Does it feel like “What are you doing for the holidays?” is a loaded question this year? You’re not alone. Whether you’re doing the usual or changing up your plans, there’s bound to be some stress and strain making its way into your psyche – and maybe your relationship. Here are four “C’s” to help avoid unnecessary stress and strain between you and your partner.
Talk about what you’re feeling – what’s stressing you out, what’s disappointing, and what you’re feeling happy about. Talk about what’s most important to you as you celebrate the holidays this year. Are there certain traditions you want to make sure you carry out? Tell your partner what you need from them when you’re feeling overwhelmed and vice versa.
Be realistic. Be okay with things not turning out 100% exactly the way you wanted – that’s life, right? Be courteous to your partner, their feelings, and wishes, especially if you’re in disagreement. Meet each other halfway, and show each other appreciation for doing so.
Create new memories and traditions. Make them as fun and silly as you want. Just as important as carrying on family of origin traditions is creating new ones within your own family. Whether it’s just the two of you and the dog or you’ve got a house full of kids, it will bring you closer and create lifelong memories.
Be present in the moment and treasure your time together. Try to see the bright side in however things turn out. Maybe you’re saving money and avoiding the stress of holiday travel, maybe you’re getting quality time with close family, or perhaps you’re just glad to have a few extra days off from work. Whatever your holidays look like, relish the joyful moments, big and small.
Being at odds with your partner during the holidays isn’t ideal for many reasons, but unfortunately added stress this time of year can make it more likely. Avoid falling into this dynamic by practicing the relationship basics of communication and compromise while putting some intention into enjoying the season and making it your own.