Tag Archives: holidays

How to Deal with Difficult Family Members Around the Holidays

The original version of this article was published here.

Even though we often associate Christmas with a time of gathering with family and friends in a state of harmony and giving, we all know that’s not always the case.

Sure, we experience joy and love in the process of giving gifts and spending time with our loved ones, but it’s not always peaches and cream. There are challenges, conflicts, and arguments. These conflicts can cause a lot of unnecessary stress and make the holiday less enjoyable than we want it to be.

But there are things that we can do. There are 4 simple mindset shifts can help turn a potential challenging holiday into an enjoyable one. Here are four tips to remember during this holiday season to make yours a better one.

#1 – Accept others as they are.

People are going to do what they want to do when they want to do it. It’s not our responsibility to do it for them. Everyone is their own unique individual with their own personal power and responsibility for their own lives. If we try to push or control others in some way, then we are only going to cause more conflict not only for them, but also for ourselves.

So if you don’t necessarily like something that another family member is doing, then it’s okay to say so casually and calmly but then leave it at that. Let them take care of it and make their own choices for themselves.

You are also not going to change someone else’s personality or way of doing things – they have to do that for themselves when and if they want to. You can voice your preferences, but let go of the need to control or force anything because if you do you are crossing over into the other person’s personal boundaries. Everything will happen in the way it is meant to happen. Trust that.

LetGoControl

Click to Tweet: Let go and trust that others will learn and grow in their own way on their own time. via @jenilyn8705

#2 – Set your own personal boundaries.

If someone is asking you to do something that you don’t want to do, then tell them. If there is something that you would like to do, then be clear about telling them. Be clear about what you want and try to avoid falling into the whole “Oh just do whatever you want to do” response. Be assertive and clear about your own personal preferences.

That being said, also be aware of what you want to deal with and what you don’t want to deal with. For instance, if a family member brings up some topic to discuss that you don’t feel comfortable with then say so. Focus inward and take note of how you feel. Be true to that and voice that so others know.

#3 – Try to avoid the political or religious debate.

More often than not, when a political or religious discussion arises around the holiday table it ends up causing an argument or, at least, get fairly heated.  I’d recommend to try to steer clear of these types of discussions. If they come up, we can try to defuse them by changing the subject.  If other people bring up the religious or political debate, it may just be easier to go into the other room and find something else to do.

Most of the time, these discussions aren’t very proactive – meaning, it doesn’t really change or impact anything. It just ruffles people’s feathers. So try to focus discussions more on “catching up” and discussing experiences.

#4 – Take time for yourself.

Even though Christmas and New Years are very “extraverted” kind of holidays where there is a lot of giving gifts and dinner parties, this is actually a very good time to reflect over the past year and reconnect to spirit.

So get out a journal and reflect over your experiences.  Write out a list of new year’s resolutions. Sit down and read some of your favorite Christmas stories.  Watch some of your favorite Christmas movies.  Find ways to reflect and to really tap into that Christmas spirit in whatever way works for you.

Allowing yourself the time and space to look within and connect can really help turn a stressful and challenging Christmas into a truly magical one.

What are some of your biggest challenges this holiday season? What are some concepts that you feel that you really need to remember during this time? What helps you really connect and get into the Christmas spirit?

3 Tips for Self-Care Around the Holidays

The holiday season is upon us once again.  And though the holidays are often all about family gatherings, holiday parties, and taking part in all the various festivities to get in the “holiday spirit”, it’s important to remember that self-care is vital in these few months.

When the days are getting shorter and the days and nights getting colder, our bodies have a tendency to want to spend more time in rest.

Though we may forget with all the holiday hustle and bustle, winter is a time to reflect and recharge our batteries so we can be prepared to plant new seeds for the year ahead.  It’s a time to let go of the old, so that we can be open to the new that spring brings us. 

For this reason, it is vital to give ourselves enough time to rest during this season.  If not, we can quickly as easily find ourselves drained, exhausted, and, more than likely, sick on the couch with a bunch of kleenex.

So how can we adequately take care of ourselves this holiday season?  Here are 3 ways:

#1 – Hop on the “no train”

Though saying “no”, can be difficult for many of us (especially those of us who like to “please” people), it’s incredibly important to learn how to do if you’re going to take care of yourself.  You can’t really find time to rest and do all that you want to do if you’re saying yes to everyone else.

When we’re saying “yes” to what everybody else wants from us, it isn’t very empowering.  In fact, it can make us feel like others are more in control of our lives than we are.  So if you see value in taking care of yourself, it’s incredibly important to start saying no to things you really don’t feel like doing.

#2 – Give yourself more time to just rest

The winter months are not the time to sign up for an extra evening paint class or to take part in that new book club.  The holiday season keeps us busy enough as it is.

So try to minimize extra activities so that you can maybe go to bed a little bit earlier or maybe sleep in a bit later.  Your body and immune system will thank you — trust me.

#3 – Reflect on this past year to create a better vision for the year ahead

As I stated earlier, winter is a time to reflect, release and recharge so I find it very important to give ourselves time to do that!  One way to do this is by journaling to reflect on experiences from this past year and creating resolutions for the New Year.

WinterReleaseReflectRecharge

Click to Tweet: Winter is a time to reflect, release and recharge so be sure to give yourself time to do that! via @jenilyn8705

For myself, something that I found very valuable in this process is Danielle LaPorte’s book, The Desire Map.  I used to be a very goal-oriented person, but I’ve found over time that one or two things happened when I’d make a goal: 1. I’d experience little to no enjoyment upon meeting the goal or 2. I lacked motivation to actually achieve the goal cause I just wasn’t really “feeling it”.

What I’ve liked so much about Danielle’s method is that she doesn’t have us focus on the goal itself, but the core desired feelings that we want to experience as a result of that goal.  It’s based on the idea that we don’t want to achieve the goal, but the feeling that can potentially come with it.

So if you’re interested, you can check out The Desire Map and see for yourself.  If not, I still encourage you to explore this for yourself and find your own unique way to give yourself time to reflect on what you’ve experienced this year and get a sense for what you want in the year ahead.  It’s vitally important in the growth and evolution in our mind, body and soul.

Take action now!

How can you start to find more time for you to rest and recharge this holiday season?  Share in the comments below!

5 Ways to Take Care of Yourself This Holiday Season

Another year is coming to an end and, with that, comes the annual hustle and bustle of the holiday season.

Buying gifts.  Baking cookies.  Traveling.  Cooking dinners.  Mailing gifts.  Mailing Christmas cards.  Tying up loose ends before the year ends.  The list goes on and on.

Even though the Holiday season is marketed “to be jolly”, it can very easily become anything but jolly.  Stressful?  Sure.  Road range?  See it all the time.  Crazy shopping?  Totally!

The good news is that the holiday season doesn’t have to be so stressful and draining.  With a few little changes, it is possible to turn your exhausting holiday experience into one filled with joy and cheer — it just all boils down to how you take care of you.  Here are 5 ways to do that:

Set boundaries with others — and yourself.

You don’t have to do everything for everyone all the time.  Nor do you have to get everything done right here right now and not a day later.

The reality is that some of those things we are so urgent about getting done so quickly can, in fact, wait an extra day or two.  Just like some of the things you think you need to do for everyone else, could be easily taken care of by that same person or by asking someone else (who has some extra time) to do it for you.

So the key here is to set boundaries for yourself.  Ask yourself: Realistically, what can I get done today that won’t make me feel completely overwhelmed and stressed?

Anything that goes beyond those limits you’ve made for yourself you can do one or two things: 1.  Say no, or just don’t do it (like, seriously, are getting all of the Christmas cookies made this year really necessary if it’s going to make you freak out?) or 2. Ask someone to help you.

Give yourself a break.

When it’s colder outside and the days are shorter, it is only natural for us to want to stay inside, bundle up in some blankets, and just relax.  Be sure you give yourself time to do that.  Not only will it reduce your likelihood of getting sick and reduce stress, but in doing so you’re accepting what you body is being naturally drawn to.

So curl up in some blankets, have a cup of hot chocolate, watch some of your favorite movies and just enjoy!

Give yourself some gifts too!

Even though it’s only natural to think about all the gifts that you have to buy and give to others, don’t forget about another special person who deserves a gift from you: yourself!

So sign up for that massage you’ve been waiting for or spend an afternoon in a sauna or hot tub.  Maybe even get a manicure or pedicure.  Think of something that you’ve been longing to do and give that gift to yourself.  After all, with all that hard work you’ve been putting in this holiday season you totally deserve it!

Reflect on the past year — and your true desires!

When the days are shorter, it’s colder outside and the year is coming to an end, it is natural for us to go into a state of reflection over our past year.  The only problem, however, is that we may find ourselves so incredibly busy that we forget to sit down and really reflect.

So get out a journal and ask yourself the following questions about this past year: What events happened?  What was life changing?  What worked?  What didn’t work?  How did you grow?  What did you learn?

Once you have that done, then go ahead and look to the upcoming year.  How do you desire to feel during this new year?  What would you like to change?  In what areas of your life would you like to grow and become better?  Is there anything new that you’d like to try?

Trust that all that needs to get done will get done.

The single most important thing to remember is: Be easy on yourself.  Everything that needs to get done will get done in due time.  If you’re a little late or delayed with something, try not to stress about it.  We are all late on things and make mistakes sometimes, so don’t let it get you down.

Make that your mantra this holiday season: “Even if I don’t get everything done, I still love and accept myself.”

StillLoveAndAcceptMyself

Click to Tweet: Even if I don’t get everything done, I still love and accept myself. via @jenilyn8705

Take action now!

What do you feel that you most need to do this holiday season in order to take care of yourself?  Share it in the comments below!

How to Deal with Difficult Family Members Around the Holidays

Even though we often associate Christmas with a time of gathering with family and friends in a state of harmony and giving, we all know that’s not always the case.

Sure, we experience joy and love in the process of giving gifts and spending time with our loved ones, but it’s not always peaches and cream. There are challenges, conflicts, and arguments. These conflicts can cause a lot of unnecessary stress and make the holiday less enjoyable than we want it to be.

But there are things that we can do. There are some simple mindset shifts can help turn a potential challenging holiday into an enjoyable one. Here are four tips to remember during this holiday season to make yours a better one.

Accept others as they are.

People are going to do what they want to do when they want to do it. It’s not our responsibility to do it for them. Everyone is their own unique individual with their own personal power and responsibility for their own lives. If we try to push or control others in some way, then we are only going to cause more conflict not only for them, but also for ourselves.

So if you don’t necessarily like something that another family member is doing, then it’s okay to say so casually and calmly but then leave it at that. Let them take care of it and make their own choices for themselves.

You are also not going to change someone else’s personality or way of doing things – they have to do that for themselves when and if they want to. You can voice your preferences, but let go of the need to control or force anything because if you do you are crossing over into the other person’s personal boundaries. Everything will happen in the way it is meant to happen. Trust that.

LetGoControl

Set your own personal boundaries.

If someone is asking you to do something that you don’t want to do, then tell them. If there is something that you would like to do, then be clear about telling them. Be clear about what you want and try to avoid falling into the whole “Oh just do whatever you want to do” response. Be assertive and clear about your own personal preferences.

That being said, also be aware of what you want to deal with and what you don’t want to deal with. For instance, if a family member brings up some topic to discuss that you don’t feel comfortable with then say so. Focus inward and take note of how you feel. Be true to that and voice that so others know.

Try to avoid the political or religious debate.

Does anybody have a political or religious discussion that’s does not cause an argument or get really heated during the holidays? I know I have yet to hear of one. Therefore, I’d recommend to try to steer clear of these types of discussions. If they come up, we can try to diffuse them by changing the subject but if other people bring them up it may just be easier to go into the other room and find something else to do.

Most of the time, these discussions aren’t very proactive – meaning, it doesn’t really change or impact anything. It just ruffles people’s feathers. Try to focus discussions more on “catching up” and discussing experiences.

Take time for yourself.

Even though Christmas and New Years are very “extraverted” kind of holidays where there is a lot of giving gifts and dinner parties, this is actually a very good time to reflect over the past year and reconnect to spirit.

So get out a journal and reflect over your experiences. Write out a list of new year’s resolutions. Sit down and read some of your favorite Christmas stories (I’ve recently found a Chicken Soup for the Soul Christmas Magic book that I’m diving into). Watch some of your favorite childhood Christmas movies. Read the Christmas story from the gospel of Luke. Find ways to reflect and to really tap into that Christmas spirit in whatever way works for you.

Allowing yourself the time and space to look within and connect can really help turn a stressful and challenging Christmas into a truly magical one.

What are some of your biggest challenges this holiday season? What are some concepts that you feel that you really need to remember during this time? What helps you really connect and get into the Christmas spirit?