5 Easy Steps to Relax While on a Family Vacation

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Who doesn’t love to go on vacation? In the summer, we Minnesotans usually flock up north to a cabin on a lake. The warm sunshine, refreshing lake water, and lovely breeze are unbeatable – especially when you realize winter is only a few months away. But sometimes, the serenity vacation brings can be dampened by family dynamics and the little things that just drive you nuts. You know, your nephew waking you up at 6am, your father-in-laws tasteless jokes, and your husband’s grandma constantly tidying up when you’re trying to relax. It’s one thing to vacation with the family you grew up with, but it’s another thing to spend days with a family you are new to. Depending on how similar and different your family of origin was to your partner’s, your vacation might not be much of a vacation. Read More

Why I’m Not Setting Goals for 2017

It seems like everyone is setting goals for the new year, but I don’t think I will. Don’t get me wrong, goals are great in theory and help people achieve results. However, I’ve never had much luck with goals. I always end up either convincing myself the goal was out of reach to begin with or I talk myself into a simpler version of the goal and end up feeling guilty once I accomplish it.

So, I’m not setting goals for 2017, I’m setting intentions.

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3 Quick Tips to Handle Holiday Conflict

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Imagine you are sitting at the outrageously decorated holiday table that your sister spent all morning setting.   Your most loved relatives are sitting around you, chatting, laughing, and grazing.  Your uncle starts up a conversation with your husband about politics from across the table.  He makes a comment about an immigration policy and you completely disagree with him.  You begin to feel agitated, your heart rate is increasing and your hands start to sweat.  On top of the agitation you are experiencing, your anxiety level starts to rise.  What is your husband thinking?  How much longer should you wait to hear your uncle out before you chime in with your opinion?  Should you chime in? Read More

You’re in this together

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We know that family of origin has a huge effect on how you spend your holidays. For couples, it is a time often filled with obligations and assumptions based on the traditions that you grew up with. For example, in my family Christmas Day has always been the “big” day, while Christmas Eve is more low-key. In my husband’s family, the opposite is true. In my family, we exchange gifts, but it’s not the “main event.” With my in-laws, the living room turns into a sea of presents and wrapping paper; it’s a pretty big deal.

It is assumed we will spend these respective days with our respective families and that we will follow the gift-giving guidelines of each. There is also a sense of obligation to make sure that we are spending adequate amounts of time with each side. It can get overwhelming sometimes. Although we do not have children yet, I know that the complications of these dynamics will multiply when that time comes. Couples with kids or those who are remarried: I’m sure you know what I’m talking about.

While there is not a universal set of rules to help you navigate complicated family dynamics and holiday-induced stress, here are three tips to help you and your partner remember that you’re in this together. Read More