Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, and Kwanzaa holidays are upon us!  This means holidays spent with family, friends, and loved ones. The holiday season can be hard for many and everyone isn’t keen on celebrating the holidays.

Positivity and cheerfulness can be hard to communicate when you are in the middle of feeling negative emotions. I want to reassure you that not having the words is okay, not everyone can describe or explain how they feel. However, I am here to give you five basic strategies for healthy communication during the Holidays. 

5 Strategies for Communication During the Holidays

  1. Describe and Express

Whenever you are in a situation or feel a certain way, take a moment to describe briefly the situation you are in. The key is to not use emotion and just explain in a basic sentence or two.

Then you would be able to express your feeling about this situation. Answering questions such as…does it make you uncomfortable? Do you have a stomachache, are you sad, are you remembering something that makes you happy, satisfied, or confused?

Separating feelings and action is the key breakdown to start. Sometimes combining the two can be frustrating and nothing can get across. One method to express your emotions is using “I Statements” which can be a good fill-in-the-blank method for those who need a guidance tool.

  1. Assertion

 Sometimes the people we care about don’t understand the severity of our feelings. Make sure to assert how much this is affecting you. Emphasize what you need at that moment. Whether you need something to eat or drink, want someone to lend an ear, or even take a walk or distance yourself, stress the importance of these things and then follow through.

  1. Know Your Stressors

 You may not be able to communicate with people you are around during a holiday event or gathering. However, you can create a list of what triggers you in the best and worst way. For example, if you are going to a party and you love the appetizers but dislike a music genre or a relative, you are now self-aware of what brings you joy and what does not.

You can feel prepared, go to that party and enjoy the appetizers and steer clear from that relative by getting fresh air or keeping your distance. Dislike the music? Bring headphones, earplugs, or exit. You make the best out of your special holidays and take a break when needed. By preparing ahead of time,  no one or anything triggering should affect your ability to enjoy the gathering.

  1. We All Communicate Differently

Something to remember is everyone communicates differently. Others are better at talking, while others are shy, quiet, loud, teary, overzealous and everything in between.

There is no perfect way of relaying emotions, happy or sad. Take the time to think rationally. You know yourself better than most if there is a time when you can express yourself without feeling self-conscious or nervous, manifest that moment, or use that tool to share.

For example, if you are a better communicator if you write things down or nod/shake your head, then use that tool. Let the people you feel comfortable with have these moments. For future holiday events, this can be helpful that way your loved ones can understand when you need time, space, or an ear for any situation.

  1. Take A Step Back.

If you are having trouble explaining yourself, or if the other person is not getting it, this may cause anger or frustration. When you feel this emotion coming on, the best thing to do is collect yourself and take a step back.

That moment, may not be the best time to lay everything out, or in spurts. Stepping away from the issue and having time to recollect the conversation can help you focus on what the other person may not be understanding. It can also help you communicate better your thoughts and feelings and the “who, what, where, why, and how” questions.

 I hope your holidays are filled with memories to cherish. When it comes to communicating there are many ways we can try to improve how we say it.

In order to get your point across and be heard, try these five healthy and simple strategies for communication during the holidays. When you feel the need to give a voice to the joys and woes this holiday season, you’ll have these tools to express them.