Top 10 Tips to Survive Holiday Family Time

Last updated on: Published by: Recognizing Potential Coaching 0

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Or is it?

The holidays stir up different emotions for everyone. For those who had wonderful childhood memories of the holidays, have a supporting family and leave each gathering feeling fulfilled, loved and excited for the next meeting, the holidays are incredible! Some people have the complete opposite of those giddy vibes that family provides though. Which person are you? Do you know which category your spouse falls into? Is it the same as yours? Here are a few tips to help you both get through the holidays. 

1. Talk about it.
If you are in a relationship, talk to your spouse about what the holidays bring for you- stress, anxiety, bad memories, excitement, happiness, fulfillment? What comes up for you? Certain feelings for one side of the family and others for the other side? What comes up for them for their family? What comes up for them with your family? 

If you’re not in a relationship, be aware of the answers to these questions for yourself. Journal on them if needed.

2. Set expectations with everyone.
What time are you meeting? Where? Who’s bringing what dish? Who’s staying where? When are you leaving? 

Additionally, how do you expect the time to go? Do you want to take advantage of the time to relax or do you want to fill the time with certain activities? 

3. Identify patterns. Address if needed.
Are you always the one who cooks and cleans while others sit, eat and expect to be served on a silver platter? Frustrating for sure, but before you get mad and build that silent resentment- try asking for their help. Ask yourself if where your anger or irritation comes from when the pattern arises. Is it because you’ve never communicated your expectations?

4. Cultural Differences
Cultures are different across the world but they can also be different from family to family. Some families eat certain foods, some have traditional events, some have a particular demeanor. Get to know your people. Just because they don’t do everything your family does or they want certain things included doesn’t make them wrong. It’s part of their culture. If you aren’t aware of them, there’s a really good chance you’re pre-judging without all the facts. 

As a personal example, my husband is Middle Eastern. His family is boisterous, indulgent, doting, and always laughing. Everyone helps clean up. My family is more serious. Expectations are higher but communication isn’t. My brothers have conversations mostly made up of movie lines. The idioms are fast and frequent. My youngest brother has a hard time with the fact that my husband takes a nap every day after lunch. 

In my husband’s culture, this is common but more than that, having to constantly focus on conversations, be apart of them and think about the meaning behind the conversations going on around him- my husband is completely exhausted after only a few hours. His mind runs on full force just trying to fit into the conversations. Not something my brother has ever thought about or asked about but has definitely judged Moe for. Are you judging people without understanding their perspective or needs? 

5. Take a Step Back.
Certain family members drain every ounce of your energy? This is sadly more common than most people care to admit. Ask yourself what bothers you about them? Remember that insecurities are LOUD, confidence is quiet. If they’re loud and obnoxious, maybe they need reassurance that they’re wanted, seen, heard or loved. If they’re overbearing or controlling, maybe they need boundaries. Also remember that unhealthy people respond to boundaries in unhealthy ways. However, if they are responding in an unhealthy way, they’re only solidifying why the boundary needed set in the first place. Keep setting them. Eventually, their response won’t trigger you as much. Take a step back and view the person and the situation from a different perspective- theirs, an outsider’s or as that person. What’s needed? 

For those of us who leave family and are not fulfilled but more drained after the holidays, we need a few days to rest. A vacation from the vacation if you will. If your spouse is this person, have compassion and give them the rest they need. If you are this person, take the time you need. Get your nails done, take a drive, get a massage, whatever you need to refill your own cup, do it.

7. Do What You Gotta Do.
In some cases, family is who you choose, not what you were born into. If you need to make the choice to put your mental health above a weekend with people who make you miserable, do what you have to do. You should never feel unsafe, torn down or broken by people who claim to love you for the sake of tradition. 

8. Make Your Own Traditions
Turkey too much work and it never gets eaten? Grab a few rotisserie chickens from Costco. Make enchiladas. Have chili and cinnamon rolls instead…and YES! That is an incredibly delicious thing! (IYKYK) Traditions aren’t set in stone. Do what makes things more enjoyable, gives you more time and even better memories! Screw tradition if it takes away from joy, memories or happiness. 

9. Do Not Count Calories. 
You’re talking about 1-2 days, not months. What you eat over the 1-2 days isn’t going to make or break your diet, create bad habits or turn you into a blob. Enjoy your time. Enjoy your meals. Stop obsessing. Stress, shame and guilt will do way more damage to your body and mind than a couple pieces of pumpkin pie ever will. 

10. Take all the pictures. 
Get a cheap tripod off of Amazon, set it up and take pictures. Take pictures of your littles on their Pops & Gigi’s laps. Take the candid shots, the pictures that are real and in the moment. Someday you’ll be glad you did.

Safe travels and enjoy your week! 


How to Thrive While Traveling with a Spouse and Kids

Last updated on: Published by: Recognizing Potential Coaching 0

I’ve been a little MIA for a few weeks but I promise it’s with good reason. We just got back from a 17 day stay in Egypt! For those of you who don’t know, my husband was born there and his family lives in Cairo. We took the baby to meet his grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins for the first time! That being said, I have a whole lot of travel hacks for you that will save your marriage, your children and your sanity! There are links in here but they are not ads! They are legit what I used to help my family thrive! 
Here we go.

1. Talk about your expectations with your spouse a few days or even a couple weeks before you leave. Do they like to sleep in? Are they up with the sun and ready to seize the day? What sights do each of you want to see? What’s the culture of where you’re going? Anything you should be aware of, do or not do? 
Additionally, set expectations with your kids. Nobody likes walking into situations where they don’t know what’s happening and kids are no different. Talk about the plane ride- it will be a long way, there won’t be wifi. When we were talking with Mason about Egypt, we made sure to explain that the houses they live in are not like ours. They don’t have dryers for their clothes, their food is different and while we don’t expect him to eat all of it, we do expect him to try it. It’s ok if he doesn’t like it (but he did like most of it)! When we are in public, we expect him to stay near us and not take things from people even when they’re offered. Set them up for success from the get go by setting clear, concise expectations.

2. If you are flying- take a stroller but check it at the gate! Same with a car seat. The chances of the airlines losing it is less this way! Plus, you can use it to wheel around bags or your kids when you’re going long distances through the airport. 

3. Even if you’re breastfeeding, pack individual packets of formula. I only packed 2 and from experience, I will say that I wish I would’ve packed way more! There wasn’t always space on the plane. I got a stomach virus and had it for 11 days so my supply completely tanked and formula isn’t always available in other countries. Reading ingredients on these formulas is also not a good time.

4. If any one of your family members has food allergies, pack snacks! Airplane food is NOT allergy friendly. Though most airlines have stopped serving peanuts, it still doesn’t mean you can consume the food if you have any other allergies. I LOVED the Optavia chocolate shake meals. I packed about 10 and I used all 10 on the trip. They were the only thing I could keep down when I was sick and because you just mix them with water, it’s easy. If you mix it with only a little water, it’s like a pudding so it won’t make a mess. If you dump it in a water bottle, you have a shake with a decent amount of protein. I also packed things like individual packs of veggie straws, fruit strips, dried fruit, granola. 

5. You’ll want to seperate your carry ons like this. This is for a family of 4 but you get the idea.

Carry on #1– 2 pairs of clothes, 1 pair of pajamas and 3 pairs of underwear for each family member. Roll the clothes so you fit more in the bags and they don’t wrinkle as bad. Toothbrushes, contact solution, bathroom bags including 2 bars of soap! 1 bar you’ll use for showers and the other you’ll use to wash clothes if needed. The second leg of our trip, Lufthansa lost our bags and we didn’t get them for 5 days of our trip. Everything you’ll need in case this happens, put it in a carry on! 
Carry on #2– Electronics, iPads, chargers, phones, etc. 
Carry on #3– Snacks/food (nothing liquid!), 2 throw sized blankets packed over the top of the food and FUN- trust me on this. You’ll want to put coloring books, crayons, books to read, a sketch pad with some colored pencils, anything light weight that will keep them busy. For kids old enough to write, consider packing a journal for them to write down their memories- things they saw, enjoyed, people they met, what they saw that was different than where they live, things they ate and liked/disliked, etc.This will be a fun keepsake many years from now.
Carry on #4- Anything related to the baby- breastpump, charger, bottle brush (good luck finding one of those in any other country!) extra bottles, formula, etc. 

Seperating like this will help tremendously as you go through TSA and if you need something specific on the plane, you know which bag to grab quickly. 

6. Ladies- ZYIA LEGGINGS!! Thank God I wore a pair of jeans on the flight and packed a pair of Zyia black leggings in my carry on with a nicer t-shirt. Because the airlines lost our bags, I had to literally live in these leggings for 5 straight days. They were comfy enough to sleep in, easy to wash and dry quickly, nice enough to dress up with the nicer shirt I had and because Egypt is a billion degrees in July, they weren’t too hot! 

7. For kids, get 2 new toys (even for big kids) for them for the trip. One you’ll pack in the suitcase for the flight home. The other you’ll take on the flight to your destination. When they get bored, you’ll have a new toy for them to play with and it will be much more enjoyable for everyone.

8. Thieves Hand sanitizing Wipes. Life is messy and traveling isn’t always the most sanitary. I used these wipes for EVERYTHING- wiping down the plane/uber/etc, cleaning hands- kids and my own, wiping off pacifiers, anything that needed cleaned basically. They’re non-toxic, smell fantastic and chemical free. They are also allowed through TSA where a bottle of hand sanitizer big enough for a family for 2 weeks isn’t. 

9. Mighty Pro. A pre and probiotic. When I got sick and then my 11 year old got the same stomach virus (not covid, confirmed), these helped our digestive tract SO MUCH!! They’re small packets that taste like a pixie stick and don’t take up much space or weigh a lot. Other countries have food that doesn’t always agree with you. These help combat that.

10. Be Mindful of the BASICS! Children and adults alike cannot thrive if they are hungry, tired or thirsty. Yelling, getting short with them, adding to the negativity and the already tense situation will not help. Keep everyone fed, warm, hydrated and rested and whatever else hapoens isn’t a big deal. Every problem that happens after that is completely solvable. Most likely if there’s a meltdown, it can be traced back to one of these issues. 

11. Bonus Tip- Give everyone a job, even if it’s small. When kids feel important, they have something else to focus on besides how long they’ve been walking, how hungry or tired they are. For little kids, it might be looking for bathrooms or a certain type of food, the gate you’re going to, or watching for a man with a green shirt. Make anything up. It will pass the time and give them a focus. For older kids, it might be carrying bags, making sure all bags are accounted for, holding little brother’s hand, etc. 

For a couple’s only thriving while traveling and other relationship coaching tips, subscribe to my couple’s only weekly newsletter!

Above all, I know the pandemic created a hold on traveling but as someone who travels A LOT, I can honestly say that it’s very safe. Precautions are still taken but the world is opening back up for the most part and there are lots of things to see! 

Happy Travels!!


P.S- For numbers 4, 6, 8 and 9- if you’re interested in these products, email me and I can connect you to the people I ordered from or get you hooked up from my own website! 🙂