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Connection Corner

Managing emotions during the holidays

dealing with feelings info graphic

The holiday season is filled with joy! Well…usually. Except when it isn’t.

The truth is, we experience all of the same emotional ups and downs around the holidays that we do any other part of the year. Some might argue that extra excitements and stresses of this time of year cause an even greater range of feelings than normal.

I know I feel this way. I find that the festive season often feels like a veritable roller coaster of emotions. I might spend an afternoon frantic in the face of all the undone tasks, and the same evening totally relaxed in front of a fire watching a cheesy holiday flick. Or I spend one moment filled with the sense of happiness and warmth at being surrounded by family, and the next frustrated that I’m the one stuck doing the dishes again!

Learning to manage our emotions and express them appropriately – and teaching our children to do the same – can be tough, especially at this time of year. However, it’s important work Emotion regulation can help us build healthy relationships and deal with difficulties throughout our lives. It’s important to remember that, while some feelings are unpleasant, there are no “bad” emotions. It’s okay to feel any emotion that may come up. However, it may not be okay to act on every emotion.

Questions to practice managing emotions

  1. What emotion or emotions am I feeling?
  2. What might be the reason I feel this way?
  3. What are some of the appropriate ways I can express this emotion?
  4. Would I like to stay in this emotion, or shift to a new emotion?
  5. What are some things I can do to stay in or shift this emotion?

You can even download our Dealing with Emotions Worksheet for an easy way to get the whole family involved.

Source: The Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence


Emily Schoenfelder joined the Illinois 4-H team in 2017. Prior to this, she began her work in positive youth development with California 4-H and the YMCA. She specializes in STEM engagement, social-emotional development, and educator professional development. She received a Master of Science degree in recreation, park, and tourism administration from Western Illinois University.   When she is not writing curriculum or facilitating a training, you may find Emily sitting on the floor of her office, building marshmallow catapults out of popsicle sticks or designing mazes for robots for her next STEM program.  

Connection Corner is a blog that provides timely information, activities, and resources to help you stay connected to loved ones, the world around you, and yourself.