Holiday time can be an enormous drain on health and stress levels. Even though you are related, you and your relatives may have different value systems and perspectives.
However, practicing communication skills over the holidays can bring family or friends closer together. The following communication tips can help you get through what may seem like forced togetherness. These relationship skills can help you keep your cool during the holidays or at home and work.
Good communication skills require you to being able to listen to others. In our busy, world, sometimes we forget that simple fact. Modern day communication seems to be in small bites – texting, short emails. Yes, technology keeps us in touch with people, however, even Skype or face-to-face time doesn’t provide you with a hug or pat on the back.
Some Tips to Improve Your Listening Skills
- Remember what someone is saying to you. Everyone likes to feel that they are being listened to; it shows respect.
- Being mindful, attentive and responsive and you will enhance communication skills with little effort. Maintain eye contact. Even if you don’t agree with what the person is saying, hear them through. Don’t start texting or answer your cell phone!
- Have empathy if a person is going through a difficult time. You never know when someone is in a truly hopeless state. Your effective listening skills and focusing on the person can be the catalyst to change that person’s mood for the better.
- Remember that there are verbal and non-verbal communication skills. The non-verbal kind include body language – listening, nodding in agreement or other gestures.
If someone says something that really upsets you (a put down, a rude remark), you can do some communication problem solving. You can either flash back with a stinging reply or you can remove yourself from the situation. The sharp reply will likely start an argument. Just excuse yourself and leave the room. Count to ten, take some deep, calming, relaxation breaths and come back when you’re more in control. You can let it go and switch the conversation to another topic and practice your listening skills. It may not be worth the argument if you only see that person once a year!
The best tips for stress management at the holidays – stay calm and do your best to be kind. We may forget what someone says but we will never forget how that person makes us feel.