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Ten Tips: Being Home for the Holidays

Ten Tips: Being Home for the Holidays

Holidays can be an emotional powder keg when the family gets together and all the dysfunction you thought you left behind creeps back into your life, but returning home isn’t the time to exorcise your inner demons. Here are some tips to help you to be more comfortable with the contortions of family drama:

1) Be discrete. Don’t give out too much information that you will later regret: not having seen you for a while, your family will be curious about your life. Provide enough detail to satisfy without offering intriguing lines of inquiry—about your sex life, for instance.

2) Don’t drink too much. See above. Not only will you feel terrible the next day but you might say things you’ll regret. Having a large glass of water between drinks may help.

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3) Don’t try to even up the score. This is a lousy time to seek revenge or get back at family members for past indiscretions. Doing so is liable to open a whole new can of worms and have unpredictable results.

4) Be curious. This is a good tactic to deflect attention from you: asking talkative family members about themselves will keep the focus off you. After all, you aren’t the only one who has changed.

5) Don’t take the bait. Petty arguments often arise when there is a lot of stress and many people in the room. Avoid taking sides or taking the bait when the bickering starts.

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6) Avoid boredom. Being back at home for long stretches of time can be dull. Plan activities with friends or family members outside of the house, as this time can be a great opportunity to connect one-on-one.

7) Check your expectations at the door. You may be dreading going home or you might even feel full of joy, but either way, you are bound to be disappointed. Keep an open mind and be with what is—just expect that things will be different from what you anticipated.

8) Find support. As supportive as your family might be, we still need a reality check once in a while. Have friends or family members on hand whom you can trust with your feelings to give you feedback and support. This might be through chat, via phone or in person. Introverts could spend time alone and journal if necessary.

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9) Take a break. Be good to yourself. Find time for activities you know you will enjoy like meditating, reading, listening to music, going for walks or exercising. Being back home can produce intense emotions, so give yourself time to work through them and replenishing your spirit. It will also give family members space.

10) Don’t take offense. You’ve been away and things have changed. You might be feeling left out or out of step with those around you, but remember that it’s not all about you—after all, you are the one who left. You want to be treated as an adult, so don’t expect the holiday to be the same as it was when you were ten.

Featured photo credit: Christmas Light display via Shutterstock

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

1. Breathe

The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

  • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
  • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
  • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

2. Loosen up

After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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3. Chew slowly

Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

4. Let go

Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

It’s not. Promise.

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Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

5. Enjoy the journey

Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

6. Look at the big picture

The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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Will this matter to me…

  • Next week?
  • Next month?
  • Next year?
  • In 10 years?

Hint: No, it won’t.

I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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8. Practice patience every day

Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

  • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
  • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
  • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

Final thoughts

Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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