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4 Ways to Connect Despite Holiday Stress

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All through the holiday season, many people are filled with stress, what with the long to-do lists and packed calendars. It's common to feel a sense of disconnectedness when the holiday decorations come down. Make sure that you're not just busy, but engaging this holiday!

two women talking
When -- the only online community that matches new friends offline by connecting circles of local women -- launched almost two years ago, its goal was to help women form meaningful friendships, not just meet more people. Shasta Nelson, M.Div., the founder of and a life coach for transitions, identifies four ways you can add meaningful connection to your holiday season:

1. Identify the People Who Matter. 

It's not just adding people into your life that makes a difference; it's adding the right people in the right ways! Who do you want surrounding you and making memories with you this season? Before you RSVP or invite, make a list of the people who matter to you, and be intentional about making sure that they are scheduled first into the limited dates of the holiday season.

2. Prioritize Tasks that Bond. 

This season, focus on activities that connect you with others. For example, calling friends and sending out cards will heighten holiday meaningfulness more than simply loading up on decorations. To ensure that you're connecting, figure out which tasks you can do WITH people (i.e., bake cookies with a friend; have a card-making/-signing night with wine and a few friends ...).

3. Maximize Events. 

Use the events that you already plan to attend to maximize your connectedness. Maybe you already have your kids' Christmas concert on the schedule, or an office party or church function you need to attend. Who else will be at those events that you care about? Call them ahead of time to see if you can meet for a drink beforehand, go out for ice cream as two families afterward or sit with them and catch up for a bit during the intermission.

4. Share More Than Just Updates. 

Whether you're sitting at the Thanksgiving table, a dinner party or having lunch with a friend, be sure to share authentically -- not in "Christmas letter" fashion (wherein you simply update and/or brag). Intentionally ask what Shasta Nelson calls "sharing questions." Examples: What is your favorite aspect of the holiday season? What were a couple of the highlights of 2010 for you? What are three things you want more of in your life in the new year?

For more ways to create deep and meaningful friendship connections, check out

next: Holiday Travel Packages for Families
2 comments so far | Post a comment now
Mentally Ill November 21, 2010, 12:10 PM

Mental health issues are very important in my family. We have depression, bi-polar disorder, anxiety (PTSD) from the long wars, and just plain old alcohol problems. I am convinced my family has bad genetic material for so many of us to be this messed up.

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