During the holiday season, many will gather with family and friends to share in good cheer. Occasionally, stressed-out tempers can heat up. Here are a few tips from TOPS Club Inc. (Take Off Pounds Sensibly), the nonprofit weight-loss support organization, to help you keep a cool head when it starts getting hot:
1. Know your triggers. Is it a certain person who gets your blood boiling? Or is it a specific situation that can melt your otherwise cool resolve to be pleasant and cheerful? Or is there a certain time of day when you can be more vulnerable and quick-tempered? Recall times when you have successfully overcome these triggers in the past and apply them to the present.
2. It's not all about you yet it's up to you. Everyone deals with stress and social situations differently. Don't take things too personally. You can control only one person's reaction to stress yours. Resolve to be the epitome of cool, calm, and collected demeanor and a good example for others.
3. Mind environmental influences. A festive background should stay in the background. Rather than rocking around the clock or the tree, maintain a calmer ambiance with the warm glow of candles, subtle sounds of instrumental tunes, and inviting aromas that remind guests of happy times.
4. Look before you leap. Rather than jumping into the middle of a heated discussion, take a moment or few to listen and assess what is going on. If you must share your opinion, do so with gentle consideration for others and their points of view.
5. Prepare with self care. Don't let the holidays or your companions wear you out or erode your resolve. Late hours, overindulgence in treats, and trying to accomplish too much in too little time all undermine your determination to live a healthy lifestyle. Nobody can or should do it all.
6. Remain in control. When you swallow pride, comments, or emotions, don't accompany them with foods that may disrupt your healthy eating meal plan and weight management success. Instead, keep your thoughts positive and coach yourself with affirmations, such as TOPS', "I am an intelligent person. I will control my emotions and not let my emotions control me."
7. Serenity now. Just as proper planning and preparation can help you accomplish healthy lifestyle goals, it also helps to navigate smoothly through the challenges of the holidays. Incorporate small, peaceful rituals such as breathing deeply or being mindful to enter each situation with a smile on your face.
8. Size matters. It's all too easy to dramatize and think that something is a big deal when, in fact, it isn't. Be honest with yourself. Avoid the urge to think that every conflict is the end of the world. Use self-talk such as, "This is not a big deal," or "I'm bigger than this," to keep your thoughts straight and attitude cool.
9. Back off. When all else fails, remove yourself gracefully from the situation and allow it to resolve or dissolve on its own. This would be a good time to go for a walk and keep your physical activity up. Invite others to join you and converse about a new, neutral topic to diffuse focus on the uncomfortable situation.
10. Mission accomplished. If you're motivated by rewards, promise to "treat" yourself to a non-food gift for making it through the holiday season without burning out or up perhaps a little pampering or the one gift that you forgot to ask for and would really enjoy.
TOPS Club Inc. is the original weight-loss support and wellness education organization. Founded more than 65 years ago, TOPS is the only nonprofit, noncommercial weight-loss organization of its kind.