The holidays shouldn’t be a demanding time, but often they are. Below are some tips to help support you.
- Take the pressure off yourself.
We’re bombarded with images of the ‘perfect’ gathering. We can feel this is what we are expected to achieve – but it’s essential to understand that these are just marketing techniques. Instead of striving for someone else’s idea of perfection, create your own ideal experience based on your life, budget and home, with relaxation, good food and entertainment at the heart of it.
- Help children to be realistic.
When it comes to presents, there is a lot of pressure on parents to meet the expectations of their children. Make a wish list with your child and discuss what’s feasible and affordable. Gently explain that they aren’t likely to get everything on the list and try to find out what they want. Remind them that this time is not only about presents but also time together.
- Talk to your partner.
Include your partner in decisions at an early stage, such as what you want to spend on gifts, which family members you’ll see and where you will spend the day. Too often, the holidays provide the perfect opportunity to overindulge financially and emotionally, but together you can present a united front.
- Plan activities.
Think ahead about fun activities you can all do, especially ones that make everyone laugh. Laughter is a great way to lighten the mood, and it can lessen the physical symptoms associated with stress. Invest in classic family games like Cluedo or Monopoly – or put together charades and picture games, no cost involved! Plan a family walk, especially if it’s a nice day. Silly hats are a must!
- The art of delegation.
Remember, you deserve a relaxing time too, so divide up the tasks: wrapping presents, writing cards, decorating the house, and all the elements of preparing the meal. Then, ask the children to get involved in making something for the meal. Share the load, and you’ll double the enjoyment of the day.
Of course, even if you follow these tips, the pressure of this time of year, on top of relationship stress, may be the final straw. If this happens, try to avoid confrontation and animosity in front of the children/family. Instead, give each other space and understanding to get through the holidays. In addition, it may help to focus on proactive steps you can take in the new year.
Reach out to me, and we can discuss the process of couples counselling, where you can discuss your relationship’s challenges openly and honestly. I am seeing clients in my office in Hove or online globally.