ASK COLETTE: “No Happy Holidays With My Family”

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Boomer Intuitive Coach Colette Baron-Reid tackles a common holiday headache: dealing with family dramas


Dear Colette,

 I dread the holidays.  There is so much pressure to spend “quality” time with family and I feel guilty for not wanting to even see some of my relatives, let alone create “cherished moments” with them.  In a nutshell, they’re crazy! They are petty, sarcastic, spiteful, jealous, disrespectful, drama-filled people. To add to the stress, I also gain a lot of weight in a short time, without enough emotional eating to justify that much weight.  Help! –  Overstressed and Overloaded


Dear Overstressed and Overloaded,

Are we cousins? Just kidding. Your letter sounded so familiar I thought we must have spent “quality” time together in the same family.

I remember the stress I felt before each family gathering. I’d run through it over and over again in my mind—anticipating the criticism and not wanting to spend time with people I rarely knew or for whom I held resentment. All of these old family dynamics that are unhealed have a chance to be reactivated during the holidays.

And speaking of extra pounds – I used to be right there with you.  I’m not exaggerating when I tell you there were January’s when I couldn’t even put my rings on my suddenly chubby fingers, and I never even went to the buffet table for seconds.

You may not believe this, but emotional weight gain during the holidays is not about the calories.  Seriously!

Many of us can be so deeply empathetic that we feel ungrounded and anxious just being in challenging environments. Our bodies react to stress and porous boundaries by gaining weight even though we don’t eat extra food.

Now rather than point fingers at your relatives and play a victim to your stress hormone levels, you CAN take control of the situation.

This is the perfect time for a little construction project—building some boundaries.

Saying “No” to drama is key. For the limited time you are with your family, step away from the emotions you’re feeling and let go of the need to prove you’re right, or they’re ridiculous. Many times the sarcastic comments or need-to-be-right remarks we hear are not even about us. Don’t make it personal and don’t’ take it personally.  These comments and actions are about the other person’s issues with their own limitations.  Besides, your time together is temporary.

Speaking of time, setting boundaries around how much time you’re exposed to stressful scenarios is not being selfish, it’s engaging in self-care.  For example, you can remove yourself from the room when conversations turn negative—wash the dishes or walk the dog.  Also, plan to have somewhere else to be after the event so it’s easy to depart with a purpose, and early.  Hint:  that purpose could be to watch a movie at home or read a great book.  No one needs to know what or with whom, they only know you have to go.

In my book, Weight Loss for People Who Feel Too Much, I walk you through a program that deals specifically with the issue of porous boundaries.

Try these for starters…

  • Take a Himalayan Salt Bath – use two cups of pure Himalayan salt in a warm bath for at least 20 minutes.  Positive changes occur in any energy field when you heat natural salt.
  • Practice EFT – Emotional Freedom Technique. “Tapping” along with specific affirmations is a form of “emotional acupuncture” and it works wonders!
  • Get out into nature – even for just a short walk. Any physical movement in nature has a calming and grounding effect
  • Breathe deeply and meditate, even if it’s just for ten minutes… it’s a great way to remind yourself that This too shall pass!

Wishing you a peaceful and self-compassionate holiday!

Love always and forever,
Colette Baron-Reid

The Invision Project
Founder, CEO

If you have a question you would like to ask Colette, write to her at [email protected]All published questions and answers will be anonymous – we honor and protect your privacy. (Please, Colette respectfully asks that you do not request a reading as the anticipated response to your question.)