For too many of us, holidays mean becoming a complete stress ball, when in fact they should be happy times with friends and family. But it’s so easy to get wound up and emotional. Judy Librach, life coach and host of the TV show “Finding Your Bliss,” shares her expert advice on how to stay calm and enjoy the holidays:
Keep a smile on your face. Rather than being the human equivalent of a Sham Wow and absorbing every passive-aggressive comment and letting it fester and enrage you, just let it wash over you, says Judy. “When you encounter that difficult person and they say something outrageous, laugh it off and don’t give into being upset.” She notes that no one can make you upset without your consent. Try this washing-over you technique and you’ll see how easily a tense situation can be avoided.
Which is not to say that you shouldn’t address any issues that should be dealt with. Judy suggests bringing it up in January when emotions are not running as high.
Practice breathing. When you feel like you’re going to explode, you’d be surprised at what three deep calming breaths will achieve, says Judy. “The picture you see will be completely different—breathe in for eight counts and exhale for eight counts.”
Plan short visits. Thos truly difficult relatives and friends? Simply plan to visit for short periods of time. Or enlist friends to accompany you; this can often help diffuse the tension.
Schedule me-time. Don’t forget the most important person: yourself. “Everything you say yes to, consider what you’re saying no to for yourself, such as rest and relaxation,” says Judy. Set aside your perfectionist tendencies and make things simpler for yourself. Shop online to avoid the crowds you hate at the mall; send an e-card rather than holiday cards in the mail; make your holiday dinner a potluck rather than cooking everything yourself. “People forget to be gentle to themselves. The holidays are not about being frazzled—it’s about enjoying the festivities and remembering to carve out time for the things you enjoy,” she says.