Your Happiness Factor:celebrating happiness, prosperity, hearth and home, good health.

Thursday, 22 December 2011

10 Tips for a Confident Christmas

For lots of us, Christmas is one the most stressful times in the year.  So here are some tips to lighten the load a little and to help you have at less troubled Christmas!
  1. Be realistic – Christmas represents a couple of days in 365.  Don’t expect everything to change just for this.  If you have friends and family that don’t get on well for most the year, then don’t expect Christmas to be different.  Things can go wrong any day – please don’t take it to heart!  If your Christmas is less than perfect you have not failed and you should not feel guilty.  You are having a Christmas just like the rest of us!
  2. Write a timetable - If you are responsible for managing the day or for cooking then write a time table – for example, 10 am – put turkey in oven.  Try to keep both the day and the cooking simple, if you can, and delegate some of the tasks.  If you have a family party, can you have a buffet lunch and ask people to bring a platter?
  3. Avoid touchy triggers - If you are unlucky enough to have people who you know don’t get on, do your best to avoid the known triggers.  For example, if religion is a touchy subject, then use distraction and move the conversation on.  Perhaps you can get one of the parties to come and help you in the kitchen or to help with activities. 
  4. Plan some activities - After lunch have an activity planned so that people are occupied and don’t have time to bicker. Activities are also useful for slowing down the alcohol consumption. 
  5. Practice moderation - Even though it is the season to be jolly, too much food and drink is not good for anyone. If you have visitors who are known to drink too much, think beforehand how you are going to get them home – drink driving is always dangerous but more so at Christmas time.
  6. Have spare presents - Present giving can always be tricky.  Try to have a couple of spare presents ready in case you receive unexpected visitors or gifts.  Try to avoid anyone feeling left out if you can.
  7. Exercise for energy - If you have a regular exercise routine then try to keep it up even on this special day.  It will give energy and stamina for the day.
  8. Have a quiet place!  Plan to have ten minutes on your own in a quiet place at some point.  Go there and use a relaxation technique like deep breathing or focussing on your breath to help you relax and make the most of your break.  It helps as well if you can to have a quiet place for others to retire as well if you have a lot of guests.
  9. Make time to reminisce. Have a special thought for older members of the family who find their own Christmas memories a little overwhelming.  Take some time for them to share reminiscences with you.
  10. Look after you - whether you are going to be alone this Christmas or with others, then plan something special just for you – your favorite food, or your favourite film perhaps?  What do you like best? Remember - all over the world there will be others just like you – enjoying this day or just waiting for tomorrow to come! Right now it is time for spoiling yourself – enjoy your indulgence!

And now I wish you the happiest of Seasons and may 2012 be the most wonderful of years for you and yours!

Wendy Mason works as a Coach, Consultant and Writer.  She works with all kinds of people going through many different kinds of personal and career change, particularly those; 
  • looking for work
  • looking for promotion or newly promoted
  • moving between Public and Private Sectors
  • facing redundancy
  • moving into retirement
  • wanting to do a mid-life review
You can contact Wendy at  or ring ++44 (0)2084610114 

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Giving criticism confidently – 10 Tips

Red smoke 

Sometimes, even in the best relationship, there comes a time when we want to say something critical.  Not everything can be perfect every time!  Sometimes things go wrong.  And sometimes, in your view, it is down to the other person.  You think it is something they can do something about.  So you want to tell them. 
Here are some pointers to giving criticism but proceed with care. And remember, how you sound,  look and behave when you give the feedback often matters as much weight as the words you use.  But the words are important.  
Here are the tips.

  1. Be sure of the facts!  Try to find out exactly what went wrong and why. 
  2. Be constructive! It should be about getting things right in the future not about trying to punish. 
  3. Be direct! Get to the point and give the feedback in a simple, straight forward way.
  4. Be clear! Set out what you are criticizing, the change you want to see and why.  Comment on behaviour not the person. If you want to change the person this is more than a case of giving criticism.
  5. Be sincere! Say what you mean and mean what you say Sincerity means you speak with care and respect. Don’t send a mixed message – for example “I think you are all wonderful but there is just this little thing I’d like to mention”.  This usually means the real purpose of the message gets lost. Putting the “but” in the middle just creates contradictions
  6. Be serious! Express concern but do not become emotional.  Getting angry and showing frustration will distort the messages.  Again remember you are trying to create awareness not to create noise, vent and make yourself feel better.   
  7. Be objective! State what you have observed and the evidence you have gathered.  Don’t try to interpret or to attribute motives – nothing can be more infuriating to the other person. 
  8. Be live! Criticism is best handled directly person to person; not through someone else or through technology – for example an email.
  9. Be on time! Don’t do this when you are angry if you want a good result.  Giving criticism is best not confused with venting.  Speak close as possible to the event or the behavior.  When everything is fresh in both your minds, your comments will have far greater impact than further down the line when you may have forgotten exactly what happened.
  10. Be kind! Do not choose a moment when you know the other person is feeling tired or hurt by some other life event.  And do listen when the other person responds – there may be something you just have not taken into account.
Those are my 10 tips for giving criticism.  Do you agree?  Send me your thoughts and observations by commenting below.
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Wendy Mason works as a Coach, Consultant and Writer.  She works with all kinds of people going through many different kinds of personal and career change, particularly those;
  • looking for work
  • looking for promotion or newly promoted
  • moving between Public and Private Sectors
  • facing redundancy
  • moving into retirement
  • wanting to do a mid-life review
You can contact Wendy at  or ring ++44 (0)2084610114