ROADMAP TO NAVIGATING THE HOLIDAYS WITHOUT CONFLICT
Strategies to prevent tensions and strengthen your relationships.
“Some people grumble that roses have thorns, I am grateful thorns have roses.”
— Alphonse Karr
Thanksgiving is this week! In just 3 days! Wow! Are you excited or anxious to spend time with your family? Do you dream of having the family sitting around the table, passing dishes around, reminiscing on happy memories of the past, smiling and laughing with one another making plans for future reunions? Well, this is a great dream for sure. But for most of us while we love spending time with our families, we know that tension of some sort is bound to rise, personalities crash, financial pressure mounts, if someone brings up particular subject emotions will run high, arguments will happen, and conflict will arise. Or maybe conflict is kept inside only to build up and create resentment and to explode at another time.
Fret not. I am here to offer you some strategies you can implement before and during the holidays. These strategies are sure to guarantee you peace of mind and a happy memorable season.
Before The Reunion
The plan here is to prepare your mind for what lies ahead. If you can learn to respond instead of reacting, control what you can and remember that this is your family we are talking about, you are sure to have a good time around them.
Remember of the good times and positive traits of those you will spend time with
When you remember happy memories and think of the positive qualities of the people you are about to spend time with, you are priming your brain to look at the positive first. This “brain training” will come in handy when something is said that you may not like. Instead of blowing up, your natural response will be to think before speaking. Or even better, you may be able to intervene and help mediate someone else’s conflict.
Set reasonable expectations
You know these people. You know what triggers them and what they say or do that trigger you. So don’t expect them to be all different this year, they are the same people. However, if you consider beforehand what others may do that may bother you and set your expectations, you have better chances of having a good time.
Rest up and be ready to party
Rest as much as you can beforehand. Make sure to go for some walks and appreciate the beauty the outside may bring you. Recharge your body and mind before you walk into a possibly stressful situation. With a rested body and mind, you will be able to respond instead of reacting and enjoying your family.
On the Day of the Reunion
You’ve done the legwork of preparing for this day. Now go in and enjoy your family. However, when the inevitable occurs, make conscious choices and diffuse the situation, and if needed, deal with it at another time.
Avoid the point of no return
Notice early signs of frustration: sweaty hands, fast heartbeat, “hot face”. Avoid reaching your boiling point and the point of no return, by dealing with the situation earlier rather than later. If you wait too long you may explode.
It’s a control issue
We usually take certain comments or differences in opinions quite personally. Remember that, for the most part, it’s not even about you, it’s a control issue really. People like to have the last word, be the expert, the know-it-all. So let them be. The holiday reunion is not the time to prove a point, you can do it at another time, in private. Let them “be right” and believe they are in control. If you react, you may worsen the situation. Take control of the situation by steering the conversation away with an “ok, ok you are right.” You will be in control after all! Kudos to you!
Take a timeout if needed
If they really got to you and you feel your blood boiling, don’t react! Take a time-out. Go outside, for a walk and fresh air. Take deep breaths. Breathe air, breathe life, breathe patience and control into your being. It is great that you have family around you, remember that many don’t.
Show appreciation to those around you
Showing appreciation to those around you is in an invitation for them to do the same. Our brains tend to repeat or replicate what we see. We all crave affirmation and affection. Making positive statements help turn a conflict around into a more positive, optimistic conversation.
We are fortunate to have family around, so let’s enjoy this time. It’s not always easy, I know. We all have habits, some good, others not so much. But we are family and we are stuck together. So, learning how to deal with it in a very positive and loving way it’s the way to go. Do the work, prepare for the reunion, be aware of your emotional workings, control what you can and appreciate those around you. And Happy Thanksgiving!
Which of these strategies did you like the most? Which ones worked best? Let me know in the comments below and make sure to come back for more. If you haven’t yet, sign up for my newsletter below.
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Focusing on what matters most, let’s improve our communication and transform our interactions one conversation at a time.
Foolproof strategies to manage conflict and reduce stress during the most joyful (yet stressful) time of the year: the holidays! DOWNLOAD FREE ROADMAP TO NAVIGATE THE HOLIDAYS WITHOUT CONFLICT.
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