The holidays are special because of the opportunities we get to connect or reconnect with friends and family. But we all know that they can also cause a lot of stress because of the complexity that is added to our everyday lives: travel, in-laws, financial pressures, cooking, and shopping all start to pile up in our already busy schedules. We are all equipped to deal with a certain level of stress, but at a certain point our bodies throw up the white flag and we’re left feeling exhausted and short-tempered. As a result, we may be less capable of managing relationship conflicts and keeping a positive outlook. So, how do we manage the holidays while maintaining a strong connection with our partners? Below are five ways to help keep that connection strong and avoid a food fight with the fruit cake:
1. Get on the Same Page - The holidays are not the time to guess or assume what your partner is thinking. It’s the time to overcommunicate. Sit down together and plan what you are going to do for the season. Learn your partner’s priorities, explain your own and incorporate them into a master plan. If you communicate early, you will be more likely to avoid conflict and blend your traditions together in a way that fill both of you with holiday cheer.
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2. Ask for Help - When you are feeling overwhelmed, fight against the urge to shut yourself away in a dark room and use it as an opportunity to reach out to your partner. Identify the issues that you have some control over and those you don’t. From there, be specific about how your partner can help you resolve these problems and emphasize how much his or her help would mean to you. Or maybe just use your partner as a sounding board to release some stress and get advice on how to best handle a tough situation. It’s not always easy to ask for help, but doing so will foster a sense of team and closeness in your relationship.