Stephanie Sen | Director of Family and Couples Therapy Center at CSU
“…it’s clear that the holidays don’t start the struggle. Gremlins don’t go on vacation. “Never enough” is in full swing.In a 2015 Facebook post, University of Houston research professor and noted author Brené Brown explains the unavoidable truth about vacations. She continues to share strategies for navigating that truth: finding the magic of the holidays in the chaos as she prepares to spend the next few days with her family and friends. Did. To practice love and gratitude with a special group of people who show up and love me for them, not in spite of my vulnerability.
stress on vacation
While the holidays fill our lives with joy, they can also lead to anxiety, sadness, anger, and other difficult emotions.
A 2015 Healthline survey found that more than 60% of adults of all ages reported feeling stressed during the holidays. Time, expectations, and relationships can all contribute to increased stress, resulting in a range of emotions during the “happiest time of the year.”
Known for her vulnerability research and writing, Brené Brown uses her emotional intelligence to manage her vacation challenges. In 1995 she was noted by Daniel GolemanEmotional intelligence is the ability to identify and manage emotions. Emotional intelligence isn’t a personality trait, it’s a skill you can develop to manage your vacation.
be aware of yourself
Emotionally intelligent people practice self-awareness and self-regulation. Give yourself time during the holidays to feel your emotions, both good and bad. Pull them “like a familiar shirt,” like Molly Schwartz in Mitch Albom’s Tuesdays with Morrie.
Notice the butterflies in your stomach and the tension in your neck. Experience without judgment or modification. Use relaxation and calming strategies like deep breathing and grounding as you try to identify emotions and make sense of them.
be aware of others
Another emotional intelligence skill is the ability to extend awareness and regulation to others. Pay attention to the emotional experiences of those around you. Use empathy to understand how they feel and consider multiple perspectives.
Offer grace and forgiveness. Co-regulate. Co-regulation means managing each other’s emotions together. When a loved one is upset, emotions often escalate, leading to tension, arguments, stress, and misunderstandings. By remaining calm in the midst of the emotional distress of others, we can create a supportive environment that helps ease difficult emotional escalations.
Focus on goals and be flexible with means
Through it all, keep your goals in mind. An important part of emotional intelligence is knowing your motives and staying hopeful in their pursuit. If something is causing you stress, ask yourself why it matters. Is there another way to achieve the same goal with less stress? Scheduling a large family to get together on a day other than the actual holiday can ease the tension of having to share time with everyone in the family. Can sending Valentine’s letters instead of Christmas letters take the pressure off the holidays while sharing family updates? Fight the financial stress and hustle and bustle of the holiday season How can we rethink gift-giving in a way that makes giving gifts feel joyful, without being overwhelmed?
develop emotional intelligence
Finally, emotional intelligence is a skill we can build, and the best time to do it is when we are less stressed. After the vacation is over, take time to revisit your own emotional experiences. When were you the happiest? What brought you joy? What was it when you experienced difficult emotions? Explore their origins and meanings. What do you think could be changed next time? Think of a time when you were able to coordinate and co-coordinate properly. What helped you do that, and how can you use those skills to handle difficult situations in the future?
The struggle doesn’t start on the holidays, but like Brené Brown, using your emotional intelligence can help you find magic in chaos. The important thing is to learn how to give and receive love.”
Stephanie Sen is Family and Couples Therapy Centerpart of the Marriage and Family Therapy Program at Colorado State University Department of Human Development and Family StudiesCSU’s Family and Couples Therapy Center provides quality therapy services for families, couples, individuals, adolescents and children. CFCT serves all members of the Larimar County community as well as students, faculty and staff on campus. Visit website for more information.