Give the Gift of Empathy this Holiday Season

I have been doing more traveling in the last 3 months than I have in the last 3 years. Whenever I am traveling away from home, I must pay even closer attention to my daily routine, otherwise, I find myself staying awake too late or eating tasty things that are wrong for my body, or having conversations that go nowhere and are ultimately draining. All too quickly, I can get off track and find myself feeling bored, tired, listless, and grumpy. This state of mind is not a good place for me to be when I am in a new place, learning new things, and making first impressions. Therefore, I am becoming aware of better choices I can make to make my vacation time travels more fun for everyone involved- starting with me. Also, this state of mind is the last place you want to be when visiting my family and friends you have not seen for the last year.

Here are my 5 tips to a Happier and Healthier Holiday Season:

1) Leave Early: Start your trip 1-2 hours earlier than planned so that you have more travel time. Arrive earlier and feel happier that traffic did not get the best of you this time.

2) Give empathy: Be patient with yourself and with your friends and family by silently acknowledging mistakes and other human errors rather than commenting verbally.

3) Give understanding: By listening to other people’s opinions without giving your own opinion unless directly asked to do so. Be conscious of other people’s feelings. Rather than openly disagreeing, reply with “Interesting” or “I hadn’t considered that before” or “Thank you, I’ll consider that”.

4) Make a fun positive memory: Play games with the kids rather than watch tv with the adults. Go outside for a walk with family member. Watch the sunrise or sunset with a friend. Create a memory of the occasion to cherish for years thereafter.

5) Return Early: Start for home earlier than usual. Allow for 12- 24 hours of settling in time to eat, rest, unpack, and organize before returning to your home routine.

I hope that you find these tips helpful. If you give them a try, please comment below.

Thank you!


Jessica K. Hairston, MD

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