Holiday Stress: Communication and Frustration

Attention: open in a new window. PDFPrintE-mail

noPart 4 of our "Holiday Stress" blog series focuses on how to manage your stress when things start to go wrong. The two seemingly simple ideas below can be difficult to master, but once you successfully implement them, you may find that the hiccups in your carefully laid plans seem smaller and easier to overcome.
  • Recognize and be okay with frustration. In working with people, we often hear them beating themselves up over the fact that every minute of every event was not perfect, joyous and without disagreements, irritations, upset. The chances frustration will occur is even greater at this busy time of year, and we often mix together many people who do not normally spend much time together. People move in for the holidays and no matter how much you care about them, there are bound to be moments of, shall we say, unfriendliness. Recognize that you can only control so much. It is normal for there to be imperfections and disagreements with family events. Teach yourself to "let go" of these frustrations, and don't allow them to get the better of you.
  • Communicate in ways that take care of you. This will make life easier for you and those around you. Learn to say, "no." Saying yes when you should say no can leave you feeling resentful and overwhelmed. Friends and colleagues will understand if you can't participate in every project or activity. If it's not possible to say no to a boss or friend, try to let something else go. 

If you're worried about how to say no without hurting someone's feelings, try explaining that "while I'd really like to come to your holiday party, I cannot make it work with my schedule. Why don't we plan a day to catch up in January?" Offering an alternative plan will show your interest and get you off the hook. Read more tips and suggestions from the Mayo Clinic on how to say "No" and how to make it stick. Next week we'll tackle self-care.

Read the past blogs in the "Holiday Stress" series!

Staying Balanced

Sources of Holiday Stress

Preparing for the Holiday Season

Family Profiles