If ever there was a year when suggestions from an emotional intelligence coach might come in handy, 2020 would be it.
It’s not every year, after all, that a global pandemic causes a public health crisis that triggers an economic meltdown — resulting in millions out of work and long food lines.
Add to that the changes required for regular routines of life, such as school and church. Plus, the weddings, graduations, milestone events, funerals and even birthday parties that have been postponed, or scaled back.
On top of all that, the 2020 presidential election came at a time when the country is arguably experiencing the most bitter partisan divide in its history.
The pressures are enormous.
So, The Laker/Lutz News turned to Marisa Massone, a life coach based in Wesley Chapel, to ask for her guidance to help people navigate the holidays, to keep hope alive in a job search and look forward to new possibilities in 2021.
We asked her advice on some specific topics, and offer her responses, which have been condensed:
How can people who are socially isolating during the holidays make the best of the situation?
Write some old-fashioned letters to family and friends.
Share what you’re going through, how you are dealing with the situation and how you feel about it.
Mail the letters out, with your holiday cards.
Expressing your feelings will help release your frustrations and anxiety, and sharing those with loved ones will help decrease the pain. And, the responses you receive will help, too.
Some people will have gatherings, can you offer some approaches to calm a conversation heading toward a shouting match?
First things first, try to make sure such conversations aren’t fueled by alcohol.
When emotions begin to heighten, try shifting the conversation to a mutually beneficial, or mutually engaging topic.
If that approach doesn’t work, suggest that you agree to disagree and move on to another topic.
What are some strategies for dealing with the stress of being out of work?
Accept the now.
Ask yourself: What exactly can I be doing to be of purpose to other people.
Embrace the time you have: More time to be with family; more time to be more creative.
Also, as you search for jobs on the internet, don’t sit there all day. Search for a few hours a day, then get away from the computer — go for a walk or do some kind of exercise.
Take a break.
What if you’re struggling financially?
Ask for help.
Check Florida’s unemployment site and you’ll find links to a variety of sources for all sorts of help.
Check with local charitable organizations to find out about food pantries, clothes closets and other resources. (Local governments also are providing assistance, so it’s worth checking that out, too).
Any strategies for making New Year resolutions?
If you plan to make them, be realistic. Make the resolutions achievable.
If you would like to know more about Massone’s services, email her at , call 813-690-1759, or visit her website at MarisaMassone.com.
Tips for building emotional intelligence skills
- Accept your emotions, embrace your emotions. Don’t try to squash them. Acknowledge the way you feel.
- Once you assess how you are feeling, you can move forward with solutions — if something is bothering you.
- Do some reality testing. Ask yourself: What is true? Write it down. It’s easy to start imagining things that could go wrong in a situation that hasn’t started yet. Avoid making yourself crazy, emotionally. Don’t project into the future. When you do that, you’re asking for fear and anxiety.
- Emotional intelligence means being able to find solutions to problems, when emotions are involved. One example, for instance, is moving. It’s a transitional time that’s often stressful and emotional. To help reduce the stress, do some research to take care of the logistics, such as researching costs for new housing, lining up a truck and taking care of other details.
- Curb impulsive behavior. Pause. Resist or delay acting on impulses.
Excerpts from a talk by Marisa Massone during a Women of Wesley Chapel Trinity and Odessa (WOW-TOO) ZOOM meeting in October. WOW-TOO is affiliated with the North Tampa Bay Chamber of Commerce.