Mastering Challenging Relationships

” Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family in another city.” George Burns once said.

So this would provide some clarity around why holidays can be so stressful.

Those dear relatives who live miles away are suddenly loitering around your kitchen table, you’ve spent days ensuring the table placement is acceptable to protect your childhood wounds you have spent years protecting.

Here is my survival kit for holiday interactions with those family members who tend to nudge my wounded inner girl, at what always seems like the worst timing.

1.    REPEAT: This says nothing about me and everything about them

You think it’s about you when you relative turns their head every time you speak, when they ridicule you for the food you eat. This says nothing about you and everything about them. They are feeling something that has nothing to do with who you really are. Its their ‘Stuff’ not yours.

2. Decide how you want to show up in the world

You are the adult of your inner child now so you can make the choices on how you show up in the world. Spend some time deciding how you want to be in this world and how you want to show up in all areas of life. For me its being Authentic and not dimming my light for anyone, this can be challenging when I am forced to ‘action’ this in situations where I haven’t shown up that way before. I spent some time working out what this meant for me and it means being who I want to be in any situation, it is up to me to make decisions for how I show up. It also means that I won’t go into ‘people pleasing’ if I feel someone doesn’t approve of me. Its about being clear on how you want to show up and taking small steps towards honouring this in life each day, one step at a time.

3. Become your own friend

Most of the disharmony dynamics tolerated in the holidays are rooted in the painful wounds of the past.

I go back to the time when I first adopted these scars – For example I return to the little girl asking for a drink at a family BBQ and being told not to be cheeky and from this point on it seemed like whenever I spoke I was told not to be cheeky. The word cheeky still sits in a strange place for me. So I believed that what I had to say might upset someone else or be perceived as ‘wrong’. I tell my 8 year old girl – That she is important, That this isn’t about you. Being told that your words are wrong has nothing to do with who you are. You are understood and what you have to say is important dear one.

4. Make a Plan

It would be wise for you to consider what it is that could support you to be as you wish to be during this time. Doing something that nourishes you before that front gate opens. Here are a few of mine: Go for a walk prior to the arrival time, this enables you to clear your mind and spend some time doing something for yourself, so when your guests arrive you have greater capacity to face it. Plan to take a walk after lunch, this can break up the time spent with those souls who are not life giving. Visualisations can be helpful – some examples I use are imagining I am placing a protective cloak over me which protects me from the toxic stuff. Or placing one hand on my belly and the other on my heart, I take some intentional breaths and repeat ” this is my energy and I get to choose who I give it to”

5. Carry a Soother

To give me peace and a knowing that I am protecting myself. I carry a Crystal that I bought at the end of my studies that reminds me of my determination, or I spend some quiet time flicking through my grandfathers Bible which reminds me that I am not alone and to think about how I want to show up. I can also place some protective essential oils on that ground and centre me. I use anything and everything to remind me that I am important just the way I am and to trust the process.

6. Allow time to recover

Something I have learned over the past few years about myself, after nearly 2 adrenal burnouts, is that I need some space to process after such high energy times in my life. I make sure that at least one, if not two days are free, after such times, to allow me the space to get back on my emotional feet , to regain my energy and if I feel like it, journal my experiences. As my therapist says “just because you anticipate and prepare for the shards it doesn’t mean that the shards wont hurt”


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Please connect and reach out to Tracey!




Tracey Gillis-Sinclair, is a wife, mother of 3 and passionate explorer of both my inner and outer world. She is an Integrative Health practitioner, Retreat facilitator, certified in Holistic Kinesiology, Mind Body Medicine and Integrative Complementary Medicine.

Snippit from Tracey I HAD to share with you all.

You see, when we try to distance our self from that which is real for us, we disconnect from our heart of hearts, we loose power, we become unfulfilled and feel like life is dragging us along, and we ultimately bring stress and imbalances to our physical body.

I wholeheartedly believe that each of us has everything we need inside of us, to get us through our challenges. Sometimes all we need is an opportunity + an open mind to look at things from a different perspective.