The holidays have arrive, and so has holiday stress. If you are like many, the stress of holidays and family can take it’s toll on you and your relationship. As a relationship counselor, I often joke with clients that I could start an entire business based on the stress of the holidays. I get it. It can really suck sometimes. If you are feeling the stress, there may be a few things you can do to ease it.
Set Boundaries: How often do we hear we need to set boundaries? I know, it happens a lot. And for many it feel impossible. So here’s another way to look at it. Rather than setting boundaries with someone else (like your family of origin) Instead set boundaries for yourself. (I won’t spend more than $50 on this gift) or (I can leave this holiday party whenever I am ready) This frame of mind for boundary setting can help us realize that their truth about boundaries is simple. It’s taking care of our own needs. And that is so important this time of year.
Set a budget and stick to it: Part of the reason the holidays can be stressful for many is finances. It can take a strain on the pocket book when you have 13 cousins and 23 second cousins to buy for. Sometimes hosting that holiday dinner for your family can really add up as well. Be mindful of your financial situation, set a budget and stick to it. If it means you don’t have as big of a spread as last year, that’s okay. Or buying gifts for fewer folks, or buying more inexpensive gifts that’s also okay. You have a right not to go into debt for the holiday season!
You get to choose your traditions: This one gets a little sticky. Especially if your are partnered. Many folks come into counseling based in strife related to whose family tradition they will celebrate. And it’s not cut and dry. At the end of the day, you want to focus on what is best for you, your partner(s) and your children if you have any. Your parents or extended family may be hurt, they may push for you to celebrate with them or how they celebrate. This is where those boundaries that we talked about earlier can come into play. You get to choose, compromise, and collaborate on what works for you! You don’t have to drag the kids across the state to spend holidays with your family just because it’s what you have always done. You don’t have to get the Griswold tree if that doesn’t fit with you. In partnership, this can take a lot of listening, and validating each other’s traditions. But when the end goal is peace and relaxation over the holiday, I can assure you will find the right mix.
This holiday season can be just what you want it to be. Keep in mind what your values are, what you want you family experience to be and then everything else can be based around that. And if you need extra support this holiday season, give us a call at Thrive Relational Therapy.