It's official, we are smack dab in the middle of holiday season. Often this time of year is so busy with fun (and not so fun) activities and obligations, that we end up feeling like we need a vacation by the end of it! Even though the holidays can be full of joy and wonder, they can also be a time full of stress and high expectations. Snippy comments or full blown arguments with your partner can often be the result of this stress.
But wait! Don't fret!
Here are 4 ways to stay connected with your partner during the holidays. (Pssst... these are ways couples can stay connected year round!)
1) Set Realistic Expectations
Before you are knee deep in holiday cheer, discuss with each other what your hopes and expectations for the holidays are. What are the things that are most important to each of you? What are the things that you are willing to (and not willing to) compromise? Perhaps you will be spending the holidays at the in-laws, but you feel it's important that you, your partner, and your children spend some time together. Make a game plan ahead of time for how the things that are important to each of you can happen.
2) Make Couple Time a Priority
Intentionally set aside time during the holidays to connect as a couple. Perhaps you can make a new tradition with your partner such as exchanging gifts just the two of you, or going on a special date. Quality time together can be as easy as sharing a glass of wine by the fire or going for a walk while the grandparents watch the kids. The time you spend together doesn't have to be fancy, but it does need to be a priority. If time together isn't intentionally planned, it can be the first thing to go when we get busy.
3) Create a Culture of Appreciation
Sometimes we take our partners for granted and do not recognize all the little (or big) things they do to help our family. And sometimes we feel taken for granted ourselves. Couples can create a culture of appreciation in their relationship by noticing the things that their partner does and by saying "thank you." Try to catch each other doing something good, and acknowledge it when you see it. When you pay extra attention to the helpful things they do, you might be surprised how many you can find! During a time where everyone is busy, a simple "thank you" can go a long way.
4) Self-Care, Self-Care, Self-Care!!
This last one may sound counterintuitive, but it's true! In order to not let the holiday stress come between you and your sweetie, you need to take care of you. With holiday parties, family obligations, gift buying, etc., etc., etc. It can be easy to forget about the self-care. Try to add in some solo or family activities that include exercise and schedule down time to recharge your battery. Simply taking a few minutes to practice some deep breathing can be a great stress reducer.
Remember this time of year isn't about the gifts, the food, the parties... it's about spending time with the ones we love. Now go and create some memories together! Wishing you all a happy holiday season!
Want more? Check out a few more posts about improving your relationship here.