As we continue through December and prepare for the festivities, it’s easy to become distracted with long ‘to-do’ lists; calendars booked up with extra social events whether that be socially distanced or virtually; and perhaps finalising work in preparation for a well-earned break. These distractions can impact on our relationships with the people we care about most, so here are some tips for maintaining positive relationships during the festive season.
1. Take Time to be Present: During busy periods, it’s so easy to be on auto-pilot and not notice the passage of time. Stop yourself from just going through the motions by paying attention to the moment. Observe without judgement the sounds, smells, sights, and people around you.
2. Acknowledge Feelings First: When someone you care about is upset, you may find yourself offering them solutions only to have them become more upset. Consider whether, in trying to fix the problem, you’ve forgotten to first show you understand why it’s upsetting for them. Studies show that understanding another person’s emotions is key to maintaining effective relationships.
3. Give Compliments: You may be confident that the people you care about are fully aware of your positive feelings about them and there is no need to tell them. Don’t leave them guessing. Tell the important people in your life the things that you like or love about them, often.
4. Re-connect: Consider when was the last time you connected with someone important in your life that you don’t see often. Do you know what they did yesterday or what their plans are today? Take the time to call, send a message, or visit if you can, someone you have lost touch with.
5. Find Common Ground: Sometimes it’s the differences between us that can cause a sense of disconnect. Identify and talk about the things you have in common, whether it be hobbies, goals, opinions, or values.
6. Be Inclusive: A sense of belonging is critical to our wellbeing and overall happiness. You are in an ideal position to create an atmosphere of inclusiveness and belonging by ensuring that everyone is on your invitation list, and has a valued place in your family, social group, or workplace.
7. Connect to Values: Be clear about your own values, that is, the things which are important to you, and which guide your life decisions. Behave consistently with your values and ensure that these are the things that guide and motivate the choices you make within your relationships.
8. Add Humour: Make sure that there is plenty of room for fun, humour, and silliness in your relationships. Humour and jokes about shared experiences and those things which are out of your control, can help relieve stress or frustration.
As we head into the festive season it is easy to get caught up in the festivities. There is pressure to have fun, spend time with family and loved ones but for some people, the festive season can be a time of sadness and loneliness. See here for more information and tips for managing loneliness.
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