Happy Thanksgiving Week and I know all I can think about is food, wine, friends and family. My children are excited to see relatives as they arrive at our home to share in the traditional meal my sister and I prepare according to the traditions created by our great grandparents and grandparents. We all are thankful we have each other and our health. Who better than siblings, parents, and other close relatives can reminisce with us about our childhoods, or remember pieces of ourselves we’ve forgotten?
This year will be bittersweet. My brother, sister, her family and my
family celebrate being together in good health we will be sad at
celebrating without our grandmother, our family anchor. Sadness will
hang over our table since many other family members will not be in
attendance for the first time in years due to post mortem drama.
My great grandparents and grandparents always created magical
holidays with music, decorations, games, movies, food and love for us
kids despite what was happening in their lives and despite any
disagreements any family members might be having, which was usually the
Emotional stress can be as harmful as poor eating habits. Below are
some tips to help reduce the stress of family during your holiday
season. After all, this is a time to rejoice not stress!
Health Tip: Effective Communication: Reduce Stress at The Holidays
1. Listen Carefully –While it might be difficult, try
really listening to what is being said without interruption, without
being defensive, and without thinking about what you are going to say
next. Just hear them and reflect back what they are saying so they know
you’ve heard. Then you’ll understand them better and they’ll be more
willing to listen to you.
2. Respond to Criticism with Empathy – Its important to
listen for the other’s pain and respond with empathy for their
feelings. Also, look for what’s true in what they’re saying: that can
be valuable information for you.
3. Own What’s Yours – Realize that personal
responsibility is a strength, not a weakness. Effective communication
involves admitting when you are wrong. If you both share some
responsibility in a conflict, look for and admit to what’s yours. It
diffuses the situation, sets a good example, and shows maturity. It
often inspires the other person to respond in kind, leading you both
closer to mutual understanding and a solution
For more on improving relationships using effective communications skills to reduce holiday family stress visit: here.