This is the time of the year that brings holiday parties, buying gifts for family and friends, spending time with relatives from out of town and a myriad of delightful dishes. Add to that, festive lights, excited children awaiting Santa and a sense of merriment by even the grumpiest coworker. It sounds like a wonderful time, doesn't it? So why do so many couples feel so stressed? Instead of enjoying this special time of the year, they resort to cool withdrawal or heated arguments. How Do You Reduce Holiday Stress?
Most couples are already juggling a full schedule and try to add the shopping, cooking, wrapping, attending parties, arranging for out of town guests in addition to their full days. Typically, one spouse feels that he or she is taking the bigger load and lets the other know, either verbally or more subtlety. Tension mounts as tasks increase, sleep time decreases, children get cranky, out of town relatives seem a bit demanding and the easiest person to take it out on is your spouse.
Let this holiday season be different! Decide in advance what is really important to the both of you. Here are ten great ways that you can have a peaceful and loving holiday season:
1. Set limits on your time and be realistic. How many parties and events do you really want to attend? Only go to those you will most enjoy and let go of any guilt for not participating in the rest. Use the saved time to go on a date with your honey, even if that date is in your home after the kiddies are asleep.
2. Shop online for as many gifts as possible and if you haven't already done so, discuss cutting back on your gift-giving list. Not many people are in the position to freely buy for many and will most likely be relieved to cut out gift swapping in lieu of a evening spent together over wine and cheese or coffee and dessert.
3. Financial stress puts a major strain on a marriage. Don't get caught up in the materialism of the holidays. Make gift-giving from the heart and teach your kids the real meaning of giving by donating toys/gifts to charitable organizations or adopt an elderly person without family.
4. You cannot be a good partner if you do not take care of yourself first. Be sure to eat healthy foods, get enough sleep, fit in at least a few minutes of exercise each day, have some form of relaxation, whether it's deep breathing, listening to music, guided imagery, meditation, reading and most importantly, love yourself.
5. Hang out with the upbeat, positive people who actually enjoy the holiday season. Stay away from the "bah, humbug" people. We tend to pick up the energy of those around us, so choose wisely.
6. Communicate, communicate, communicate! When things get more rushed and harried than usual, don't let your most critical connector fall apart. It's so easy to do. "I thought I told you this morning as I was rushing out the door". Even if you must text each other short messages to update schedules and plans, keep each other informed. No spouse wants to be left in the dark. How To Communicate Better With Anyone