Yes, I am sure you are well aware of the fact that the holidays are once again upon us.  Families come together from near and far to celebrate this joyous time of year.  Office holiday parties abound, luncheons with friends fill our calendar, and everyone tries to spread good cheer.  With that being said, the holiday season is also associated with placing a tremendous amount of stress on ourselves and our relationship.  There is so much extra work to do: shop, bake, cook, wrap gifts – and not an extra second in the day to get it all done.  And I am sure I don’t have to remind anyone Xmas is only a week away!

So here are some of Dr. Patty Ann’s tips on how to effectively help ourselves and our partners manage the stress of the holiday season.

  1. Use a team approach for getting everything done.  In other words, divvy up the chores.  Sure, it might be nice to do all your holiday shopping together, but think about how much time and energy you save if you divide up the gift list and then divide and conquer. 
  2. Gauge your partner’s stress level.  If you notice they are appearing exhausted, cranky, not getting enough sleep and/or overeating – tell them.  Let them know you are emotionally available for them and take a few “to do” things off their holiday list.  This will help to tremendously reduce your partner’s stress level while providing the opportunity for increasing your emotional bond and sense of connectedness to each other during the most hectic time of year.
  3. Set aside specific periods of time (even if it is brief) to listen to each other about all the juggling you are experiencing at this time of year.  This is not meant to be a gripe session but an opportunity to let your partner know what you are struggling with as it relates to the chaos of the holiday season. Sometimes we just need to vent and we are not looking for a solution.  We just want our partner to be willing to listen to us and offer some comfort by just being present.
  4. Be absolutely certain you set aside some time to have FUN, RELAX and ENJOY each other’s company.  Even if you can only hang out together and relax with each other for an hour or two on a regular basis, do it!  You can’t underestimate how this time spent together will re-charge your battery and re-ignite your sense of connectedness amidst all the hustle and bustle of the holiday season.
  5. And last, but certainly not least, be certain to take care of yourself and your partner during the holidays.  Eat healthy and exercise regularly – I can already hear you say you don’t have time for this self-care during the holidays. My response to you is: you can’t afford not to take care of yourself – especially during the holidays.  It will help you enjoy the holidays and the people you love more during this time of year by staying healthy in body and mind. Try it – you will be glad you took the time to take care of yourself – after all, if you don’t, who will?

Like everything else we do in our relationship, we need to take care of ourself and each other. The busier and more stressful life gets, the more important this is to your relationship. You owe it to yourself, your partner and your relationship – especially during the holiday season.  Ho Ho Ho!

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Dr. Patty Ann

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