Reduce Relationship Stress

7 Tips to Reduce Relationship Stress During the Holidays

The holidays are a busy time. Between the stress of gift-giving, hosting family and friends, and attending office parties with coworkers, your relationship with your significant other may be impacted by holiday anxiety.

In this article, we will go through seven ways couples can navigate the holiday season together and reduce relationship stress.

Starting with:

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1. Take care of yourself by getting enough sleep, eating healthy, and exercising regularly. ​

One of the most basic but commonly overlooked ways to reduce holiday anxiety is by taking care of yourself first. This includes getting to sleep on time, eating a healthy diet, and exercising regularly.

By taking care of yourself first, you will be better equipped to handle your holiday anxiety and relationship stress with a clear head.

2. Ask your partner about how they feel during the holidays.

Don’t assume that your partner feels the same way you do about certain aspects of the holidays (gift-giving, hosting guests, etc.). Communicate with each other to make sure you are both on the same page.

Be considerate of how they may be experiencing the holidays and check in with them frequently to make sure they are enjoying their holidays.

3. Make sure you have time for each other – don’t get caught up in too many activities or obligations.

The holiday season is not only busy for you but it is probably just as busy for your partner. Make sure that there is still time in the day where you two have each other’s full attention, whether it’s a date night or even just half an hour of cuddling on the couch over eggnog and cookies.

Your relationship shouldn’t take the back burner during the holidays.

4. Plan Ahead! Plan your date night with your significant other before the holidays hit.

Don’t wait until the holiday season to plan a date night. Plan one before the busyness of gift-giving, hosting guests, and socializing with coworkers begins.

Some fun date night activities include:

  • Driving around to look at holiday lights
  • Go to dinner at a restaurant that has some significance to your relationship
  • Get out some classic board or card games.

Your partner will appreciate it more than you know!

5. Talk to your partner about what you want for the holidays, and if you don’t know what they want, ask them.

If you are planning to exchange gifts with your partner, talk about what each of you would like and come up with a plan for picking something out together. Writing a wish list of what you would love will help them out and give them direction.

If you aren’t sure of their gift preferences, ask them! If you insist on it being a total surprise check in with their family or close friends for ideas!

6. Set expectations – don’t get too caught up in details or making everything perfect.

The holiday season can be very stressful for couples because there are so many pressures to have a perfect time together. However, this is an unrealistic expectation that only causes more stress in relationships.

Instead of focusing on the pressure or expectations of being perfect, communicate with your partner about how you are feeling and how you hope things will go. That way you can work together to have more realistic expectations for the holiday season and ease the holiday anxiety surrounding your unachievable expectations.

7. Discuss what traditions are important to each of you and come up with compromises on other traditions.

You and your partner may have already negotiated the important traditions for your family but there might be some value in revisiting this topic. Traditions are important for many couples, but some traditions may not be equally as important to both people.

Discuss your holiday preferences with your partner and see if you can come up with compromises that will make everyone happy. Sometimes compromise is the key to a happy relationship during the holidays!

The holidays bring up feelings of anxiety for many people, and they can be especially hard on couples who struggle with good communication. It might feel like you’re all alone in your struggle to get through this time of year but it doesn’t have to be that way!

If you want some help communicating with your partner during the holiday season and mitigating your holiday anxiety, schedule an appointment today!

Megan Humphreys, Marriage & Family Therapist