they’re going through, but do not prod the topic repeatedly.
Keep Your Opinions To Yourself
Again, it can be really tempting to help your relative out of their current position. However, such a move may easily backfire and ruin the evening altogether. Unless your relative specifically asks you for some advice as to how they might resolve their situation, don’t give them any. They’re probably already fed up with others trying to get them to do what they think is right without caring about how they’re actually feeling. Just be there to listen, and be the best support system for them. They’ve given a whole lot of thought to their situation, and it can seem condescending to tell them how to change their situation.
Don’t Act Differently Around Them
Don’t be overly nice just so your relative doesn’t flip out. They’re still the same person you knew before their own personal tragedy struck, and they’d appreciate you being yourself, too. All they want is an enjoyable day with their favorite relative, so don’t go about making this more complicated than it has to be. You can crack jokes and do all sorts of things without making it weird (unless you’re usually a quiet, serious person, in which case you should be just that). They invited you over so that they could spend time with you because they like you for who you are. Don’t take that away from them by acting like someone you’re not just so that you don’t trigger them.
Show Them You Care
Showing them that you care should not only be expressed during a special occasion — this extends to as long as their personal ordeal. You don’t really have to shower them with expensive gifts to make them happy. You just need to be there for them which is the best gift you could possibly give them. Focus on what they could want. Instead of presents with hefty price tags, think about what they would personally want to show them that someone really thinks about them.
Stay in touch with them for as long as they need it. Even a text every few days should make them feel a lot better than they are now. Make your presence felt and your actions sincere because their mental health and well-being is more important than any exorbitant gift this Christmas.
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