Friday, December 13, 2013

Life Lessons—Avoiding Emotional Land Mines During the Holidays

by Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D

Let’s face it. Though the holidays are filled with splendor, they are also chocked full of emotional turbulence. Your feelings seem to board a roller coaster around the first of November and ride it continuously until after the big ball falls in Times Square on New Year’s Eve.

So how can a writer not only endure it, but make the best of it? Well, not by jumping into bed and pulling the covers over your head for two months. Instead, you can learn a lot from getting in touch with those emotions.

Here are a few things you can do to help with avoiding emotional land mines during the holidays:

  • Listen and learn. Okay, you may not want to hear the cashier out who was just rude to you after you spent two hours in line to get to her. Good thing I’m not referring to her. Listen to the emotion. Take note of it. How does your body react when it is seething? Write it down in a special notebook that you’ll be able to refer back to later.
  • Choose the right emotion. Umm, yes, it is possible for you to choose your emotion. You can’t choose how others behave as a result of their emotions but you are in total charge of your own emotions. Choose to be happy. Make a conscious decision each and every day—or even each moment—to be joyful.
  • Chip away the ice. Look, you’re human and sometimes your emotions get the best of you. With all the stress of the season, you’ll get angry or turn a cold shoulder toward those you love and who mean the most in your life. It happens. The key is to quickly chip away at the ice on that cold shoulder you extended toward them. Put yourself in the emotional microwave and warm yourself up fast. Admitting you acted that way will do wonders toward thawing the frozen emotional tundra that blanketed your life and relationship.
Emotional landmines are everywhere but are even more treacherous during the holiday season when we’re overworked, overextended and over-budgeted. You’re bound to step on one. When you do, don’t panic. It’ll be alright. Just handle it the right way.

Take it easy. Watch where your emotions are heading and you can avoid them altogether. Get in touch with those emotions and you can use them as great fodder in many novels to come!

Have you stepped on emotional landmines yet this season? What about in the past? How did you react? Share it here!

Reba J. Hoffman is the founder and president of Magellan Life Coaching ( She holds a Ph.D. in Clinical Counseling and is a natural encourager. She serves as Member Care Coach for My Book Therapy and is the author of Dare to Dream, A Writer’s Journal. You can connect with Reba through her motivational blog, Finding True North, or by email at You can also follow her on Twitter at @MagellanCoach.


  1. Hi Edie. I'm in a unique position this holiday season with my husband still recuperating from medical issues that have been ongoing for several months. Add to that the fact that our son and DIL have been staying with us for several months pending their visa renewal so they can return to their home in the UK. I know everyone has been dealing with a lot of frustration for a while now and hope this doesn't dampen the joy that this special season is supposed to bring. I've accepted the fact that, no matter what the emotions or attitude of those around me, this is a time to enjoy every second with family and rejoice n the gift our Lord gave to us.

    1. Brava Patti! I'm so glad you've made the decision to be happy and rejoice. And, thank you for reminding us all that happiness is indeed a choice. I wish you a rich and blessed holiday season. After all, Jesus is the reason for this season! God bless!

  2. It's so easy to slip into the blues around this time of the year. Thanks for reminding me it's my choice!