During the coming holidays, our already tired bodies are bombarded by many new stressors of buying gifts, visiting relatives, traveling, change in routines, and disrupted sleeping/eating schedules. Plus colds and migraines, as well as symptoms from chronic diseases, can make the holidays miserable. In addition to overdosing on physical triggers such as candle scents, caffeine, sugar, chocolate and cheese, the emotional stress of strained family relationships can push you over the edge. With all of these stressors, what can we do?
#1: Let Mr. Grinchsteal the impossible standard to give the perfect gift and be the postcard perfect family. Choose an attitude of gratitude instead. A quote by Catherine Pulsifer that illustrates this perfectly:
“How we perceive a situation and how we react to it is the basis of our stress. If you focus on the negative in any situation, you can expect high stress levels. However, if you try and see the good in the situation, your stress levels will greatly diminish.”
Just like in the end of the Christmas classic It’s a Wonderful Life, we all want love and support from our family and friends. Reducing stress by having realistic expectations and a heart full of gratitude for what we already have is the best holiday gift we can give ourselves.
#2: Mr. Grinchreally just wants to belong: Look for opportunities to connect and bond. We can craft experiences that make memories instead of excessively spending money to express love. By letting our guard down and letting people be themselves, imperfect and loved just as they are, laughter and story-telling will naturally erupt. Connecting and communicating are especially healing to those dealing with health or money issues. The burden they are carrying will be lifted as the joy spills out.
I can see the eyes rolling in the back of your head as you think to yourself, “But you don’t know my mother-in-law!” or “You don’t know how he screwed up this week!”
Even in the midst of family stress, we can choose a better way of thinking and a better way of responding. I encourage all my clients to develop the key life skills of assuming good motive and using active listening to navigate challenging situations.
It is possible to believe the best about one another and choose to show value and interest through good communication and active listening. I have a handout on this for everyone who wants to bridge the gap and end up enjoying having Mr. Grinchfor Christmas dinner!
#3: Take care of yourself so you can take care of those who really matter. The holidays can be hard to successfully navigate if we are distracted by our illness or pain. When we add unmet needs, unhealed hurts, and unmet expectations with our families, the stress can sometimes push us to be selfish, critical, or cranky. Maybe we need to finally find the root cause of our relationship issues and fix them.
It truly is a wonderful life, and happy endings do exist! But this magic doesn’t happen overnight or by accident. I work with clients who recognize the need for self-care.
Are you ready to start fresh and discover the secrets behind rich, satisfying relationships? I equip my clients for a successful holiday get-together by mastering strategic relationship-building skill sets to reset your identity and build a culture of trust, mutual understanding, and positivity.
When is the last time you received the personal attention you need so you can enjoy the holidays and the people in your life?
You can put the Healthy, Happy, Ho-Ho-Ho back into your holidays. Take the worry out of seeing the in-laws. Schedule some TLC – Transformation Life Coaching – into your schedule to help prevent merry mishaps by Mr. Grinchand turn those pesky relationship problems into plum pudding.
Free handout mentioned above upon request.