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It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

Joy to the world! Peace on earth! Happy holidays! Or is it? This is one of the most stressful times of the year for many. Family time, travel, gifts to buy, meals to prepare, etc. We want this time of the year to be merry and bright for our family and friends. Feeling overwhelmed is an under-statement.

Kick off December by giving yourself the gift of a wholistic approach to survive the holiday season.

Day 11 of the 12 Days of Christmas

Survival Tip #11: Avoid Holiday Family Feuds

We are literally days away from Christmas! Most of us are looking forward to the fun, the laugher, the food, the festivities, the gift giving, time spent with family and friends, and so much more! Sadly, for some, the approaching holiday brings about feelings of dread and stress. This kind of stress can wreak havoc on our bodies; mentally, emotionally, and physically. I am here to give you the gift of some ways to deal with the holiday stress.

Keep Your Cool

This is excellent advice during the holiday and for every day living. It's important to practice the ability to stay silent until you find yourself in a calm space that allows you to speak at a normal volume and in a kind tone. Continue to stay vigilant if you decide to have a conversation with someone who has lost their temper, by thinking through and watching what you say. Do your best to be rational and logical rather than emotional. Give the gift of understanding if you decide to continue to interact with a family member who has become offensive. This allows you to be thoughtful rather than critical. Coming from a place of love and understanding models positive behaviors to others. It is also beneficial to your health and well-being.

Do not allow anyone to put your physical or mental health in peril. Elevated cortisol levels increase mental health disorders, a spike in blood sugar and insulin levels, and is overall very detrimental to your brain and body. Give yourself the gift of keeping your cool. Your brain and body will thank you!

Distract Yourself

Find your happy place if and when things start becoming tense. As soon as things begin to go south, take a pause, a deep breath, and find that mental escape! Distracting yourself during a tense moment is a beneficial coping mechanism. Think back to a time where you were some place where you felt comfortable. It could be the beach. Use all of your senses to enjoy this happy place by seeing the ocean, feeling the sand between your toes and the warm sun on your skin. Take about 10 minutes to reflect on your happy place. While everything around you may be tense and unhappy, you can begin to feel calmer. If you struggle to visualize your happy place, consider singing a song in your head to create a distraction. By creating a beautiful visualization, you are doing what you need to do to keep from becoming a part of the family drama. Another amazing gift to give yourself!


That's right! Start whispering when everyone else around you starts yelling. Your approach may cause those yelling to actually lower their voices so that they can hear what you are saying. This tactic is likely to de-escalate the family feud. Give the gift of calm!

Find Common Ground

The whole country should consider this tip! Let's give each other the gift of listening, along with the sincere attempt to understand another's viewpoint. When you find yourself trying to convince the other that you are right in your perspective, take a pause and consider building a bridge. It shouldn't be about winning or being right. Just imagine what this world would be like if we all sincerely listened to each other, addressed each other's concerns, and found common ground with our loved ones. Talk about the gift of Peace on Earth!

Pause and Re-Direct

If you find yourself, this holiday season, as part of a discussion that makes you feel uncomfortable, find a way to re-direct the conversation. Have topics on hand and ready if you find yourself in this situation. Consider topics like the weather, sports, children, pets, a hobby or an upcoming vacation. If you find yourself unable to re-direct the conversation, then politely find a way to leave the conversation/situation.

Do not let anyone ruin your holiday! Give yourself, and those you love, the gift of health and well-being this holiday season!


Rowe, Keith. “How to Avoid Family Drama during the Holidays.” BrainMD, 25 Nov. 2020,

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