The holidays are supposed to be joyful and bring couples closer together. However, in reality, December sets the tone for the highest number of divorces, which begins in January and ends in March. The stress couples feel and become angry or depressed about in December is many times not resolved and is carried into the New Year. Preventing this cycle in your relationship can be as easy as having an action plan to help calm the stress of the holidays.
- Lower your expectations with gift giving and money spent during the holidays. The pressure many people feel to give gifts of equal value puts many couples in financial debt and this added stress is usually felt in the New Year. This year scale back, and take time to write a special note of what the person means to you instead of buying something you can’t afford.
- Calm down. The holidays can feel exciting, but that excitement can cause stress with sleepless nights and feeling irritable during the day. As much as possible stick with parts of your routine and carve out much needed “me time.” Ten minutes alone to slow down and breathe is enough to change your perspective.
- Cut back on alcohol. Festivities are often celebrated with alcohol. Alcohol is a depressant to your nervous system and if you drink too much within days you’ll begin feeling more lethargic, more depressed and more irritable. All of these add to additional stress.
- Prepare to share your relationship with others. For some couples the additional stress of having company or family spend the holidays is extremely stressful. Talk to your partner in private about what things you want kept confidential before they blurt out or do something that hurts or embarrasses you. Families are different with information shared, and just because you can say or do something in front of your parents does not mean it will be okay with your partner’s parents.
- Limit parties without guilt. You don’t have to go to every party you’re invited to. Having boundaries and knowing when to give yourself permission to stay home is an indicator of a healthy self-esteem. Parties are for socializing and having fun. If you’re too tired and over socialized advocate for your sanity and stay home.
- Keep your date nights with the two of you. Holidays are all about sharing, and couples begin feeling disconnected with each other when they’re giving so much to others. Schedule your together time alone, and don’t allow anyone else’s schedule to interfere.
Protecting your relationship and allowing the holidays to add joy instead of stress is about you prioritizing and celebrating the love you feel together, and remembering that is the greatest gift of all.