Anger, Stress, and the Holidays
It is that time of year again, when we get together with family, friends and loved ones. The holidays can be so much fun, but the atmosphere might change rapidly when someone starts criticizing, complaining, or just being negative. When you have been cooking, cleaning and preparing your holiday feast, the last thing you need to hear is your Aunt Sally or Uncle Sam telling you should be married by now, or that your spouse isn’t the be-all end-all. Maybe you’ve heard your kids say they don’t want to stick around for the holidays, they would rather be with their friends. How do you keep the holidays joyous without losing your cool?
Here are some guidelines that can help you have a great holiday season:
1. Participate in the Family Gatherings for the Right Reason.
If you want to prove something to your family, or if you feel obligated to join them for the holidays, you probably will get angry, resentful or disappointed. In addition, let’s not forget depressed. The reason to participate in the holidays is that you truly want to see the people there. This isn’t the time to seek approval or feel like you will be a better person for donating your time. This is the opportunity to be with the people you really love.
2. Develop a Stress Resistance Personality.
Keep your expectations realistic. If your mother- in-law never approved of you, chances are she’s not going to approve of you even if you traveled cross-country, in the snow, on Christmas day. Still doesn’t matter if you made the best turkey ever. People don’t change; don’t expect them to change because of the holidays.
3. Use Self-Messages.
If you find that you are getting angry by someone’s comments, you can change your feeling by questioning your angry thoughts. Was the comment really directed at me? What is really going on in the situation? What constructive actions can I take to remain calm? Is this comment meant to bait me in an argument? Talk yourself out of a potentially explosive situation and talk yourself into an I’m not going to let it bother me reaction.
4. Superhero Not Needed.
I know the holidays are an opportunity to be the superhero. It can be tempting to want to buy the best gift, or be one who does the most. Nevertheless, you will be satisfied for only a short time and then the pressure is on to keep being the super hero. You will soon be burnt out. Instead, be yourself. That is what family members and loved ones want the most.
5. Get Organized, and Then Let it Go.
It’s important to be organized and manage your time well. This way you can get the most done in the least amount of time. Not only will this provide you with less stress, you will feel good about yourself for getting a lot accomplished. Once you arrive, or your company arrives, it’s time to let go. You cannot control anyone else’s reactions or feelings. However, you can control yours. This is the key element in keeping the holidays joyous. Don’t allow anyone or anything to ruin your good time. So what if Aunt Sally doesn’t like your new hairdo. So what is the turkey is a little dry this year. So what if it’s a little crowded. People will make their own fun and the party will have energy of its own.
Go with the flow, have fun, and remember there is always next year!