What words do you associate with the holiday season? Jolly. Merry. Bright. Joyful. Or maybe none of these? Many people feel overwhelmed during this time. They feel stretched tight in budget, time and energy and ultimately stressed out. It's tempting to scream BAH HUMBUG and run away fast. This can take a serious toll on your relationship. When both you and your partner are feeling over-scheduled and pulled in different directions, you're more likely to bicker, get defensive and snap at each other.
Sometimes old emotional wounds from years ago that may have even happened with a past partner or in your childhood can also resurface and cause you to pull away leaving your partner confused and hurt. We understand the urge to retreat from all of the expectations and pressures that come with the holiday season and, if that's what you choose to do, we certainly respect that. But it's not the only way to save your sanity and your relationship!
With honesty and mindfulness, you can create for yourself a holiday experience that truly is one of peace and joy...and one where you stay connected with your partner too. It's important to look at your usual patterns around the holidays and especially in the way you interact with the one you love. Be as objective as you can because, when things get busy and stressful, most of us fall into a default mode that isn't in anyone’s best interests.
Think back to holidays of the past and try to remember the point at which you felt drained or pressured or generally negative. Pay particular attention to your relationship with your partner. What seemed to bring the most conflict or distance to communication, intimacy or other areas? Are you a pleaser? Do you say "yes" because you think you have to? Do you criticize others to the point that they stop trying? These are habits that many of us fall into around the holidays and other times of year too.
Use what you learn about your habits in holidays past to prevent the same trajectory this year. It's absolutely possible for you to have a relaxing, renewing and joyful holiday season this year and to come away feeling closer than ever before to the one you love. How? Just follow these 6 simple stress-reducing secrets!
1. Remember To Breathe
Before you scan past this tip, stop and really read it. Because breathing is automatic, it's a stress release tool that often gets discounted and ignored. But it's your most powerful ally around the holidays, especially when you remember it and really do it. Before you get out of bed in the morning, pause and take 5 slow and deep inhalations and exhalations. Feel your breath flow from your abdomen and move throughout your body. Energize yourself in this way throughout the day and especially when you feel tense or triggered. It takes less than 1 minute.
2. Try Meditation
Meditation is not only for serious yogis; it's another simple ally to help you actually enjoy the holidays this year. Just set aside 5 or 10 minutes once a day or even a couple of times a week to sit in a quiet space and clear your mind. Some people focus their attention on their in-and-out breaths and others repeat a soothing word like "calm" or "peace," as they sit.
3. Exercise Mindfully
Don’t wait until January 2nd to resolve to exercise more. When you move your body regularly by walking briskly, running, biking, lifting weights, taking an aerobics class, playing basketball or whatever appeals to you, it moves stress out of your body. Everything else in your life feels more manageable after a work out!
4. Eat And Drink To Nourish First
You may dread holiday parties because you're trying to lose weight or because you have dietary restrictions that make these events a giant temptation. Be sure to eat and drink with nourishment in mind BEFORE you go to the cookie-laden festivities. You are more likely to eat and drink in moderation if you aren't ravenously hungry to begin with.
5. Leave Behind "Shoulds" And "Have Tos"
To set yourself up for a more relaxing and enjoyable holiday, give up all of those "shoulds" and “have tos” that rumble through your mind and keep you unhappy and possibly resentful too. Pause before you commit or say "yes" to an invitation or request. Ask yourself if you can agree and still honor your own needs and priorities and then give a response.
6. Embrace What It's All About
The holidays mean different things to different people. No matter what it is for you, re-affirm what the holidays are really about for you and what you value most about them. Let that be your guide. Embrace the holiday traditions that warm your heart and fill your soul and share them with people you care about.
We wish you a truly happy holiday this year!
Cultivate more magic in your relationship this holiday season by finding out how to create a closer connection with your partner. Susie and Otto share more secrets in their free ebook Passionate Spark~Lasting Love available at www.relationshipgold.com
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