It’s that time of year again! Once Halloween happens we know that Thanksgiving is around the corner, and Thanksgiving is our reminder to get ready for Christmas. The season comes and goes quickly, and as lovely as it is to have days off, spend time with family and decorate the house, it has its stresses too. Often times, the biggest area we see these play out is in our closest relationships – mostly family and spouses – as we try to work together to make the holidays go smoothly. Some dynamics make this especially difficult: blended families, current tension between family members, pleasing both sides of the extended family, potential new traditions brought on by children growing up, and much, much more.
Here are some tips from the Solid Foundations Therapy team to help you make this time of year as stress-free as possible!
- Be flexible. As hard as this can be, plans change as families expand. Traditions have to evolve, especially as kids grow older, family members relocate, or different people decide to host gatherings. If you find yourself grasping onto old ways instead of embracing change, remind yourself this year that change is inevitable, and think of things you can do to make yourself happy even if plans have to change.
- Set aside grievances. Tension with that family member who has been driving you crazy? Holidays typically are not the time to hash that out. Feel free to get something on the calendar to talk things out, but make sure it’s after Christmas morning!
- Budget ahead of time. We’ve definitely been guilty of blowing past the gift budget in the first week of shopping. This year, discuss with your spouse ahead of time the appropriate amount (the amount you can afford!) to spend and who you need to buy gifts for this year. Challenge yourselves to stick to this as a team so that you don’t have regrets and conflict when the credit card bill comes in January.. Tips to help:suggest a family gift exchange, they are fun and cost effective! Or – Make homemade gifts if you’re into DIY’ing!
- Say no to doing more than you think you need to. It can be difficult to say no to plans during a regular week, let alone the craziness that the holidays bring. Even if you have to do something – say, work longer at work – say no to something else so that you maintain the self-care and “me time” that you know you need.
- Seek help if you need it! We work with clients on handling family transitions, holiday time, and other stress-inducing times every day. Therapy can help you sort through how to lower stress and make sure everyone in the family is heard and respected.