By: Kathleen Hall
The holidays are a time filled with great expectations of joy and community, along with fears of potential chaos and stress. Visiting family members and friends are one of the highest ranked sources of holiday stress. The key to surviving the possibilities of holiday mayhem is having a great plan. The following tips can make visits from the in-laws, parents, other family and friends less stressful.
Stress-LESS Holiday Guests:
- Communicate before everyone arrive. A lack of communication creates stress. Send out a newsletter to everyone expected to take part in the gatherings to inform them of rules and plans for the visit. Make sure to ask for special requests. Does anyone need special foods, physical challenges or things you should now about beforehand?
- Establish guest survival rules (shower schedule, off-limit refrigerator items, phone use, etc.) and put them in a public place.
- Be sure to label rooms (for guests to take a nap or read) and activity rooms (to play a computer game or watch television). Guests will appreciate the thought you put into their needs.
- Avoid known “hot buttons” for certain family members. Some subject areas are best left untouched. Call the people who have “histories,” and ask them to put a moratorium on their “issues.”
- Be proactive NOT reactive. Have a plan in place for situations and stick to it. You can expect there will be unexpected situations arise.
- Project an attitude of gratitude and compassion. It is impossible to be grateful and stressed at the same time. Create an attitude of kindness and gratitude from the beginning and others will follow your lead.
- Time Management. Be aware of how much time you spend with each person; don’t spend too much time with someone you have a negative history with. Short staccato visits are best. Too much time can open old wounds or create irritation, impatience, and arguments.
- The Past. People tend to live in their rear view mirrors. They live in the past and want to bring up old dead topics that create anger and disagreements. Keep the conversations in the present.
- Don’t take things personally. It’s all about them. DO NOT REACT!
When all is said and done, ’tis the season to be jolly, so make the best of it and enjoy the time you have with friends, family, and food. If you can de-stress this holiday season, people will notice and your festivities can be that much more fun.
Dr. Kathleen Hall, internationally recognized lifestyle expert in stress, work-life balance and mindful living, is Founder and CEO of the Stress Institute and The Mindful Living Network. Author of 3 books; Uncommon HOPE, A Life in Balance and Alter Your Life, media including: The Today Show, Dr. OZ, Oprah and Friends, Martha Stewart Living, USA Today, CNN, FOX, and Forbes. When she is not at work, she commits her time saving animals’ lives through Habersham Humane Society. For more information about how to get in touch with Dr. Hall, visit: www.stressinstitute.com.