By Daniel H. Moss, Attorney
It’s that time of year again! The holiday season can often be filled with more stress than festivities, especially if your marriage is already strained. In my previous article, How Holiday Stress Can Impact Your Marriage, we covered five holiday stressors and tips for managing them.
I hope the additional tips below will help you navigate the season and manage the stressors that can creep in when you least expect them.
1. Don’t get overwhelmed by the hustle and bustle
From gifts to guests to holiday parties, this time of year is filled with so much to do, so many gifts to buy and so little time that it’s easy to start feeling overwhelmed.
Suggestion: Schedule time to spend time with your spouse and your family so that you don’t miss the holiday season in all the rushing around. You could take in a favorite holiday movie, stop for some hot cocoa, read books, work on a puzzle together or bake cookies. If you can schedule even a few hours of quiet, quality time with your family, it can help you destress, slow down and make some memories.
2. Diffuse In-law Tension
Visiting your in-laws can be a stressful situation, especially during the holiday season. Everyone has different traditions and ways of celebrating, and in-law relationships can be rocky to start with.
Suggestion: Instead of allowing in-law issues to cause friction between you and your spouse, make a plan in advance for how to handle these stressful situations so that you and your spouse are on the same page. Look to your partner for help diffusing any in-law tension and offer the same when visiting with your own family.
3. Combine Traditions
Everyone grows up with different holiday traditions, and it can be difficult, especially for new couples, to agree on how to celebrate the holidays. The desire to do things the “right way” during the holidays can cause friction and unnecessary arguing.
Suggestion: Recognize that there is no “right way” to celebrate the holidays. Instead of arguing over whose way is the “right way,” discuss your traditions and come up with ways you can compromise. This might even lead to forming your own traditions moving forward.
4. Forget the Little Things
Everyday annoyances can snowball into large conflicts during the stressful holiday season. If your marital relationship is already strained, the small things can turn into big arguments in a snap.
Suggestion: Work to separate the large issues from the little annoyances and do your best to let the small things go so you can focus on the important parts of your holiday season without adding unnecessary arguments to the mix.
5. Lower Your Gift Expense Expectations
This time of year brings many bills, end-of-year financial worries and more. You may be purchasing gifts for several children, family members and friends, which can put a strain on finances and can lead to arguments over money, spending and expectations.
Suggestion: Discuss a gift budget with your spouse and don’t exceed it or expect your spouse to. Thoughtful, meaningful gifts do not have to break the bank.
Take time throughout this stressful holiday season to prepare yourself for some of the biggest stressors so that you don’t end up overwhelmed by holiday gatherings, gift giving and buying, and end-of-year rushing.
Merry Christmas and happy holidays!
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