Holiday Stress ‘Flu Shot’?

By Alan Ray, Marriage Team
www.marriageteam.org
Alan Ray is a professional member of Better Marriage
 
The holiday season is fast approaching as evidenced by an early cold snap and snowfall. I suspect that many of us have holiday plans that involve family or travel or a combination of both family and travel. Holidays are a great time for creating wonderful memories as we share with family and friends and celebrate all that we have to be thankful for. Holidays are also a great time for creating stress with holiday decorations, hanging lights, travel, shopping, gift wrapping, sending Christmas cards, special church services, food preparation, and the confusion associated with large gatherings of family and friends in cramped quarters.
 
No one wants to get stressed, yet it seems to happen more often during the Holidays. Little things can become big things, and pretty soon we are frustrated and showing it. From there, it seems to snowball as one family member gets stressed and shows it and before long others are reacting and adding to the stress. It is almost like stress is the flu and one sick person can infect the entire family. So what is the stress equivalent of a flu shot?
 
Here are some simple tips that come straight from MarriageTeam’s coaching approach to healthy communication:
 
Set realistic expectations. Realize that holidays are a “team event” and that working together will help insure a positive outcome.
 
Ask family and friends about their expectations for the day and find ways to help them meet them.
 
Communicate with family and friends about your expectations for the day.
 
Remember to use a “I statement” when you are feeling stressed and own what is going on with you.
 
Actively listen to those around you who appear to be getting stressed. Once you understand what is going on in their minds, you will be in a much better position to respond effectively.
 
Develop a new play with your teammate in advance about likely scenarios that you can foresee might be stressful. Potential situations that come to my mind include food preparation, meal clean-up, travel arrangements, criticism from in-laws, etc. If you work together, you will be in a much better position to reduce each other’s stress.
 
So let’s make this the best holiday season ever as we prepare to celebrate all the blessings we have.

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