We are all well aware that while the holiday season can be a wonderful time of year spent with loved ones, it can also bring with it some stress. Just a few examples: spending hours trying to make your house look festive; thinking of the perfect gifts for family, friends, neighbors and coworkers, then having to go get those gifts and wrap them, while trying to not spend a fortune; making special food for the celebrations; and feeling pressure to make special memories. Don’t forget to leave room for unexpected things to happen, as well!
I have a theory that holiday stress can derive from feeling a lack of control. Which means that in times of stress, I have found that the best thing you can do is focus on what you CAN control.
Control the holiday stress instead of letting it control you.
I have tips that can help you do this!
1. PLAN AHEAD AS MUCH AS YOU CAN
To keep the focus on the things you enjoy during the holidays, it helps for family members and friends to plan ahead the who, what, when, where, why, and how to your events. When everyone is on the same page about the details ahead of time, you prevent a lot of misunderstandings, making your actual day of celebrating more likely to run smoothly.
Some ideas for planning ahead:
2. DISCUSS HOLIDAY EXPECTATIONS AND DESIRES, AND TRY TO MEET THEM
We all have expectations and traditions we want to experience each holiday season. Going along with good communication, it’s crucial to talk about these so they can actually happen.
How to do this:
Benefits to this exercise:
3. HAVE YOUR OWN MERRY LITTLE CHRISTMAS
We tend to associate the holidays as being spent with immediate and extended family members, but we forget that as a couple with or without children, you are your own family too. So don’t forget to make time to have your own merry little holiday together!
Here are a few ideas for doing this:
We have had our own little Christmas for two years and have loved it for a few reasons: 1) We get to put our marriage first before family time which is always a good idea. 2) Sometimes family holidays can be disappointing or drama happens, right? (Exhibit A of something we have little control over). If we’ve already celebrated parts of the holiday on our own, whatever happens after that won’t “ruin” our holiday.
When all else fails, react positively.
I hope these three suggestions can help in preventing holiday stress this season! However, what do you do if stress is STILL trying to find you?!
The way you react to a situation becomes the last piece of control you have before holiday stress takes over.
One thing that helps me react positively to negative situations is remember the things that matter most. Keeping your mind focused on the “reason for the season” helps you adapt better. For example, if the turkey burns, you can react positively by realizing that it’s not the end of the world, and that the reason people came was for the good company and not necessarily the turkey. Haha.
Whatever YOUR reason for celebrating the holiday season, focus on it. It helps the little details seem not so important, and the big things as just a speed bump.
Keepin’ marriage (and the holidays) fresh,
Get to know Amy & Freshly Married
Amy is a wife, blogger, and Family Life Educator teaching couples how to strengthen their marriage and keep it fresh through helpful advice, support, ideas, and inspiration. She primarily does this through her
blog, Freshly Married.
Freshly Married began when she and her husband were first married, simply sharing learning experiences and thoughts on marriage while she earned her bachelor’s degree in Behavioral Sciences. Shortly after graduating, Amy strengthened the platform of Freshly Married to provide more educational blog content and daily encouragement for spouses on social media. She strives to find new ways at being a helpful resource for couples in any stage of life.
She believes that if all spouses ask and answer the question, “What will I do today to keep my marriage fresh?” on a daily basis and act on that answer, they can have a happy and healthy relationship.