The holidays are held out as a time of warmth, love, and family togetherness. But they can also be stressful. Pressure to get the right gifts, spend the right amount of time with the right people, attend all possible festivities, and do it all with never-ending joy and holiday spirit. These expectations and associated guilt can take its toll.
There is a way to enjoy the holidays and take care of yourself and your marriage at the same time. While it's best to decide where you'll be spending the holidays by Labor Day, there's still time. It takes a little talking and some extra planning but, if you and your spouse make the effort, you can turn this, and every future holiday season, from naughty to nice. Read on for five tips that will help you have a great holiday season!
1. Address Past Holiday Upsets
Sit down with your partner and identify what problems have occurred in the past. Try to be as clear and specific as possible. Pay close attention to who is involved as well as what is happening in the environment. Then, take a good look at how your behavior plays into the pattern. Identify how you have behaved in response to the situation in the past and develop a different, more productive, approach.
2. Feel What You Feel And Then Find A Way To Let It Go
One of the hardest parts of the holidays is the assumption that everyone should always be happy. If you feel forced into a certain emotional response, resentment will build and ruin your holidays. Take the time to acknowledge your emotions and then decide if you want to let that feeling define your day. If not, sit with the feeling for about five minutes and then let it go. Choose a feeling that is in keeping with how you want to be that day.
3. Focus On Your Family
Make sure you are taking time each day to do something just with your partner and/or your children. Take a walk, go to a movie, or take an after meal “nap” to get away from constant togetherness. Offer to cook a meal and then escape to the grocery store. This is a great way to introduce some of your traditions and give you a break at the same time.
4. Have A Routine
Stay on your schedule as much as possible. Make time to exercise. Maintain your approach to diet and alcohol intake. Your body is out of its routine, so don't confuse it more by excess. Moderation is the key to feeling well so maintain your sleep patterns. Staying up or getting up later than usual leaves you susceptible to mood swings and lack of patience. Helping your children maintain a routine will help them maintain control and be a tremendous gift to you and your partner.
5. Be Proactive
Take ownership of your holidays and have an alternative plan. The holiday police may want to rule your life, but that can only happen if you let them. If the only way to ensure peace and harmony in your relationship is to stay in a hotel, or shorten the visit by a couple of days, do it. Maintaining the long term health of your relationship is the best gift you can give or receive at the holidays.
Not so hard, right? By being prepared, you can have the happy holidays and merry marriage you seek!
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