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Healthy Holidays: 6 Ways to Diffuse Family Tension


The holidays can be a stressful time of year. From extended family time to planning and hosting events at home to the stress around attending all the holiday events that are usually centered around food, it’s a lot to handle—especially on a diet.

In an effort to combat holiday stress and find a healthy way to deal with it, I spoke to my life coach, Alison Miller. Here are some of her recommendations:

Healthy ways to reduce family tension:
1. Focus on the holiday and holiday spirit instead of family issues and negative family dynamics. This time of year is busy and emotionally charged so it may not the best time to try to work out family problems.
2. Be grateful. Say thank you and appreciate your family in any way you can, even for very small things. Gratitude can reduce tension and change the tone of family interactions.
3. Set an example. Recognize that you are very powerful. If you are positive and forgiving, you set a good example for others and increase the chance of helping diminish family tension.

Healthy ways to deal with stress during holiday gatherings:
1. Help out. Often times, stress occurs when one or more people are exhausted from shopping, cooking, cleaning, and trying to please others. Get in there and help out. If you are the one doing the cooking and cleaning, ask for help in a lighthearted way. For example: “I would love to catch up with you. Mind giving me a hand with the dishes?”
2. Let go of perfection. Often we have very high expectations for holiday meals and get-togethers. We all know that most family gatherings are not perfect. Do your best to have a sense of humor and roll with whatever happens.
3. Savor the moment. Instead of trying to "make it through” the holidays, focus on really savoring the food with each bite, savoring the conversation, and savoring the opportunity to be with friends and family during this special time of year.

Our 2012 Weight Loss Diary writer, Yasmin, is a 33-year-old web content producer who is looking to get healthy and love her body! Follow along on her year-long weight loss journey!

Who’s helping Yasmin? Tiara Coaching Life coach Alison Miller, Ph.D, nutritionist Keri Gans, R.D, and Equinox personal trainer Stephanie Pipia.


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