For many, the holidays are a time of stress and not what they should be — a time of joy. If you’re already dreading the upcoming holiday season, know that there are steps you can take to de-stress and normalize the holidays. Singing the holiday blues from too much stress can take a negative toll on your relationships and drive a wedge between you and your partner. Take a few deep breaths and read on to minimize holiday depression and anxiety.
How Stress Affects Your Relationship
People who love the holidays often talk about the joy and wonder of the season. They approach the holidays from a place of giving and of love, focusing on the light they can share with others. They purchase thoughtful holiday gifts from this place of love.
Folks who sympathize with Scrooge are more likely to dwell on the stressful aspects of the holidays, such as spending time with relatives they don’t enjoy or buying gifts for nitpicky relations who view holiday gifts as proof of love. Hung up on waiting for the holidays to be over, these people aren’t much fun to be around. They may snap at their partner, verbalize dread about attending holiday parties or shut down and shut out their partners. If this sounds like you, congratulations: recognizing that holiday stress takes over is the first step to overcoming the Christmas time blues.
The second step is realizing that you don’t have to turn around and Pollyanna your way through to New Year’s. If you get holiday depression, there’s probably a good reason for it. Think back to what may be the root of your unhappiness and dread, so you can solve the problem. If you’re really dreading the gift exchange because you’ve got financial constraints, why not set a budget with your family members or offer services like babysitting or home organizing instead of presents? If you’re feeling over-committed from too many holiday parties, see whether you can miss some events this year.
Stress Busting Your Holidays
Once you’ve meditated on some of the holiday problems that bring you down, try to problem-solve. If you map a plan before the anxiety kicks in, you may come out ahead. Clueing your partner in to the little things that set you off also helps minimize holiday conflicts, because now the two of you can tackle stressful situations. The more attuned you are to what causes stress, the more you can ask for your partner’s help or even a little gift to resolve the situation.
For example, you’re planning a major holiday party at home, and you’re afraid you’re going to have to do all the cooking, cleaning and entertaining for the event. That’s certainly something to feel anxiety over. What are some ways that you can ask for your partner’s support? Maybe you can divide up the labor before the party, or agree that you do all the cleaning and cooking for the party if he cleans up the aftermath. Or perhaps you can give each other the new gift of a nice vacuum so that cleaning the house before the party feels more like fun and less like work. Approach the problem as a couple and come up with solutions that work for the two of you.