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In His Own Words Take these steps to keep holidays drama-free

  • Published Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013, at 8:27 p.m.
  • Updated Thursday, Dec. 19, 2013, at 7:22 a.m.



Did your company or workplace have an after-hours holiday party for employees this year?

Ah, the holiday gathering – that time of year when you drive 500 miles to spend one day with people you see once a year.

After it’s over, you wonder why you do it so often.

Holidays can be the most joyous, and most stressful, times of the year. The hype, expectations, anticipation and preparation all come together in ways that can sometimes push us over the edge.

We spend time with relatives we don’t see often and maybe don’t even like. Company parties feel contrived and awkward, but we put on our best act. End of year deadlines loom, and we secretly pray for the holidays to be over.

No wonder drama kicks into overdrive during the holidays. To keep you from blowing a gasket, we offer three strategies to stay calm, cool and collected this holiday season. Use these tips to spend less energy fighting energy vampires and more energy enjoying the blessings of the season.

It’s not about you

You aren’t the only one who is stressed out, uncomfortable, angry, bitter, scared and anxious. Most of the time when people lash out, say passive aggressive things, or act like a martyr, it’s because of something going on with them. Don’t take it personally.

It’s all about you

Tis the season to be “self-ful.”“Self-ful” is not the same as selfish. “Self-ful” means taking care of you first so that you have energy to give to others. Get enough sleep. Eat healthy. Exercise regularly. Say no to requests for your time that take you away from the things that energize you.

Drop all expectations

Don’t just lower them; eliminate them altogether.

Stop holding people hostage by expecting them to read your mind, cook the perfect meal, say hi to you, or to react with grateful excitement upon opening a gift.

If you want something, ask for it, try it, go for it. If you don’t get it, you’re still OK. And so are they. At least you took responsibility for what you wanted.

Nate Regier, Ph.D., is a founding owner of Next Element Consulting, a leadership development and communication training firm in Newton. He is co-author of “Beyond Drama: Transcending Energy Vampires.” E-mail him at nate@next-element.com.

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