by Jessica Marchena, LMHC
The holiday season has quickly come upon us this year once again.
It started with Halloween, and now Thanksgiving is over as well. With less than a week away from Hanukkah and less than a month away from Christmas, we can all start feeling the stress of too much to do in too little time. There is shopping, parties, cooking, and more shopping to do.
It can be easy to get wrapped up (pardon the pun) in buying the presents and all of the holiday parties, and then not have much time left to spend with your mate. Here are some tips on how to stay connected with your partner during this fun but busy time:
- Plan Ahead: It is impossible to make it to all of the holiday activities and parties, so decide ahead of time which ones you want to go together as a couple, and which ones you may do alone because of work, or other groups, you may belong to that your spouse may not be a part of, like your tennis team or book club holiday party. Plan for some non-holiday date nights in between those holiday activities so you have time to talk, have fun together and reconnect.
- Family Time: This can be a heated topic between a couple. Which family you are going to spend which holiday with this year, or how you will divide the holiday between two families? Have a conversation together and come up with the best compromise for sharing the holidays with both families. Sometimes it is not possible to see both families for every holiday. And that is okay too. If familial relationships are strained right now, and you want to spend your holiday with just your immediate family, that is okay too. You, as a couple, decide what is the best and healthiest option for your family.
- Quiet Time: Plan some quiet time together. Sitting at home, maybe watching a movie or Netflix, or just cuddling on the couch with coffee. This can be a good time to recharge and reconnect about the holidays, how it is all going, are you having fun, and if any plans need to be revised.
- Say, “NO!”: Yes, it is okay to say no and skip some parties. You can’t please everyone and trying to do so will be overwhelming for you and your partner. Also, don’t fall for FOMO (Fear of Missing Out), you have been to plenty of parties before, and if you miss a couple this season, you won’t miss anything grand!
- Make Your Relationship a Priority: Don’t get so caught up in the season that you forget to check in with your spouse and see how they are doing. Make time to connect each day and offer support, comfort, and a hug. Schedule a date night for movies and dinner. Go for a walk together. Take time away from the business of the holiday season and let your mate know that you are there for them and love them.
- Go for Experiences Instead of Gifts: Instead of racking your brains on the perfect present for your partner, why not decide to go on a trip or a concert together instead of gifts. Maybe there is a big show coming to your area or a trip you have been wanting to take – make that your present. You will enjoy it and save a lot of stress from buying presents for each other!
Most of all, what do you want to take away from this holiday season? Do you want to remember how stressful it was, or do you want to remember all of the new memories you shared together during this holiday time? In January, how do you want to feel?
As for me, I want to look back and be grateful for the time we had together, the fun memories we made with our families and friends, and feel blessed for the start of another year together.
Happy Holidays to you and your family!
If you would like to schedule a first-time appointment to see Jessica or one of her colleagues, please call 562-203-9280.