Stress Free Holidays: Surviving the Family

Let go of expectations and protect yourself. Let’s face it – if your parents/siblings have not approved of you, your choices, your job etc until now, they are not going to change. Accept it and let go of the expectation that they will be different. Instead, protect yourself, focus on what you love about them, keep the conversations light and steer clear of family battles.

At this time of year, there is celebration, anticipation and STRESS!@X$!  As wonderful as it is to get together with loved ones, it can also be a very difficult time for many of us emotionally.  Here are some tips for taking care of yourself.

1. Advance Food Prep- Do as much as you can in advance and even consider

• making dinner a potluck

• ordering the turkey already cooked (many supermarkets like Publix will cook your whole meal)

• not cooking a turkey-having a brunch instead (less work)

• have the family do a service project instead of cooking

2.Alcohol dynamics. In many families, alcohol aggravates the family issues.  Drunks can get loud, critical, mean, demeaning and embarrassing. Think about:

• an alcohol-free meal; use festive hot cider and interesting hot drinks

• serving punch which is lightly spiked instead of offering beer, wine & hard liquor

• serving coffee drinks which have very little alcohol

3. Let go of expectations and protect yourself. Let’s face it  - if  your parents/siblings have not approved of you, your choices, your job etc until now, they are not going to change.  Accept it and let go of the expectation that they will be different.  Instead, protect yourself, focus on what you love about them, keep the conversations light and steer clear of family battles.  If your parent or sibling starts to criticize you, say “This is a holiday- I would appreciate it if you would be kind.  If you can’t be nice, please don’t say anything.”  Then walk away.

4. Before the family comes:

• get lots of sleep- at least 7 hours a night before they arrive

• hire a cleaning person if you can afford it

• take a hot bath with Epsom salts

• mentally shield yourself with a spiritual shield, prayer, protection or light.

• meditate, pray and move into gratitude for your blessings.

Don’t let your family bring you down.  Choose to be positive and loving regardless of their behavior.  And if they are really that dysfunctional, skip the holiday. Go away and be with people who appreciate you.

Stay Fired Up by Attending Live Events

How many live events have you attended this year? Conferences, seminars, trade shows, expos, retreats, boot camps, workshops, one day programs- all of these are considered live events, where you actually go and meet people face to face. Live events help you overcome the stress of working alone on your business, trying to come up with all the answers yourself, and they energize you. These are enormously valuable for so many reasons:

1. You meet great new people who fire you up and can become friends, business associates, affiliate marketers, partners in new ventures, international contacts and more.

Carrie Wilkerson with SnowdenHere’s what I mean.   I went to Mark Victor Hansen’s Megabook Marketing conference in Orlando in June 2009, which I attended because my new book Stress Express!  was about to be published.  There I listened to and met the wonderful Carrie Wilkerson, the Barefoot Executive, who became my internet marketing mentor and friend.  She is extraordinary, and it was my privilege to be a guest speaker on one of her CD’s and participate in her webinars. I attended her Boss 2009 weekend, which featured speakers and fascinating folks from all over the world, several of whom I have since done webinars and teleseminars with throughout 2009-2010. I also got to know the terrific Paul Evans, speaker, and  fascinating David Frey, internet marketer.  Both of these men are great people, very successful  and caring individuals who make such a difference in the world.  It was my honor to be on Paul’s Paul Evansblogtalk radio show last week and I have referred him for some speaking engagements we may do for the same client.  We are growing our friendship- all because of we both attended live events. Those kinds of connections get me totally Fired Up! and fill me with gratitude and inspiration.

2. You learn in a different way than if you attended a webinar or read a book.  That keeps you fresh and helps relieve your stress.

There is nothing like a live event where you can see the facial expressions, witness the body language and understand the nuances of the content being delivered.  Many times, comments are taken out of context and they don’t quite make sense.  At a live event, you get to witness the speaker and participate in their laughter, foibles, poignant stories and fun.  You are part of the experience because you are there,  engaged and involved, and you will more likely retain what you heard far more than if you listen on CD later on.

3. You are privy to upcoming news, specials, giveaways and more- which are often launched or announced at live events. That always fires me up!

Joel Comm, NY Times bestselling author of Twitter Power and hugely successful i-phone app creator, autographed his new book, Kaching, for us at Boss 2010, which we received because of his and Carrie’s generosity.

4. You stretch out of your comfort zone and start thinking in new ways, which is great for preventing burnout, and challenging the status quo.

Bob Burg and CarrieI had the joy of attending Bob Burg and Thom Scott’s event, Extreme Business Makeovers, last spring and again met such interesting people and learned so much. I took three legal pads full of notes and implemented a great many things based on what I learned there. Thom modeled marketing innovations through his creative coaching. Bob is a phenomenal man, filled with heart and wisdom, and he gave us all so much to think about. Each speaker made us think differently about our approaches. Most of all, Bob epitomizes adding value and being a  “go-giver,” which is the way I choose to live my life. (He also gives great hugs- which you would only know if you attended a live event!)

What live events are on your calendar for the next year?  Start planning now for new ways to learn, grow, connect, expand and make a difference. Whether it’s a business seminar or yoga retreat, be sure you get the most out of it by taking the time to really get to know the other attendees, add value to them wherever possible, helping them with their businesses and goals, soak up as much information as you can, act on what you learn and continually grow yourself and your business.