I love the holidays, all the sweet anticipation in the air. There was a time that I dreaded the holidays. It was due to the holiday celebrations with people I didn’t know well. They used to give me anxiety attacks. I felt so anxious about the necessary small talk with strangers and the unexpected questions about my personal life. After years of feeling dread, I decided to regain control over my holidays and created ways to buffer my heart and my holiday cheer.

The holidays may be stressful to you too. Maybe its due to your relatives behaving badly, or too many activities on your calendar, or that one rude friend of a friend that loves to freely disclose her opinions.

Here are my 4 powerful drama busting ways to break free of draining and distracting holiday drama.

Holiday Drama Buster #1

You are in control of only you. Let go of any need or aspiration to control or change anyone else. Once you let go of any desire to change someone else’s opinions, thoughts, or behaviors, you can relax. You will feel less pressure to win people over to your ideas and to make them behave in ways that make sense to you. Saying in your head, “I am only in charge of me!”, will help you let go of any need to control someone else.

Holiday Drama Buster #2
During the holidays, you may be asked to participate in way more activities then are sanely possible. It can be hard to say no to your child’s teacher when she asks you to volunteer for the class party. Or, no to baking dozens of cookies for your church’s holiday event. To remain balanced and happy, you will need to say no to some requests that are making your plate too full. So, how do you say “No” to people or activities that are important to you? You can say “No” by prefacing it with, “I would love to, but my calendar is full. How about in the Spring you count me in to help with X?” You are saying “No”, controlling your time, and choosing a different way to share your time. A Win-Win!

Holiday Drama Buster #3

Relatives who know your triggers can cause a lot of holiday drama. It can be your uncle who loves to ask you about your last breakup. Or, your sister who knows your political viewpoints are different then hers and finds opportunities to discuss hot topics, when all you want to do is to sip on your hot chocolate. It can be challenging not to let them get under your skin and to respond. When someone says something inappropriate, don’t ignite it or go silent. Just say, “Please stop. I’m not interested in discussing this.” Most people won’t say anything else. For the few challengers, follow it by saying, “I am no longer available to listen to this.” Change the subject or leave the area.

Holiday Drama Buster #4
Decide now to have conflict free zones! This is where you escape to just take a breath (from relatives, the noise, etc.). It can be your bathroom, closet, or garage. Stash some feel good goodies in there too! Chocolate, your favorite book, listen to music you love, or light a candle. You may only get a 10-minute escape, but you will leave happier and re-centered.

The holidays can be an odd blend of people and situations that create tension and unnecessary drama. The most important decision you can make about your holidays is to commit to taking care of your feelings and time. Declare to yourself to practice ways to buffer yourself from rude people, unwarranted opinions, and being off balance from a schedule overrun with commitments. Once you commit to being there for yourself, the holidays will feel peaceful and calm.