Chill-out at the Holiday Gathering

Home for the holidays? It can be like a bad Hollywood movie or it can be a wonderful time – if you stay chill. The boisterous uncle who forces his opinion on everyone, the judgmental sister, the… well, you get the picture. We don’t have to dread the visit, and we can not only survive, but also elate if we have our heads right before we step into it (as it were).

  1. Toss the Expectations – if you have an unrealistic expectation of everything being perfect like in the movies, you have already blown it. Steel yourself for the numerous things that won’t go as planned – spillage, breakage, the dog gets the turkey, the people who arrive late, missed flights and so on, and so forth. By keeping in mind that there will be bumps in the road, you are less likely to react and be triggered.
  2. Disconnect your PushButtons – You know what your pushbuttons are. Maybe you don’t want to be asked about your weight? Maybe a particular family member likes to ask about your work in a condescending manner? The things that trigger you can be managed if you are aware in advance they might be coming. Have an “internal” response for the biggies. Tell yourself, if “Claire” says _____, I’m going to compliment her hair. When Tom brings up politics, I’m going to change the subject to cars. Have a plan…. Picture yourself implementing it and practice the words: if the moment arrives, you’ll be ready and it will come out naturally.
  3. Accept Responsibility ONLY for your own Experience – We simply cannot control what shows up at any point in the event. So, tell yourself you cannot change situations and feelings others are expressing, but that you can steer clear of feeling responsible for what others are experiencing. Instead, focus on giving and receiving love and affection, and in this way you can drastically curtail being manipulated into sharing another’s agenda.