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Here's How to Handle Awkward Holiday Feelings

Updated: Nov 24, 2022

I'm truly GRATEFUL to have you as a part of my online community, friends!

Those of us living in the United States are getting ready to celebrate Thanksgiving, and I know that many people are dreading dinner table conversations and family interactions.

I've personally wasted lots of time thinking about and dreading holiday interactions, and you don't have to do that. I also wasted a lot of time and money on therapy but later learned that changing my thoughts gives me the power to be in full control of my circumstances. Here are my three easy tips to make this a grateful and easy Thanksgiving holiday. (video below)

  1. Make a list of things you've been wanting to accomplish. I have clients this week who are writing grant proposals, planning dream vacations and organizing their photo albums. I have a white board in my office where I keep a list of the projects I want to do, but don't have time to focus on. Whenever I have a cancellation or there is some extra space in my schedule, I have a pre-made list of things I GET to do. Holiday weeks are filled with extra space. Instead of watching TV or worrying about what Sarcastic Susie is going to say about your new diet or your new business, focus on THE LIST.

  2. Think about the people who most irritate you and imagine you are meeting them for the very first time. THIS IS A POWERFUL THOUGHT STRATEGY, friends. When you meet someone for the first time, don't you show a lot more grace, tolerance, and patience? It's because you have no emotional attachment or memories of pain, embarrassment, grief, judgment, etc. A lot of times our awkward encounters with people have more to do with our thoughts and feelings than theirs. Imagine you are meeting this person for the first time has nothing to do with them. It simply allows you to stop thinking, worrying and feeling resentful so that you can enjoy your day.

  3. Prepare clever responses for those annoying or hurtful questions. Here are some ideas:

  • It's true, I don't eat meat, but I've been looking forward to your green bean casserole. You did bring that this year, didn't you?

  • Nope, no plans to get married, but aren't you about to celebrate an anniversary?

  • The children are with their dad today, so it's just me. Good news though, they will be with me when I see you for _______.

It's a good strategy to turn the focus back on the person who is asking you a question or making a comment. Remember that our family members are usually asking these questions because they love and care for us. They don't intend to make you feel awkward or uncomfortable. When I realized this it changed my life and my holiday enjoyment forever.

Here's a journal prompt to help you enjoy the holiday even more:

Make a list of the family members you'll be seeing this holiday season. Ask yourself these questions about each individual*:

  1. What is your first memory of this person?

  2. Think of a time that you laughed with them.

  3. What characteristics of this person do you admire?

  4. What challenges have they overcome in their lifetime?

Doing this journal exercise before a stressful holiday gathering will help you feel both grounded and grateful. I hope these tips help you to enjoy the holiday.

If you're a woman growing a business and want tips to be streamline and systemized, check out my upcoming online masterclass workshops here.

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We meet each Thursday afternoon at 4pm ET. Learn more here.

*This advice is intended for independent adults and not a substitute for therapy or counseling. If you don't feel safe with an individual, get help from a trusted professional source who can help you advocate for yourself.

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