Fire & Earth E54: Making the Holidays Less Stressful

It’s that most wonderful time of the year! Full of cheer, goodwill and peace on earth … but also some S-T-R-E-S-S.

In this #fireandearthpodcast episode we give you some tips for making this holiday season less stressful … whether that’s dealing with Uncle Joe’s insensitive comments at dinner, having unrealistic expectations for the “perfect” holiday (think Clark W. Griswold in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation), or the child ego states that show up when you get together with family.

This is a must listen episode to get you through the holidays feeling better than you have before, breaking old habits that in the past have made your holiday season a little less merry that it should’ve been.

The Fire and Earth Podcast gives you practical advice and keys to unlocking your potential in life and business, hosted by Dr. Kathy Gruver (http://www.kathygruver.com/) and Jason Mefford (http://jasonmefford.com/). Real, raw and unscripted.

#stress #holidaystress #happyholidays

Transcript

Please excuse any typos, since done by a computer.

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Kathy Gruver: Hey everybody, welcome to another episode of the fire earth podcast, I’m your co host Kathy Gruver.

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Jason Mefford: And I’m Jason Mefford, hey, with the holidays coming up. We thought, because this is never a stressful period of time for in may be

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Jason Mefford: We thought we take just and do a quick episode to help you because I know December is usually it’s one of two things. It’s either like crazy busy. You feel like you’re just on fire.

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Jason Mefford: Or it’s a slow time at work and it’s kind of like it’s just cool I can get caught up right

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Jason Mefford: So it work. It’s one of those two but usually in everybody’s personal life, it’s still I’m running around.

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Jason Mefford: You know, with my head cut off on fire, kind of a thing. So wanted to give you some tips to reduce the stress level that you may be feeling during this holiday time

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Kathy Gruver: Sorry, I’m a Capricorn is taking notes.

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Jason Mefford: You to Capricorn is taking notes. Well, and it’s funny because, you know, one of the kind of traditions that I have each year we go through and watch certain movies certain holiday movies and you know one of one of my favorites is National Lampoon’s Christmas vacation.

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Jason Mefford: Yeah, and you know, part of that is because, you know, again, this whole idea. Maybe this is kind of my first tip is I can relate to that character.

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Jason Mefford: Okay. Because Because growing up, you know, having four kids suburbia perfect, you know, kind of stuff right as as the dad. You’re always trying to, like, you know, make these memories. We’re going to go out and we’re going to chop down a Christmas tree and make these memories and

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Jason Mefford: Because we’re the grizzled family right and we’re going to put millions of lights on our house, you know,

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Kathy Gruver: And

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Jason Mefford: And I’m just going to have the perfect christmas right because that’s what I want to provide for my family and, you know, one of the scenes that I loved.

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Jason Mefford: In that movie is at the end. You know, when everything just flies off the I mean everything that can go wrong goes wrong and Clark’s talking to his dad and he said, you know, Dad. You did such a great job. How did you, how did you do this. And he said, I had a lot of help from jack Daniels.

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Jason Mefford: And, you know, the whole idea that, you know, don’t I guess first tip is don’t try to make everything so perfect, or try to force or try to force that

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Kathy Gruver: Perfection.

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Jason Mefford: because something’s gonna go wrong. And it’s okay, the funny. The funny thing is

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Jason Mefford: Those things that are not perfect, are the things that actually make the memories that you’ll laugh about and talk about for years to come.

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Jason Mefford: Up so you know to maybe lower your expectations, a little bit that everything doesn’t have to be perfect, that, that by itself is going to help you reduce some of that that stress intention.

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Kathy Gruver: Absolutely. And that is one of the ones I wrote down was obligations, yet we have to go to someone’s house party and we’re having people here and I’ve got to buy all these gifts and I’ve got to do you

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Kathy Gruver: Do you really make it simpler look don’t do a gift for every single person you know maybe do a secret santa or maybe so you’re not doing gifts. This year, or maybe do you know

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Kathy Gruver: There’s ways to decrease those obligations. And then the other thing about obligations is so often that’s in our own head. That’s what nobody else expects from us. So

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Kathy Gruver: You know what, what do you actually have to do versus what have you imposed on your own self that you think you have to do. So those are two different things. And if there’s stuff that you have to do.

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Kathy Gruver: Delegate that stuff can you have your husband, wrap the gifts. Well, you’re making the dinner. Can you have the kids walk the dog while you’re cleaning the house, you know,

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Kathy Gruver: There are ways to delegate. Those things now. Everybody is busy around the holidays. Typically, but like I had a friend who was leaving town, she was kind of freaking out because no one was around to take care of her cats. And I said,

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Kathy Gruver: I’m not going anywhere. You come in on Christmas morning and take care of the cat yeah I

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Kathy Gruver: I don’t have kids. I don’t have a spout like I’m sitting here like, Well, of course I will. So she would not have a plot to ask me because she didn’t want to impose on somebody else that she thought was going to be so busy.

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Kathy Gruver: I asked for help, ask for help delegate. Those things. So that was one of that was one of my tips.

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Jason Mefford: So, so, so, what else you got Cathy

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Kathy Gruver: Oh, I have a whole list.

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Jason Mefford: You got. I know you have a whole list.

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Kathy Gruver: And I just process off right now.

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Kathy Gruver: Breathe. Breathe.

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Kathy Gruver: Breathe breathing. The second we take that deep breath signals to our brain that everything’s okay because we’re in that fight or flight response. The breathing is one of the first things that starts to go either we pant.

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Kathy Gruver: And we sort of hyperventilate, a little bit because we’re in fear, we’re in that fight or flight or

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Kathy Gruver: We hold our breath.

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Kathy Gruver: And then throughout the course of the day, you see these people in your office, kind of going gasping for like a fish that fell out of the fish tank and you’re like, Hey, Beth. Beth.

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Kathy Gruver: Beth is always she’s nice, but she’s a mess. I’m just do that breath just pause and take that breath that is going to solve so many problems and it’s so funny that you mentioned jack Daniels, because the fourth on my list is don’t overindulge

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Jason Mefford: Yeah, don’t overindulge

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Kathy Gruver: Don’t get SHIT FACED at the Christmas party don’t get wasted before you go to your parents house. I know sometimes it’s like I have friends that are like if it wasn’t for the edible. I wouldn’t got through Thanksgiving.

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Kathy Gruver: take the edge off if you need to. But don’t get wasted because you think the

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Kathy Gruver: Political conversation last year Christmas was bad. Wait till everybody had too much to drink. It’s not going to end well. Someone’s going to get physically or emotionally hurt and you don’t need to deal with that next Christmas. So that was on my list.

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Kathy Gruver: Yes.

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Jason Mefford: Some of the stress carries forward from previous times right

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Jason Mefford: Oh, yeah. So, so don’t overindulge and I just wanted to follow up on your, your breathing as well because I think you know some of the people that are listening to this might say,

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Jason Mefford: Come on, Kathy. I remember to breathe well I don’t. I don’t. Okay. I mean, I’ve been because as you were saying that I was like embarrassed, you know, sometimes I get embarrassed, a little bit.

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Jason Mefford: You know, I was I’ve been in sessions therapy sessions where the person is like Jason, you need to breathe.

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Jason Mefford: And it’s like, What do you mean I’m not breathing, you know, or your breath gets really shallow and we don’t realize it. And so, you know, taking taking that time to just breathe in deeply and out, even if it’s just for four or five breaths.

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Kathy Gruver: And take 20 seconds to do

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Kathy Gruver: It. Yep.

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Jason Mefford: You’re good. You will feel a shift in your body. Yep. So you’ll get the you’ll get the little shivers. You’ll get the goose flash you get whatever you whatever you call it.

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Jason Mefford: But you’ll get some release and you’ll feel an energy shift in your body when you do that. And sometimes that’s that’s all it takes. Right.

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Jason Mefford: And even if we’re in the middle of and there’s chaos in the kitchen and there’s stuff going everywhere right stop for 15 seconds and you’re going to be able to deal better with the rest of the stuff

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Kathy Gruver: Yeah. The other thing it does is it changes our mind.

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Kathy Gruver: And it reminds us to be in this present moment because you it’s really difficult to truly concentrate on your breath that inhale and exhale and be someplace else and it tends to be that past in that future that frequency that freaks us out so much

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Kathy Gruver: So pausing and taking that breath anchors us back in this present moment, so that we’re not dwelling on what happened last Christmas or worried about you know what happens when Mary shows up and you know

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Jason Mefford: Yeah. Cuz that’s why another one of my tips that I was going to bring up to is that, again, it’s the worrying about things that haven’t actually happened.

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Jason Mefford: Yeah, like you said, if you’ve got, you know, an uncle or whoever I mean because again you sit around the table and, you know, at least in our house. It usually ends up turning to, like, you know, dirty jokes kind of

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Jason Mefford: Instead of instead of politics.

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Jason Mefford: At my house.

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Kathy Gruver: When I house.

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Jason Mefford: Yeah, when I met other family members.

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Jason Mefford: Homes. It’s not not necessarily that way. But, you know, inevitably, you know, a lot of people they they get stressed out, or they’re worried about you know Uncle so and so’s going to say something, or is going to

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Kathy Gruver: Do something

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Jason Mefford: Well, don’t let uncle so and so have any control over your psyche until he actually does that.

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Jason Mefford: Break the mind, you know, because if you’re worried about it for two weeks.

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Jason Mefford: Yep, and you’ve already. You’ve already lost a lot of your positive energy

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Jason Mefford: Just wait. You know what, maybe uncle so and so it’s going to have a cold with last minute and he never comes. Or, you know, he doesn’t go off like he normally does, right. So don’t don’t add stress to yourself before something has happened right and i remember i

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Jason Mefford: Was telling somebody last night, I won’t say who but you know it’s like they were kind of nervous and concerned about something and it’s like, why are you worrying about something that hasn’t even happened yet.

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Kathy Gruver: You don’t

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Jason Mefford: Know that that’s what’s going to happen.

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Kathy Gruver: Why suffer twice myself or twice if it’s gonna happen bad you can’t change it. You can’t stop it, you can’t control it.

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Kathy Gruver: If it’s a bad thing in the future. There might be suffering. Why are you bringing it, why are you dragging around with you now.

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Kathy Gruver: But this is so perfect. I’m so glad you said that because that actually leads to one of mine, which is switch your expectation

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Kathy Gruver: Because if you go into it once again going oh god Uncle Joe’s gonna get drunk and he’s going to go off on politics. We’re gonna have a fight like we do every year.

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Kathy Gruver: Go in and treat Uncle Joe differently because if you present yourself differently. He can’t react to you the same way. So switch ego states, you just talked about this and other shows switch ego says show up as somebody else.

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Kathy Gruver: Don’t show up already cranky that you got to see this guy. It’s so funny. So my my ex husband’s family part of them is very, very Christian. I’m not so every year in my stocking. There was a Bible thing or book on God, or a CD of why did you fall away from Jesus. And it was like my mother.

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Kathy Gruver: Drives me crazy because I’m like look, don’t be passive aggressive. If you want to sit down and talk to me about religion. I am more than happy to do that.

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Kathy Gruver: You’re not going to change my mind. And you’re absolutely not going to change my mind by slipping little like devious religious things into my stocking.

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Kathy Gruver: So as we were driving up to the House that you’re I was sitting in the car and I was going through this whole thing in my head and I finally said,

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Kathy Gruver: Do I have permission to say anything. I want you to your family. And he goes, yep, love that about him. And I went, Okay, I can’t guarantee it’s going to end well. And he goes, whatever.

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Jason Mefford: He did.

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Kathy Gruver: I went. All right. He goes, What’s going on. I said, the whole fucking Jesus thing that’s so inappropriate for me to say. But anyway, it was driving me crazy.

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Kathy Gruver: It’s like, don’t be insidious about it. Like, let’s have an adult conversation. And I said, I swear to God, if there’s something in my stocking.

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Kathy Gruver: I’ve got a monologue plant. I’m going to, I’m going to stand up in front of everybody and I’m going to say please stop doing this. This is not cool. Is that OK with you. And he goes, yep.

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Kathy Gruver: Yeah, so I got this whole thing build up. I’m so excited. I’m ready to have this speech I opened my stocking. And there’s nothing in it that it has anything to do with God that was like ah got myself worked into the state that I was so ready to do this speech and I didn’t get to do it.

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Jason Mefford: Because probably what happened is

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Jason Mefford: Because he went into his family. He’s like,

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Jason Mefford: Oh, but any Jesus your stocking and we’re gonna

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Kathy Gruver: Know he wouldn’t have done that.

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Kathy Gruver: But you know, I had this it was that why suffer toys thing except I went the opposite way. I had this expectation that everything was going to be exactly the same. And I built myself into this like rebellious until you something. Yeah.

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Kathy Gruver: There was nothing to tell. So it’s like that, again, that has to do with that staying present and shifting who you are. I have shifted. Do I was to handle the situation differently. And then the situation was completely different. So

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Kathy Gruver: Yeah, there’s that less than that I stole the monologue though I’ll use it, something

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Jason Mefford: You use or something. Well, and even with the, you know, the whole idea because one of the things that you just brought up there, too, is you know they’re they’re not going to change your opinion.

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Jason Mefford: And so we need to realize that as well. You know, if Uncle Joe shows up and he starts going off about whatever political view and he’s offending you and everybody else in the room. It doesn’t do a lot of good to just argue with Uncle Joe No. Okay.

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Jason Mefford: So try to change the subject, try to do something else, but it’s it’s not gonna, you’re not going to change his mind and all you’re going to do is get pissed off and you’re going to get mad.

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Jason Mefford: And so instead, you know, obviously you disagree with Uncle Joe whoever poor Uncle Joe is right, you know,

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Kathy Gruver: He’s a jerk.

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Jason Mefford: He’s a jerk.

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Jason Mefford: So, any of you that are named Joe We’re sorry we know you’re not Uncle Joe

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Kathy Gruver: Well, one last time i mean

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Jason Mefford: Everything drug problem and

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Jason Mefford: Yeah yeah yeah but

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Jason Mefford: Okay. The stuff is just going through my mind right now but

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Jason Mefford: We got we got to get back because this is very badly.

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Jason Mefford: Bring it back, bring it back.

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Kathy Gruver: Where your Capricorn back in

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Jason Mefford: Okay, there’s not much in there.

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Jason Mefford: So with with Uncle Joe Right. I mean, if we’re disagreeing with him with we’re arguing with him. It’s because we don’t agree we are different about that.

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Jason Mefford: So instead try to talk to Uncle Joe about something that you’re the same about get him to talk about himself in some other way. You know, most of the time again i mean i i love older people and just sitting around and I know we’re getting older.

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Jason Mefford: People, no.

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Kathy Gruver: No, but just older people. Okay, good.

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Jason Mefford: But just to actually, you know, listen to some of the stories and the things that they’ve lived through

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Jason Mefford: And it’s like, Holy smokes. Right. I mean, I just learned

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Jason Mefford: One guy that I knew his dad his dad knew Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid right they used to

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Jason Mefford: They used to come in and swap horses right on their on their runs and I mean it was, it was kind of like I just sat there and like all this guy, you know, because he was a World War One vet. And I mean, all this kind of stuff. Right. So find something to talk about.

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Kathy Gruver: That’s not going to be polarizing

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Jason Mefford: In that’s usually the other person.

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Kathy Gruver: Yeah. Or, you know, trying to find something like that because again you can have these great you know haha learning experiences and other stuff like that from from doing that.

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Jason Mefford: Instead of seeing Uncle Joe is the old crabby bastard. You know that it’s just

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Kathy Gruver: That guy yeah well and what didn’t like Mandela, say, you know, think treat them like they’re the most pretend or the most fascinating person in the world, and then pretend they’re not pretending

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Kathy Gruver: Because here’s the deal. And this will this will probably be our last tip, but this is, I think this is the best one. So if we’re in a situation that we don’t like if something’s happening that is not pleasing us. We only have three options, change the situation.

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Kathy Gruver: asking you about something else, changing the subject.

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Kathy Gruver: Change ourselves, which we can absolutely do going in as a different person or leave

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Kathy Gruver: I’m all about leaving take a timeout. If you cannot handle it anymore.

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Kathy Gruver: Take a timeout. Go back to your hotel room route suggests a walk, go into the bathroom for five minutes. There is a way for you to escape. And I’ve said that to so many people. They go, well, we’re all going in the same house.

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Kathy Gruver: Really did they come in the bathroom with you. You can’t have three minutes to go.

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Kathy Gruver: And, you know, one thing that I used to do is I’d say, oh, you know what, I’ve got to return a couple emails.

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Kathy Gruver: Just give me 15 minutes I’ve got, I’m so sorry. But I’ve got, you know, running my own business. I’ve got work to do.

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Kathy Gruver: Whether or not I needed to return emails for 15 minutes. It got me away from everybody where I could decompress where I could read a comic book where I could chat online where I could do something that would get me back into that place.

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Kathy Gruver: Where I was going to go in feeling healthy. So if you start to feel yourself going, don’t let yourself go

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Kathy Gruver: remove yourself from the situation. And sometimes that’s, you know, we would always go for walks. Okay. Okay. After dinner. Who wants to go for a walk, because one we needed to get out of the stifling hot house.

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Kathy Gruver: It was you just wanted to get away from some people, you know, and as an only child. I mean, I am I am an

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Kathy Gruver: optimist. But that was the word extrovert. Jesus. I’m an extrovert until I’m not. And when I hit my limit.

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Kathy Gruver: I used to sit in the corner by myself for a while, you know, so, know yourself and know those limits and those boundaries and if you need to take a timeout. Give yourself a timeout. It’s okay. You’re allowed

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Jason Mefford: Yeah, and that’s especially important for those of us that are introverted, you know, to realize, because the same thing, right, you’re, you know, you’ve got to be extroverted in some of these social situations. But again, you realize or, you know, that maybe you need to put yourself in timeout.

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Kathy Gruver: Yep.

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Jason Mefford: If you will. And so just take that time again, there’s nothing wrong with walking around the block, you know, going outside for a few minutes, you know, locking yourself in the bathroom for a few minutes.

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Kathy Gruver: Please.

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Jason Mefford: Just a few minutes because everybody needs to use it to

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Kathy Gruver: Like a job is enough for an hour.

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Jason Mefford: Yeah.

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Jason Mefford: All right quick episode. But again, really, uh, you know,

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Kathy Gruver: Everything crossed off. Yes.

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Jason Mefford: So you know if you need to go back. Listen to this again. But don’t you know don’t have the same stresses that you had last holiday.

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Jason Mefford: Season, you know, make it less stressful, you know, think of some of these tips that we’ve talked about which ones work for you try to incorporate at least one of them this year and and make this end of the year started the New Year holiday season great one.

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Jason Mefford: That actually energizes you and get you ready for next year, which is going to be amazing.

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Kathy Gruver: That’s coming so fast. I know.

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Jason Mefford: But 2020 we will have clear vision.

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Jason Mefford: Okay. That was my bad joke. I’ll work on the delivery.

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Kathy Gruver: I watched your gesture pop out for just a second.

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Jason Mefford: It did.

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Jason Mefford: Go back in

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Kathy Gruver: To get back in

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Kathy Gruver: All right, everybody, I hope you have a phenomenal holiday, whatever you are celebrating. I hope it is exactly what you want it to be, whether it’s a quiet night at home or a gigantic party with all of your friends and family, including Uncle Joe

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Kathy Gruver: I’m Kathy gruver and I can be reached at Kathy Gruber calm.

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Jason Mefford: And I’m Jason method I can be reached at Jason method calm. So we’ll catch you on a future episode of the fire and earth podcast say yeah

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Yeah.

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