4 Ways to Survive Your Family over the Holidays 

Handling emotions intelligently with your family during the holidays

The groceries are bought, and the cooking has started.  You’ve even baked everyone’s favorite dessert early to have it ready in the freezer.  Now…it’s time for a serving of emotional intelligence (EQ) to get us all through the holiday season with our loving, thoughtful, amazing–yet sometimes difficult–families!  


There is always someone who says something that causes us an immediate emotional reaction.  Let’s set ourselves up for success with the strategy of Know Who and What Pushes Your Buttons.  It should be no surprise that Aunt Jenny always complains about the turkey, or Uncle Will never likes the side dishes.  So be prepared by recalling the “who” and the “what” that triggers you.  What does it feel like when your emotions get heated? Having this awareness will set you up for success the next time it happens so that you don’t say or do something you may regret. 

A second self-awareness strategy that can help us even before the holiday is: Don’t Be Fooled By a Good Mood.  If you are someone who loves the holidays, it’s easy to say ‘yes’ to more than you can handle. And then when it comes time to deliver, the stress and resentment set in because we only said yes because our excitement made us feel invincible and that we could pull off anything.  Take a pause before you commit to making dozens of cookies for the neighborhood party.  Make sure that if you say yes, you really mean it. 


Smile and Laugh More is a great strategy to embrace during the holiday season.  It could be as simple as this…when Uncle Will says he doesn’t like any of the sides, laugh out loud and say…’Uncle Will, I’m sorry you don’t like any of these.  I have an idea.  Next year, I’m putting you in charge of one side dish to bring that you love.  I can’t wait to enjoy it.’ And then move on!   

Another tried and true self-management strategy to use for the holidays is Count to Ten.  We can all use this no matter the situation to keep us out of those incredibly ineffective arguments about Grandpa needing to have the exact same seat at dinner, even after you strategically placed him near the buffet for easy access.  Nod to Grandpa, walk away for a 10 count and then come back and swap seats with Aunt Christie, then count to 10 again. 

The holidays will come and go in a flash.  The important thing is to try to embrace the chaos and enjoy the time with your family and friends as much as possible!   

These strategies were based off of the Emotional Intelligence training programs at TalentSmartEQ. To learn more about corporate training programs on Emotional Intelligence, please contact us or for more information, please check out additional resources at: www.talentsmarteq.com. 

By David Brzozowski, Director of Training at TalentSmartEQ

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