The holidays are often a time of getting together with family members. And for some this means spending time with people with whom you may share blood but not much else.
Whether it is Uncle Ted making inappropriate comments or cousin Silvia who will not stop talking about how horrible her life is- you CAN not only survive but even thrive this holiday season. No, you are not going to change them. So don’t even make that your goal. People don’t change unless they want to (despite of how much you may want them to).
The top 5 tips to dealing with “challenging” family members are:
1. Don’t personalize: Passive aggressive remarks about your life, negative comments about the food or any statement that makes you feel lousy- try not to personalize it. Miserable people tend to have unpleasant views of the world that they just love to share. Rather than accept their negativity, try to remember this is their issue. Imagine that you have an invisible protective shield that blocks the negativity from getting you.
2. Chose your mantra wisely: Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” What that means is, regardless of what others say or do, it only hurts if we internalize and believe what they are communicating. So, rather than soak up someone else’s opinion of you, have your own mantra that filters them out.
For example, if Aunt Betty tends to make comments about your weight and that is something that you struggle with, then you decide how it affects you. Rather than beat yourself up about when she says “Aren’t we getting bigger” or some other condescending statement, repeat to yourself “I am proud of the steps I am taking to be healthier.” Choose whatever statement you need to hear that will help you feel better about yourself and reduce your stress. Having a more encouraging mantra will help you feel much better.
3. Need any help? Sure, dishes may not be your favorite, but they probably aren’t annoying Edna’s favorite either. And that means, if you are helping out in the kitchen, Edna will not be in their with you. Look for ways to help out and focus on how it feels to assist the host. Remember doing kind acts and helping others is a vital part of The Happiness Prescription that, in and of itself, will help boost your positive emotions.
4. Control your time: Being with challenging individuals is easier the less time you have to spend with them. So really look for ways to limit the duration of your interactions. For example, rather than staying three days at your in-laws, announce this year that you can only make it for two. You can share an honest reason such as “we are volunteering in our community and need to be back in time” but don’t lie about an event. (That can lead to more stress.) If you can’t limit the days you are together, then look for ways to limit the amount of time. For example, go for a walk everyday or chose to be a tourist in whatever town you are in. You DO have choices, so take advantage of them.
5. Watch triggers: Certain events can serve as catalysts to… disaster (or something not that bad bust still unpleasant). So figure out what those triggers are and take the appropriate steps to reduce or eliminate them. For example, are their certain topics of conversation that inevitably result in tension? Politics? Religion? Brining up something that happened in the past? If so then stay away from them. Better yet, agree as a family to refrain from bringing them up. Or maybe a trigger is alcohol- for you or your family members. Sure, alcohol may help reduce your stress on some level, but it can sometimes lead to more issues- such as you or someone else making inappropriate comments. You may want to stick with non-alcoholic apple cider this year.
Try out these steps to reducing stress when you are with “challenging” family members. If you do, you will be a much happier you.
Let’s face it, the holidays can be stressful
… the shopping, family, hosting, eating, parties, being alone… But you don’t need to stressed.
Here are the top 5 tips to busting holiday stress:
- Focus on gratitude instead of perfection: It is easy to get caught up in all the craziness of the holidays, such a decorating every inch of the house or buying all those gifts. Try to keep things simple and focus on quality time with my family and friends. The goal is to experience more gratitude and appreciation for what we have, rather than on what you should be doing.
- Find new traditions that work for you: question how you have done things in the past that have brought distress and discontent. Don’t like going to your in-laws for a week? Then don’t. It IS ok. This is your life & your family.
- Schedule a carrot: schedule a reward for yourself after an event that may be stressful (such as a family event or going shopping). Knowing you have something positive to enjoy can help alter your mindset to “this may not be my favorite, but I know I will be getting a great massage tomorrow.”
- Exercise: research shows exercise can improve mood as effectively as anti-depressant medications and reduces stress. It also gives you lots of positive energy and helps ward off the holiday weight gain. Schedule time to exercise, whether going for a family walk or putting on some good music while you are home and dancing around.
- Make it a family affair: have the entire family be part of the holiday preparation and clean up. Children love to help in the kitchen, so put them to work setting the table or assisting with the food prep. Have everyone pitch in when cleaning up after the presents have been open. Then pop some popcorn and enjoy a movie all together.
Follow these 5 steps for a happier holiday and an even happier you!
If you have any other Holiday Stress Busters – Feel free to share them by commenting below!
Please pause and put aside your political and cultural biases. Observe and relate to a mother’s agony. Watch it. Share it. Pray for peace, healing and justice — for Michael Brown’s loved ones, Ferguson, Ofc Darren Wilson and our divided nation.
Unfortunately Ferguson MO erupted again, last night, in the aftermath of the grand jury decision not to indict Ofc. David Wilson for the shooting death of Michael Brown.
Long after the protests and headlines wane; the grief that Michael Brown’s loved ones feel will persist.
Steve Harvey asked me to join him in an on air session with Michael’s mother Leslie McPhadden. We’ve included the entire clip, so that you can see and feel Leslie’s grief and the genuine empathy and passion from Steve and me.
I spent much more time, one-on-one, with Leslie off camera. My prayers of comfort and grace remain with her; I hope yours will too.
By Elizabeth Lombardo, PhD for SUCCESS Magazine
…messing up during a big presentation.
…blowing the job interview.
…watching the project you worked so hard on go up in smoke.
Just picturing any one of those scenarios can make our pulses rise and our stomachs fall. This is because we, as humans, dread failure. The anticipation of it can lead to stress, anxiety, anger, shame, regret—all of which can get in the way of pursuing the lives we want to lead. Take this: Some people might long for a career boost—a new challenge, a promotion, even starting a business—but the fear of failing keeps them from taking the risks needed to effect that change. So instead they hold back, reluctant to give 100 percent, and others are so paralyzed by fear that they never even try. Embarrassment about failure can bring people to dwell on the details, maybe even berate themselves over the outcome. I think of this as rubbing salt in a wound. It hurts, and it prevents healing. So why not reframe this concept of failure? Read more »
Hey friends! I’ll be making the radio rounds with my new bestseller Better Than Perfect: 7 Strategies to Crush Your Inner Critic and Create a Life You Love on Wed November 19, 2014. I’ll be on live in the AM in New York, Philadelphia and Phoenix and you’ll hear me throughout the week in a bunch of other cities. Here’s a list with stations. Tune in. Tell a friend! Thanks for your awesome support!
Better Than Perfect Radio (All times EST)
• PHOENIX KWKM-FM
• NEW YORK WFAS-AM, WGCH-FM
10:20AM DEBBI NIGRO SHOW
• PHILADELPHIA WOND-AM
• NATIONAL BUSINESS TALK RADIO
Listen for me on the following stations over the next few days:
• NEW YORK, SACRAMENTO WHCR-FM, KDEE-FM ADAMS REPORT
• PORTLAND KLCK-AM, KQCQ/KYYT-FM TALK OF THE GORGE
• BOSTON WBZ-AM WOMEN’S WATCH
• MINNEAPOLIS KBEM-FM. MORNING SHOW
• NATIONAL SYNDICATED. IT’S YOUR HEALTH
• NASHVILLE WGFX-AM/WKDF-FM
• ATLANTA WALR-FM WEEKEND PUBLIC AFFAIRS
• NATIONAL SYNDICATED. SOMETHING YOU SHOULD KNOW
• LOUISVILLE & KY STATE WHAS-AM + KY NEWS NETWORK
• SEATTLE KWCC-TV/AM
• NATIONAL & ONLINE ACHIEVE RADIO A CLOSER LOOK
• REGIONAL AZ-Flagstaff, Phoenix KZUA-FM MORNING SHOW
• SEATTLE-TACOMA KIXI/KKNW-AM CHAT WITH WOMEN
I want you to have a Better Than Perfect holiday!
Listen, like you I wear many hats — coach, author, business owner, wife, mom, daughter and sister. The holiday season is right upon us — Advertisers are making sure that we have plenty of notice!
Most of us equate the season with joy — family, friends, parties, gifts. We have many great memories and look forward to creating more.
Unfortunately, for some, tis (not) to be jolly. The hustle and bustle, self imposed pressure and relationship strife can add layers of stress and the joy into loathing.
Watch my latest segment on Good Day Chicago for some tips to make your holiday Better Than Perfect!
People have been balancing work and family since the dawn of time. Many of today’s working parents make more money, enjoy more luxury and have access to more resources than ever. But there are new challenges…
As we progress, the hours get longer, kids’ activities grow more frequent and distractions, such as TV, smartphones and social media multiply daily.
I joined ‘The Panel’ on Better TV Show to talk about how you can love your kids, stay in love with your spouse and enjoy your life.
Click the image or here to watch the video! Tell us about your #BetterThanPerfect balancing act below!