Conquering Holiday Stress with Your Partner

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Or is it? Mid-December…we are officially deep in the trenches of the holiday season. The holidays tend to bring an increased demand on your time, energy and finances. It’s definitely a time of high stress, heightened expectations and multiple commitments. Inevitably, this may lead to increased tension or conflict with your partner. Here are 5 tips to help you and your significant other face holiday stress.

Work as a Team

Working as a team is always important in your relationship, and so why should the holidays be any different? Your husband doesn’t feel like spending all day at your parent’s house? Don’t throw him under the bus to your folks. Doing so may relieve your guilt and anxiety in the short term, but it will create unnecessary resentment in your relationship. Powwow together to come up with answers and present yourself as a united front to your children, family and friends.

Plan Ahead

Planning with your partner will make the holidays much smoother. Sit down and review hopes and expectations on both sides. It’s easy to overplan during this time, so discuss which commitments are priorities. Some compromising may be necessary; therefore, think about which events are the most meaningful to you.  Once you come up with a game plan that you both feel good about, stick to it.

Create Your Own Traditions

Create your own holiday traditions! Often, navigating our extended family’s events can be so stressful that we forget to make the holidays our own. I think it’s so important to come up with your own holiday rituals for just the two of you.  Whether it’s ice skating, baking cookies or cutting down a tree together, the holiday ritual you share will make you feel more connected.

Set Boundaries

We all have an Uncle Joey…that one relative who is totally and completely inappropriate. It seems likely that an uncomfortable remark or situation will arise at one of your holiday events. You may want to discuss such situations beforehand with your partner and be prepared to express your discomfort and gently redirect.  If it’s a situation where you feel like you need to leave, devise an exit strategy with your significant other.

Let Your Partner Know When You Need Help

It always comes as a surprise to me when one partner tells me how upset they are with their partner and the partner’s response is “I didn’t know that!” or “I didn’t know that you felt that way.” Communication is always so important in your relationship, especially over the holidays. Your partner isn’t a mind reader.  When you need help, ask for it. Feeling overwhelmed because you’ve been out shopping all day and you come home to find your partner chilling on the couch watching football? Your immediate instinct might be to feel resentful. Take a moment, take a couple breaths and ask for their help in wrapping presents. Don’t go into attack mode. Give them a chance to show up for you.