Surviving the Holidays: 5 Tips to Navigating Family Drama

The holidays are upon us and many people find this time of year difficult as family and tradition collide. How can you adhere to your standard when faced with challenging political views, past drama swept under the rug, and for some even coming face-to-face with childhood trauma?

Here are five quick tips to surviving the holidays.

1. You set the tone.

Remember the person with the highest vibration wins. So decide before going into your family event what tone you want to set. You can’t control how everyone else acts but you can influence how people feel when they are in your presence.

2. Everyone has their own baggage.

That anxiety you feel about going to the family event or function, it’s likely that someone else is feeling the same way. When you realize and recognize that everybody has their own issues and not everybody has your standards it allows you to operate from a place of grace. Decide that during the holidays you are going to give people room to make mistakes and forgive them quickly. Be mindful not to make their baggage your baggage.

3. Pause…… Pause….

Not everything requires an immediate answer. Exercise your right to pause. During the pause ask yourself. Do I feel the need to respond? Why do I feel the need to respond? What response aligns with my standards?

4. Operate with the end in mind.

Before you even go to any family event ask yourself what your intention is. Are you desiring to continue family traditions? Do you want to connect with that family member that you only see during the holiday season? Why is it important to you to attend this event? Once you know your intention you have a goal to focus on if or when difficult conversations arise.

5. Eat to feel satisfied not full.

The holidays are marketed as the perfect time to indulge however it’s easy to eat in order to avoid challenging conversations. Food can be a great comfort when trying to navigate family drama. This can lead to overeating which ultimately can make you feel irritable and add to frustrations. By checking in with your body you can make sure you are feeling good and making good choices for you and your body.

I hope these tips help add happiness to your holidays! Comment below which one works best for you!

Need more help? Let’s connect! Send me message and let me help you take control of your emotions and your life!

I Let My Daughter See Me Have a Meltdown and It Was The Best Thing For Her

It was a sunny, beautiful day so the kids (3 plus one in-vitro) and I checked out the La Jolla tidepools. We then followed it up with a trip to Birch Aquarium. We had the best time! At one point I was enjoying just being in the moment so much I forgot to snap pictures to show my husband. We stopped by some fancy pizza place on the way home since the kids love going out to eat and then we headed back to the house.

At this point, the mood of the day changed. My oldest wanted to go to the beach. I was exhausted. My youngest (2) did not want to get out the car so she bounced between the front and back seats laughing hysterically as I tried to grab her. Did I mention I am pregnant and my growing womb makes it difficult for me to be as agile as I would like? I finally grab my bouncing 2-year-old, the diaper bag, a grocery bag of snacks and tell the older two to follow me as we march towards the front door.

As soon as we get in the house my oldest (7) shoots me a glare and mumbles under her breath, “This is the worst day ever.”

What! I lose it. I drop everything. The bags, my youngest, and my resolve. “What do you mean worst day ever?! You saw a crab in the tidepools! You had fun at the aquarium and we went out to eat! The worst day ever? Really!” By this point, I am in tears. Yes, real tears run down my face as I stand in shock and aw. My oldest’s face contorts from one of sheer angst to shock to sadness then she breaks down and cries. She was remorseful and I was grateful for that remorse.

I believe that my daughter needed to see that her mother was a person with feelings and she needed to know that the way she expresses her feelings affect other people. I could have calmly expressed that she was being ungrateful and I didn’t appreciate it but I do not think she would have heard me otherwise, at that moment. She needed me to shake things up.

So how did I reconcile with my outburst?

  1. I gave myself grace. I am an imperfect person doing my best to be the best I can be.
  2. I thought about how I was feeling. I went through the 4 questions in my head.
  3. I checked my motivation and my intent. (My motivation was to show my daughter I have feelings. My intent is to raise a kind, gracious, generous child.)
  4. I made a decision. I believe in apologizing to my children when I do something that goes against the standard. In this case, I decided there was nothing to apologize for and I continued about our day. She later apologized to me and we went on to continue life as usual.

I wanted to share this with you because many think to be emotionally intelligent means being void of emotional expression, it does not. When you are emotionally intelligent you take responsibility for your emotional expression before, during, and after your feeling has passed. I want to teach my kids that not only can they feel, but their feelings affect others, which is why I let my daughter see me have a meltdown.


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Marriage Work

Marriage is work.

My husband is an only child, an introvert and can be very tight-lipped about his feelings. In fact, when he communicates it’s as if he uses as few words as possible.

I am the oldest of five and I am very sure and expressive of my feelings and I’m a speaker and trainer so I talk a lot.

When we got married year one was a whole lot of trying to mold each other into our ideal communicator. He wanted me to talk less I wanted him to talk more. We both wanted to be understood. We also both really desired to be known by each other.

The invisible expectations let to frustration, which led to breakdowns in communication. It was difficult, stressful, and even scary to communicate with each other. We didn’t want to fight. We had a lot of fun together, we enjoyed a lot of the same things, and before we got married we got along so well.

He was literally my best friend. So why couldn’t we talk to each other?

Enter emotional intelligence. As I begin studying emotional intelligence in my graduate program I started applying the concepts to my daily life. It started as an experiment, could this abstract idea really manifest into actual systems?

I started with self-awareness I had to identify how I was really feeling before I could even begin to communicate my feelings or understand how my husband could be feeling.

Next came self-regulation. What did I want in my marriage? What was the end goal? At this point, I just wanted to have a conversation with my husband without it turning into an argument.

Then came motivation. Why did we get married in the first place? What was our intent?

Next, we got to the empathy phase. This is where for me our communication really changed. I had to look at what my husband was actually meaning, versus what he was saying. For example, my husband and I could be talking and I could tell him about a new product I heard about. I could be excited about the product and he coolly responds, “Why would anyone want to buy that?”

Now an outsider could hear our conversation and think wow he’s kind of rude and inconsiderate. Me being in the conversation and knowing my husband’s heart and background I understand that he is actually asking what the benefits of purchasing this product are.

Learning how to use the emotional intelligence tools of empathy in our relationship help me careless of how other people viewed our conversations and really look at my husband’s heart and intent. This improved our communication tremendously.

He no longer felt as if he was constantly being corrected and micromanaged when he was speaking to me. I no longer felt as if I had to correct him or take offense to the things he was saying when I knew the intent behind his words.

This leads us to the last component of emotional intelligence which is relationships and we learned tools and strategies to be really intentional about our relationship and it has transformed our marriage.

Click here to schedule a call with me if you are married or about to be and struggling with trying to communicate effectively in your relationships. I would love to pass these tools along.

Self-Awareness Starts in The Mind

Have you heard the quote from Henry Ford “Wither you think you can or you can’t your right”? The power behind the quote lies in the notion that your thoughts determine your trajectory. Our emotions have the ability and tendency to highjack our thoughts. Let me prove it. Think about a day where you woke up and everything was going according to plan. What were you thinking about? Your plans for the day, the evening? Maybe you were listening to music or planning a vacation in your head. Now think about that moment being snatched away. Maybe someone cut you off in traffic or was short with you in a check out line. Maybe you experienced a loss. Whatever the case your positive thought was interrupted by emotion and your emotion began to drive your thought.

What if you could take back the steering wheel in your mind and go back to your positive thoughts. Positive thoughts are not just a way of saying, “thinking something nice” when I use the term positive thought I am referring to forward thinking thoughts. Thoughts that push you towards your end goals. Innovative, creative, solution creating operating in the positive rather than the negative kinds of thoughts. These thoughts are the first steps to true change.

So how do you take back the power of thought the driver of action through the implementation of self-awareness? By using the four questions.

The first question is How do I feel? It is easy to get so busy with our lives that we forget to take notice when something occurs that changes our state of being. It is not often that the average person takes the time out to stop and analyze their feelings before moving from one state of being to another. For example, when is the last time something upset you and you made a conscious analysis that going from one state of being such as calm to another such as energetic was the best thing for you or the situation at hand. This first question is important because it causes you to take notice to and acknowledge the shift.

This next question is When did I start to feel this way? The closer you can get to identifying when your shift in emotion happened the easier it will be to identify your true feelings later on. Here is the thing everyone has triggers, but not everyone knows what their triggers are. Knowing when your emotions shifted allows you to identify your triggers and stop them from derailing your day. Think back to when your emotion changed. Were you speaking with someone? Watching or reading something? Did you lose or miss out on a sale or deal? When did the shift occur?

The third question helps you get to the nitty-gritty of why your triggers are in fact YOUR triggers. Why do I feel this way? When the event occurred why did it elicit the response from you that it did? Are you feeling like you need to protect your heart? Defend your position? If so, why? Understanding the answers to these questions helps you limit the amount of time and power your emotions have over your thoughts. After much practice, you will be able to sit back and say, “Oh I felt this way because…” and move back to your positive thoughts.

The last question may seem like the first but your answer may be completely different. By this point, you’ve identified when and why you feel the way you do meaning you are equipped to address the root feeling. It is at this point you want to ask yourself, “How do I feel?” Now that you’ve properly identified your emotions you can choose whether to hold on to the feeling associated with the experience or let it go. We can’t always control how we initially feel but I believe we can control whether or not we give those feelings control over the rest of our day, year, or life.

To learn how to take your newly identified emotions and use them as fuel for your purpose, join my Live Emotional Intelligence Masterclass.

Orchids Not Daisies

I was thinking of flowers today. Orchids in particular. These beautiful flowers take work to grow. It’s not that caring for orchids is difficult it’s particular.

Orchids need specific things in order to thrive. They need the right humidity. The right amount of water. The right percentage of sunlight and time. It takes time to find the right balance of these things. Your vision, purpose, business, even your children are the same way.

You have to take time to tweak your environment and set the atmosphere of your optimal growth. Be gentle with yourself during this process the atmosphere to produce for yourself often differs from the atmosphere you are in to produce for someone else. If you spend all your time and energy in an environment that was created by someone else in order to produce the thing that they are looking for, then taking out time and energy for you to set the atmosphere in order to produce the thing that you are looking for is going to a process.

You have to find the proper nourishment. Feed yourself encouragement. Guard what you are listening to. Be protective over what is spoken over you. Take in only that which causes you growth. Shy away from comfort, that keeps you complacent. This is how you grow you discipline yourself, by doing what is nessecary over what is convenient.

You have to give yourself sun. Get out into nature. Be inspired by the beauty around you and take a break from time to time. After all you are growing orchids not daisies.

**The beautiful arrangement above is made by Flowers by Pricilla**