How to Survive Holiday Stress as a Couple
Most people expect the holiday season to be the most joyous, wonderful time of year. It can also be the most stressful. How can you survive holiday stress and maybe even thrive as a couple?
There are often great expectations before and during the holidays, which may cause distress among couples and families.
The stressors range from the pressure to entertain a large crowd, challenging relationships with family or in-laws, workload demands, sadness or loneliness from the loss of loved ones, financial worries, children reacting to the hectic pace and change of routines, etc.
As you can see, overloaded with stress and activity, patience with each other may run thin, which can leave you bickering more and feeling frustrated with your partner.
Here are our Top 6 Tips to Survive Holiday Stress as a Couple:
1. Keep it Simple
- Make a Holiday Plan: Talk ahead about money, gifts, schedule, family, children, and expectations.
This may not be easy, but do your best to come to an agreement so that you are both on the same page and not scrambling minute by minute to get it all done.
- Remember to take care of yourself: Holidays can bring many parties and gatherings with excessive eating and drinking. There is nothing that can amplify stress more than lack of sleep, poor diet and too much alcohol.
Try and sneak in some short walks with your partner or take some time alone to read, take a nap, or something that helps you slow down and relax.
2. Be Present
- Set your priorities: It’s not just about having everything perfect and decorated. The holidays are also for special time with family and friends that can be very meaningful. Don’t confuse giving gifts with showing love. Pace yourself and find the balance. Be intentional about setting time aside for you and your partner during the holiday craze.
- Make it quality time: Sitting around the dinner table with everyone on their phones or iPads does not count as quality time. With the busyness of the season there are a lot of demands – people trying to get a hold of you, planning, and family holiday photos to put up on social media. This can leave little time for quality connection.
Take a moment and enjoy what’s happening with the people you are with, and unplug from the cyber world around you.
3. Practice Gratitude
- Shift your perception: Holidays are a time that can trigger sadness, hurt, loneliness, frustration, anger, and resentment. It can also bring up greed and thoughts of “not enough”. These feelings can leave people feeling very disconnected and cause significant stress on relationships. Instead of looking at what you don’t have or seeing the glass half empty, try to focus on everything you do have. Maybe it’s even the small things that you take for granted (food, car, shelter, friends, family, a job, etc.). Try to name one thing you are grateful for each morning and night.
- Share it: This is a perfect time to share what you are grateful for and express love to your partner, friends, and family. This may be the best gift you can give!
We say to couples all the time that couples need to be able to nurture their relationship. So, try sharing with your partner something you feel grateful for in the relationship. Try saying it in a heartfelt, vulnerable way. It’s amazing how much better couples do in solving their challenges when they start from a place with a full tank of nurturing for the relationship.
If you need support to survive holiday stress with your partner, we’d love to help.
Visit our online scheduler to get started with one of our fabulous Greenwood Village couple therapists. South Denver couples counseling specialists!
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We wish you happy holidays from Thrive!