How to Deal With Your Family Over the Holidays

For many people, holidays are incredibly stressful. Even leaving aside issues related to family history and dynamics, when people who happen to be related but don't have much in common get together there can be multiple points of contention, including food, politics, and religion. Here are some tips for coping. 1) Educate Yourself (or Refresh Your Education) in Effective Communication. My favorite communications primer is actually a classic parenting book, “How to Talk so Kids Listen and Listen so Kids Talk,” by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish. It’s a quick read with fun cartoons, and I recommend it to everyone regardless of whether they have kids. You can use its tips and techniques for getting along with, and resolving conflicts with, everyone, including adult family members, friends, and coworkers. This New York Times article on resolving family conflict is also excellent. It turns out that there’s a whole host of simple things you can do to defuse conflict, like sitting down or stepping … [Read more...]

One of the Best Time Management Pieces I’ve Read

  This piece on time management by Jamie Rohrbaugh gets a lot right: "This is the list of priorities I came up with for my life: One-on-one time with God in prayer and personal study. My health and my husband. (I wasn’t married yet, but I was thinking long-term and couldn’t choose between health and husband.) My family. My job. Church work. My social life. "When I drafted this list, I realized that my choices were way out of order. I was spending time on low priorities and neglecting high priorities. My life was topsy-turvy, and I hadn’t even realized it. "So I started changing things. For example, I stopped volunteering for things at church that I wasn’t gifted to do. It was hard to say “no” to enthusiastic recruiters, but it really helped my stress level. I also had to stop going out with friends so much, and I used that time to hit the gym after work instead." I'm an atheist, so obviously am not endorsing the "God" part. But still, the purpose of time management is to align … [Read more...]