Bella Dodds

Stress + Anxiety

Integrative Health Coach


6 Tips to Not Overact this Holiday Season

The holiday season is upon us which means delicious food, a break from the rat race…and more time with relatives.

Ooooh to the joy? Well sometimes it is wonderful, but being with your loved ones usually comes with a wee-bit-o-drama. I think in part because everyone has their way of doing things coupled with an irrepressible need to have others be on the same wavelength. Take my Grandmother for instance, she is 87 years old, works full time in Manhattan and commutes into one of the worlds most bustling cities 5 days a week…and she still has family members telling her what to do and how to run her home. At this point I think we should be taking notes from her! But family is family and everyone has opinion.

Holidays tend to bring out the flare and OVER-REACTION in all of us. So this blog is dedicated to giving you a strategy to trump the over-reactive inner child within you who tends to come out more easily during family get togethers. You know this inner child:


I am not totally agreeing with tricking kids and making them cry – BUT it does perfectly demonstrate how dramatic and over-reactive kiddos can be at times. Maybe this is why when we get around our moms and dads, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, or grandparents our over-reactive inner child comes out a bit…I mean these are the same people we were overly dramatic with at one point.

6 Tips to Not Overact this Holiday Season

1. Easy but powerful: Don’t take things so personally.

Keep fresh in mind just because someone has an opinion doesn’t mean it is remotely true or even appropriate. So don’t take it on and get all flustered because really as Martha Graham once awesomely said: “What other people think about you is really none of your business.” I love this quote. I live by it. People have the right to their feelings, but that doesn’t mean you have to take on their stuff.

2. Avoid getting sucked into the drama game. Just because someone gets feisty does not mean you have to man your battleship. You don’t have to match his/her energy and get sucked in, rather you can watch from the sidelines and ask yourself these back to reality questions:

  • “Is this really that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things?”
  • If it is not a life or death situation acknowledge that and take a few deep breaths.
  • Now choose not to react and match drama.
  • Remember you have control whether to react or respond…and this choice is about the only thing you have total control over in these types of family gatherings.

3. Go with the flow. Be mellow. Chillax. Relax. Let idiosyncrasies be like water off a ducks back. 🙂

4. Restrain the need to be in control. Humans have this insatiable need to be in control and have things done their way. If you don’t like being controlled or told what to do – then you can easily see why others don’t like it either. Restrain the need to have things done in a certain way and at a certain time. Restrain your opinion if it is tight in tone or judgmental and practice tip 3: Go with the flow. Be mellow. Chillax. Relax. Let idiosyncrasies be like water off a ducks back.

5. Let people be who they are. I find it is better to accept family members challenging character traits then to push against them when trying to have a nice meal.

6. Breathe into your heart and take a pause to be in the moment. Even though relatives can be stressful, they are still the people you love and who love you dearly. Take a moment to see them and appreciate them. Find an authentic space to value your time together…the truth is we are not all here forever.

Bonus Tip for a cool and calm holiday season:

Give genuine compliments. We all want to be loved, seen and appreciated for who we are, not controlled and criticized. So be generous with compliments and watch people open and soften rather than manning their own battle ships.

Happy Holidays!

With Love,


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