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How to Minimize Stress and Enjoy Your Next Family Gathering

Feeling stressed about an upcoming family gathering? You’re not alone!

As the festive season approaches, it’s normal for many of us to find ourselves caught in a whirlwind of excitement tinged with a hint—or more!—of stress when it comes to family gatherings.   

If the thought of navigating a sea of relatives, coordinating schedules, and ensuring everyone has a good time is enough to make your stress levels spike, that’s completely understandable! The holiday juggle, especially with those challenging relatives in the mix, can be an understandable source of unease.

In this blog, we'll introduce you to the transformative power of the 7 Levels of Energy as a framework to help turn potential tensions into opportunities for connection and celebration! Let’s explore the art of intentionally navigating your next family gathering to nurture deeper, more meaningful connections with your loved ones.


Understanding the 7 Levels of Energy and How They Manifest in Ourselves (and Others)

The 7 Levels of Energy is a powerful framework for observing the energetic dynamics within ourselves and others during family gatherings. At the lower energy levels (Levels 1 and 2) we might encounter tension, stress, or even conflict, while at the higher levels we can experience more fulfillment, ease, and connection.

We use seven different energy levels to describe the types of energy a person can experience and express in each moment. And while all levels have advantages and disadvantages, research studies tell us that people who report experiencing higher levels of energy feel far more satisfied with their family relationships (and all other areas of their lives!) 🙌

Recognizing how these energy levels manifest in ourselves and others allows for a more intentional approach to holiday interactions—we can navigate family dynamics with greater compassion, foster positive connections, and transform potential challenges into opportunities for shared joy and celebration.

As you read through the description of each level and how it can often manifest during family gatherings, we encourage you to take a moment and reflect on how it shows up for you personally. Keep in mind that there are no “good” or “bad” levels of energy, and we experience all of them at different times—what matters is that you're choosing the level with intention and purpose rather than defaulting to a level out of habit or programming.

After each energy level description, you’ll also notice key considerations and coaching questions to further your learning and growth. Self-awareness acts as the first step toward a more intentional and fulfilling family gathering.

Level 1: Apathy and Victim Energy

Someone operating at Level 1 might feel at the effect of their circumstances, complaining about their responsibilities or feeling overwhelmed by the tasks at hand. They can also experience a fear of judgment, feel socially awkward, or worry about fitting in and connecting with family members they haven't talked to in a while.

Since worry is a common emotion at this level, it's likely to extend to various aspects of the holiday experience including gift-giving, the logistics of hosting, and potentially triggering interactions with family members. Someone experiencing Level 1 energy is likely to avoid family members with whom they’ve experienced challenges.

Key Considerations and Coaching Questions for Level 1:

1If you find yourself resonating at Level 1, it's important to approach yourself with kindness and understanding. What small steps can you take to make family gatherings more enjoyable and less overwhelming?

Remember to give yourself permission to set boundaries and prioritize your well-being. Reflect on whether avoiding certain family members is genuinely protecting you or if there's an opportunity for growth in those relationships. Embrace self-compassion as you navigate these thoughts and emotions during family gatherings. 

Level 2: Anger and Judgment

Level 2 energy carries a weight of conflict and can emerge as internal (or external) frustration or resentment toward a family member with whom you might have experienced friction. For example, through black-or-white thinking (a common indicator of Level 2 energy), someone might insist their approach to organizing the event is the “right” way and be closed off to alternative suggestions or traditions.

Sibling rivalries, attempts to outdo one another in gift-giving, or even disputes over issues like politics, money, past family events, etc. can emerge from Level 2 energy.

Key Considerations and Coaching Questions for Level 2:

2If you find yourself navigating Level 2 during family gatherings, consider how you can address triggers constructively.

What could it look like to contribute to a collaborative and joyous atmosphere for everyone? In what ways can you remain open to alternative suggestions or traditions to foster a more inclusive and harmonious gathering?

Remember, growth often begins with self-reflection. Embrace the opportunity to transform conflict into connection during family gatherings.

Level 3: Coping and Cooperation

At Level 3, people take responsibility for their thoughts, emotions, and actions—they do their best to tolerate and accept others to maintain a peaceful holiday atmosphere, ensuring they have a good time.

When faced with stress, they respond with genuine efforts to regulate their emotions, like taking a few deep breaths or initiating a conversation to resolve conflict if needed. At Level 3 people do their best to avoid, block, or release negativity. If they were to sport a phrase on a t-shirt, "Good vibes only" would likely encapsulate their mindset.

Key Considerations and Coaching Questions for Level 3:

3If you find yourself operating at Level 3 during family gatherings, consider how you might shift from merely tolerating or “putting up with” others to genuinely embracing their differences and perceived flaws. 

Reflect on what it would mean to move beyond blame and judgment, and cultivate authentic, heartfelt acceptance for yourself and others.

Level 4: Care and Compassion

Level 4 is all about caring, giving, and helping—all incredible intentions to bring to holiday gatherings. Whether preparing a delicious meal, assisting with chores like dishwashing and cleanup, or expressing their love through gift-giving, someone experiencing Level 4 is wholly committed to making the occasion special for everyone.

Even when dealing with challenging family members, they provide a listening ear and extend as much compassion as they can. The potential downside at this level is the risk of burnout and feeling unappreciated if their contributions go unnoticed. 

Key Considerations and Coaching Questions for Level 4:

4If you’re someone who resonates with Level 4, consider what a balance between your thoughtful giving and self-care might look and feel like for a more sustainable and fulfilling holiday experience.

Reflect on specific actions you can take to ensure the joy you bring to others is not at the expense of your own well-being. This can involve setting clear boundaries, carving out moments for self-reflection and relaxation, and communicating your needs to others.

Level 5: Solution-Focus and Inner Peace

At Level 5, people bring a transformative energy to holiday gatherings, seeing opportunities in every situation, even when plans go awry. When faced with unexpected challenges, like a missing catering order, they seize the chance to create a memorable experience by rallying everyone to contribute to a homemade meal.

Level 5 embraces differences among family members, using them as opportunities to broaden perspectives and grow. Their calm demeanor radiates an unwavering inner peace and fulfillment, making them a fun and lighthearted person to share the couch with. 

Key Considerations and Coaching Questions for Level 5:

5Level 5 is a supportive energy when navigating the challenges that may arise during family gatherings. If you find yourself experiencing one of the lower energy levels, consider experimenting with a perspective that identifies opportunities embedded within the challenges.

What would it feel like to shift your focus, seeing the potential for growth, understanding, and positive experiences even in the midst of difficulties?

By exploring this approach, you might discover new ways to navigate family dynamics and turn challenges into opportunities for connection and personal growth.

Level 6: Openness and Flow

At Level 6, individuals bring a profound sense of connection to holiday gatherings. Regardless of how the event unfolds, they feel immense gratitude, recognizing the gift of being present and partaking in the human experience.

Residing in a state of pleasure, fulfillment, and joy, people resonating at Level 6 radiate with openness and ease. They may introduce creative games, inspiring others to join in the festivities. More interested in embracing the moment than being right or maintaining peace at the expense of authenticity, they allow the family gathering to unfold organically, enjoying every aspect without judgment.

Key Considerations and Coaching Questions for Level 6:

6Reflect on what it’d be like to allow your upcoming family gathering to unfold organically, appreciating every aspect without judgment. Imagine embodying Level 6 energy and consider how this conscious shift might elevate the joy, connection, and warmth you experience during the event.

Explore ways to cultivate a deeper sense of gratitude for the sheer act of being present with family, regardless of the twists and turns the occasion may take. How might this intentional embrace of gratitude and presence contribute to a richer, more meaningful experience for both you and your loved ones?

Level 7: Absolute Passion and Non-Judgment

At Level 7, people bring a profound sense of presence to holiday gatherings. They embody complete non-judgment and unconditional love, embracing everyone with a wide-open heart.

Effortlessly tapping into the lower energy levels when needed, they navigate the holiday gathering with a deep sense of awareness and grace. This level is often associated with profound spiritual wisdom and with practices like meditation and the Buddhist tradition’s loving kindness, which everyone can learn to access. 

Key Considerations and Coaching Questions for Level 7:

7Consider incorporating mindfulness practices, such as meditation, or exploring practices like loving kindness from the Buddhist tradition to enhance your ability to access Level 7 energy. 

Reflect on how you can infuse more genuine presence and unconditional love into your interactions with others during family gatherings. How might this deepened awareness positively influence your connections with loved ones?


How to Utilize the 7 Levels of Energy for Deeper Connection & Joy

The 7 Levels of Energy is a dynamic guide for navigating family gatherings—it gives us the ability to shape our experience on a moment-to-moment basis by thoughtfully responding to situations rather than reacting based on past conditioning. In other words, it empowers us to navigate the holidays from a place of ease and forge deeper, meaningful connections with loved ones!

Imagine attending a family gathering from a deep place of self-awareness—you know exactly which energy level you’re experiencing at each moment. And if you find yourself resonating at a lower energy level, it’s perfectly okay—after all, family dynamics can be complex. With this awareness, you have the option to acknowledge your feelings and intentionally shift to a higher energy level that will support you in feeling happier and more at ease. 


Blog family gathering table

Final Thoughts on Managing Your Own Energy at Family Gatherings

Navigating the energetic dynamics of family gatherings can be both challenging and rewarding. Remember that self-awareness is your greatest ally as you strive to manage your energy during these occasions. Understanding the 7 Levels of Energy and recognizing your predominant energetic state allows you to approach family interactions with intentionality.

In the midst of familial complexities, remember to prioritize self-care. Find moments for reflection, deep breaths, and intentional shifts to higher energy levels when needed. Remember that managing your own energy isn’t about perfection—it’s a continual journey of self-discovery and empowerment.

As you cultivate self-awareness and practice intentionally choosing your energy, you pave the way for more fulfilling and harmonious family gatherings, fostering connections that go beyond the surface and creating lasting memories of shared joy and understanding.

Want to Go Deeper with the 7 Levels of Energy?

This article is only just the beginning! If you’re ready to unlock your full potential and discover the transformative power of the 7 Levels of Energy—beyond the setting of family gatherings—we encourage you to explore Coaching Fundamentals, an interactive, immersive training to help you harness the energy within you to create lasting positive change, both in your life and the lives of others.

Whether your goal is to start working with paying coaching clients (either full-time or as a side-hustle!), grow as a leader and boost your earning potential, or experience the impact of eliminating inner blocks and awakening your personal potential . . . this 3-day live training will help you master new skills, build confidence, and begin paving your unique path forward.