The holidays can bring out the best and worst in people, but it’s the latter that can drag us down if we let it. Whether it’s being shoved aside at the luggage carousel, having your parking spot stolen by some meanie at the mall right as you were about to pull in, or being subjected to the latest slings and arrows from a family member or coworker, there’s no shortage of bah-humbug scenarios that can get your blood boiling. As tempting as it may be to strike back with a few choice words, taking your own naughty path won’t bring you much cheer. So, here are a few tips for dealing with the Scrooges you’ll cross paths with this holiday season.
Before you even leave the house, mentally prepare yourself for what you’re about to encounter. Roads and parking lots will be crowded, stores will be full of people who might be milling around, not knowing exactly what they’re looking for. If you know what you need, prepare a plan of attack. Decide what you’ll be doing – from how you’ll get to the store and where you’ll park (especially important if you’ll be going to a mall) to where the item is in the store. Be prepared to park at the back of the parking lot. Knowing before you leave the house that you’re OK with parking in the back means you probably won’t spend as much time trying to fight for a spot up close. And if you find one, it’s a nice surprise.
We’re All in This Together
While shopping among a mob of people can be frustrating if you let it be, remember that you’re part of the mob – you’re in this crazy shopping experience together. Make it a mission to smile more, to be kind to the people you’re out with, and, if someone seems grouchy, to be even more kind to them – they need it the most (and they’re not as prepared as you). Approaching the shopping situation this way will give you more peace, and you might be surprised at how easy it is to spread this peace and calm to other people.
Remember the Golden Rule
Treat people the way you want to be treated. Hold the door. Say “thank you” or “happy holidays.” Say “excuse me” if you bump into someone, and be patient with the people who might not realize you’re behind them waiting to get by. Give aggressive drivers space rather than retaliating in kind. Consider that if you’re stressed out, pressed for time, impatient, then the person who was rude or ugly to you is likely feeing the exact same way. Not taking it personally and putting yourself in his or her shoes might make it easier to understand the motivating factors.
Be Kind to Others
Do you know how many people in retail who are serving the public are new during the holidays? Statistics show it’s about 35 percent, which means that in some cases the people who are trying to help you are struggling to know the best way to do so because they’ve just started the job. Be patient with them. Pretend the person waiting on you is one of your family members, trying to help somebody else. How would you like a stranger to treat your loved one?
Above all, don’t lose sight of the spirit of the holidays. Stop. Breathe. Take a few minutes to enjoy the decorations around you. Take time to be grateful. Doing so keeps us in touch with the positive aspects of life and connects us with others. The holiday season may be hectic, but it doesn’t have to drive us over the edge. We do have the ability to bring down the stress and bring up the joy.