11 Holiday Stresses that Ruin Relationships (and what to do instead)

Holiday Stress Relief

Welcome to the series: 11 Holiday Stresses that Ruin Relationships – and What to Do Instead.   You’re reading the first one!

For 11 special posts, we’ll share ways to invite deeper emotional connection, and restore calm for each source of stress. You can get them in your inbox — a little help for a busy holiday season.

On most days, you and your partner can usually handle life’s ups and downs together. You celebrate the good times, and you help each other when things get tough.

But then comes the holiday season. Schedules shift into overdrive. Expectations go up. Suddenly, time seems much too short. Tempers flare. Patience flies out the window.

It’s supposed to be merry and bright, but it’s overwhelming!

You want the holidays to be special. But you don’t know where or how to start doing things differently.

Naming the pressures you feel can help you and your loved one turn to each other with the gentleness you long for. When you see what’s not working, you can invite your partner and family into honest conversations about what’s most important to each of you.

Here is a brief list of 11 holiday stresses that often drive people crazy, and brief tips to free your heart and mind so you can start smiling and laughing more.

1. When You Get Home with Lots to Do

Don’t begin your time together by giving directions or checking to-do lists, because there’s so much going on.

Do instead: Hug your loved ones. Look them in the eye and seek a moment of connection, such as sharing that you’re glad to see them.


2. How to Beat Holiday Stress with Mindfulness

Don’t down your morning beverage while getting the news or launching into your daily routine.

Do Instead: Savor your morning beverage, without doing anything else. Start your day with mindfulness.


3. When You Want to Make Holiday Plans Fun for Everyone

Don’t rely on your assumptions about what everyone really needs or wants

Do Instead: Have several conversations beforehand about what your loved ones really enjoy about the holidays, family time, winter break.


4. When You Want Decorating Bliss

Don’t compete with Martha Stewart, (or anyone you know) for best-dressed house, table, or cookie tray

Do instead:  Find the heart in the holidays. Ask and answer what touches you the most to display or offer.


5. When You’re Too Busy to Stop

Don’t let the rush of activities starve your relationship.

Do Instead: Make time each day for quiet check-ins with your partner.


6. When You’re Longing for Special Moments With Your Partner

Don’t feel shy and decide against speaking up about it.

Do Instead: Give the gift of appreciation, in notes, or better yet, face to face, let your partner know what you appreciate and love about him or her.


7. When You’re Really Tempted to Splurge

Don’t spend more than you can afford.

Do Instead: Talk together about what giving gifts means, and about the budget, before shopping.


8. When You Want to Renew Old Ties

Don’t broadly send holiday cards and hope for the best

Do Instead: Give the gift of time and connection. Consider calling people you haven’t been in touch with lately.


9. When There Aren’t Enough Hours In the Day

Don’t short yourself on downtime, so that you are grumpy and can’t enjoy the season.

Do Instead: Find ways to catch up on rest, get your downtime, and help yourself relax.


10. When the holidays bring up sadness or losses

Don’t push these feelings away. They honor our whole lives.

Do Instead: Realize that holidays can bring sadness and losses to mind. Share your longings for past times or people with people who love you now. Even the “wheel of life” moments can bring tears.


11. When You Want This Holiday to be Special

Don’t pin your happiness on expecting any day or holiday to be special the way you planned. The day the turkey caught on fire will always bring back a unique memory of the day!

Do Instead: Create rituals or carry on meaningful ones, which anchor our lives in the rhythm of the years. Share memories of special times with your family and friends.

11 Holiday Stresses that Ruin Relationships (and What to do Instead)


You’ve Read the Introduction to: 11 Holiday Stresses that Ruin Relationships – and What to Do Instead. Discover 11 ways to restore calm for 11 sources of holiday stress. Click here to get each article in your inbox —  our gift to you, to support you during this busy holiday season.

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