Resilient Relationships - The Toll of Seasonal Stress


I bought a Santa hat yesterday. It was the only one I could find. Embroidered across the white fur base were the words, "Humbug!" It made me realize that we can make the end of this year either a humbug or a HUGbug.


It depends upon how we chose to respond to:


  • Wrapping last minute presents and waiting in long postal lines.

  • Over-extended bank accounts and under-appreciated gifts.

  • The dilemma of feeding a panoply of folks with differing claims of vegan, gluten-intolerant, lactose allergy, low salt, pure carnivore, and anything else in between.

  • Heavy work loads with last minute demands for year end results.


On and on and on. You create your own scenario. You know the drill! In the process you become anxious, short-tempered, curt, and probably take out your tension on those closest to you.


Here are three pieces of advice for keep your energy up and your relationships strong:


  1. STOP. As soon as you realize you're going over the edge, literally stop. Take a deep breath. Walk away and then return.

  2. STOP saying yes to every request. In fact, the grace of "no" or "not now" can carry great authority. Everything we are asked to do is like a 3-legged stool: time, outcome, and resources to do the work. One of these is often negotiable. Negotiate. You don't ask, you won't get.

  3. STOP trying the rescue the world. Know who you can legitimately help and who puts everyone else's teeth on edge. There is no law that says Uncle Elmer with the drinking problem MUST be at the dinner table.


There is no law that says the tedious friend who drives everyone crazy with a million questions has to spend ALL day at the house.

Three other pieces of advice:


  1. START asking what is most important and who matters the most. No one will remember if you forgot the cranberry sauce or forgot to light the last Hanukkah candle. What we do remember is how we feel in the moment.

  2. START every day thinking of at least 3 things for which you are grateful. Best way: write them down. Every day. Maybe as soon as you get out of bed.

  3. START giving hugs-either the real ones or the verbal ones that let people know you appreciate them. Whether the store clerk or your best beloved, warm responses fill the heart and the home with a radiant energy of love.


Can you add to this list? Let me know what you want to stop. What do you want to start?

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