5 Tips to Handle Stress as a Team During the Holidays This year, strengthen the ties that bind and reduce holiday stress by being a partner with your spouse to tackle the holidays. BY BEVERLY D. FLAXINGTON
It's easy to get overwhelmed and frazzled during the holidays, fortunately you have a partner to split responsibilities.
“ Talk to yourself (and to your spouse) about how thankful you are for certain things they do. Be watchful for things going right.”
Having your spouse by your side, or at least nearby, should help to manage the noise and reduce stress during the holidays, right? Unfortunately it doesn’t always work out this way.
The person closest to us can be the one that irritates us the most (and vice versa). Stress in the relationship only exacerbates the holiday stressors we experience.
So, what’s the solution? Do we just close our eyes and wait for January 1 to come, when it’s all over and we can go back to "normal?"
No. The holidays provide a time for deepening your relationship, enjoying time together and facing the holidays as a team. If you are worrying, or already experiencing that holiday angst, here are a few steps you can take to ease stress within your relationship—especially during the holiday season.
1. Remember that you are in it together. It’s so easy to look around and try and find the source of your stress and frustration. You might see him or her sitting right next to you, in fact.
Instead turn to that person as a team member. You are going to enjoy your time together if you are on the same side, instead of different sides, of the holiday table.
2. Make a plan. Work the plan. In too many cases we are juggling whatever comes our way. There is no rhyme or reason, there is just reaction.
Instead, take charge. First, sit down with your spouse: plan what you want to do, how much you will spend, and how you will approach the holidays this year. Then, agree who will do what and hold each other accountable to it.
3. Practice positive self-talk. Instead of talking to yourself about how annoying, aggravating, or unhelpful your husband or wife is, talk the talk you used when you first fell for that person.
Identify his or her positive traits and strengths. Talk to yourself (and to your spouse) about how thankful you are for certain things they do. Be watchful for things going right.
4. Take "me" time and "us" time. There is often too much going on. Every weekday, night, and weekend is filled. It can feel like running on the treadmill.
Instead, open your calendar. Schedule "me" time, even if it’s just to take a walk or read a magazine you enjoy. Schedule "us" time to sit down and catch up with one another, take a walk together, or go for coffee. It won’t happen if you don’t schedule it, so commit it to writing in your calendar.
5. Adopt the mantra "this too shall pass." Holidays come every single year: you can count on them; they also pass every year. They are a point in time.
Whenever you catch yourself, or your mate, acting as if this is the be all and end all, remind yourself and one another that this passes. Don’t take the attitude you are just "getting through," rather recognize there are precious moments to be had and commit to finding them together.
Beverly D. Flaxington, The Human Behavior Coach, is a three-time bestselling and Gold-award winning author, a Certified Hypnotherapist, an international speaker, an accomplished entrepreneur and consultant, a sales and marketing expert, college professor, corporate trainer, facilitator, and behavioral expert. Bev’s written nine books. She most recently released "Self-Talk for a Calmer You," Bev is married with three children and 11 pets. More information is available at selftalkforacalmeryou.com.