The holiday season sneaks up on us every year, adds extra pressure on our relationships, and leaves us feeling stressed out. So, here are 8 relationship tips to help you have a fun, peaceful Christmas with your romantic relationships intact.
1. Don't try to be perfect
You know how you always go that extra mile, you set high standards for yourself (some might say, unachievably high) and always want to do more? While that’s part of what makes you excel at what you do and stand out from the crowd, it can also be a sure path to burnout.
The holiday seasons have a way of really amping up the pressure too, including in your romantic relationships. On top of the usual demands of day-to-day life, which let’s be honest are hard enough to keep up with (adulting is hard), you now have holiday decorations, gift-giving, extended family and more to worry about. Even thinking about all the extra things taking up space in my brain is exhausting.
Let go of the pressure to be perfect
So my invitation to you is to let go of the need and pressure to be perfect. Can you give yourself permission to be a bit more human this season? That might mean doing things to the point of being good enough rather than perfect. Or it may look like reducing your scope - finding ways to take on less. Learn more about dealing with perfectionism in my other blog post - From Perfectionism to Personal Growth.
Try EFT Tapping
I can highly recommend taking a few minutes each day to do a round of tapping on the need to be perfect and giving yourself permission to let go of perfection. It’s safe for you not to be perfect all the time!
Want to understand this EFT Tapping thing a bit better? Read more about it and sign up for my free mini-course all about getting started with Tapping here: EFT Tapping
2. Set realistic expectations
This relationship tip relates back to my earlier point about taking on less. This time I invite you to think of how you can take on less mentally and emotionally. It’s easy to get carried away, especially during the holiday season, and build up these great expectations around what the holidays ”should” look like.
Trying to be the Hallmark-card type couple
What expectations are you holding on to about what your romantic relationship “should” look like, or what your relationship status “should” be?
Society and many cultures add unnecessary pressure around this. So I invite you to take a step back and notice what expectations you’re holding on to around the holidays and your romantic relationship. How are you expecting yourself to handle things like in-laws, different traditions, gift giving etc?
Expecting to be all happy-go-lucky and the picturesque Hallmark-type couple just adds unnecessary pressure and stress to you and your relationship. That’s clearly not conducive to a peaceful relationship or holiday.
So, first off, notice if you’re piling on the expectations. If you are, try writing it all down so you can properly visualise the extent of it. Then see if there are any you feel safe to let go of (even if just temporarily).
Make expectations explicit with your partner
Lastly, discuss any expectations you have with your partner. More on that in the next tip, but in essence, make sure any assumptions and expectations are explicit! This will make your life so much easier and your relationship will be stronger thanks to it.
3. Communicate with your loved ones
Communicate, communicate, communicate. You’ll probably hear me say this a lot. It really is the number one relationship tip, and yet so easily overlooked.
If you’re feeling stressed or anxious about the holidays or a particular element of it - be it the worry of ‘will your family like me’ or ‘I’m losing my mind trying to keep track of all the events on’ or ‘my to-do list just keeps growing’, talk to each other about it.
Prefix the conversation
Whenever possible, talk to your partner before you’re in a state of total overwhelm, feeling like you’re losing your mind or you want to punch someone (It’s ok, we’ve all been there). You may want to prefix the conversation with what you’re hoping to get out of it.
If you just want to vent and have them listen and nod silently, let them know. Or if you want to problem solve together and come up with ways in which you can help each other, say so.
Many of us tend to jump into solution mode and advice-giving, but if that’s not what you want, or you’re really not in the mood for advice, it’s no fun. So remember this tip if you want a more peaceful relationship that feels safe and nourishing.
Bonus tip - neutral time & place
A bonus tip for you is to choose a neutral time and location to have any potentially more challenging conversations. This applies to any time of year and any topic of conversation really.
You might find it more constructive and easier to chat while grabbing your favourite coffee drink and going for a walk together. It gives you something to do physically - no expectation to sit still, and you don’t even have to make eye contact the entire time (some nice added benefits for us neurodivergent folk).
4. Make time for each other & connect
With all the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it's important to make time for each other. It’s really easy to get caught up in your endless to-do list and the stress of it all, I know! It comes at a cost though, even if we don’t feel it immediately.
We will often disconnect from our bodies, our physical and emotional needs being pushed aside in favour of checking off another task.
It starts with you
Relationships rely on connection, and if we’re not even connected within ourselves, how can we hope to feel connected with our partner?
As usual, we have to start with our own well-being in order to have a healthy, happy romantic relationship. So my next relationship tip is to try giving yourself permission to stop every now and then and take a breath.
Find something that helps you tune into your body and your needs or desires. It could be walking in nature, exercising, meditating or even reading smut for an hour. There’s no judgement here or expectation around what self-care “should” look like.
Getting your partner in on it
Invite your partner to do the same. If they’re not the meditating type, maybe it’s taking a boxing class, going for a run, or whatever type of activity that appeals to them and how their brain works. I don’t recommend scrolling social media or binging tv shows though. That’s a way of disconnecting from reality, which is sometimes needed, but not what we’re going for here.
Choose a self-care activity that's grounding or that releases pent up stress and energy.
Reconnect & be present
Once you’ve both had a chance to reconnect with yourselves, bring that energy into the relationship. Challenge each other to be more present.
- Can you take a moment to just be with one another, without necessarily doing anything?
- Could you lie in bed for an extra 10 minutes and just snuggle and smile at each other (you can be cheesy, no one’s watching)?
- Or maybe it’s cuddling up and watching a Christmas movie.
Discover what makes you both feel the most connected and explore different ways of bringing in more of that, especially (but not limited to) during the holiday season.
Remember these tips if you want a more peaceful relationship during the holiday and beyond:
- First, pause and take a moment to notice what’s going on in your own body and mind.
- Next, practice being fully present with your partner, taking the time to reconnect amid life’s chaos.
5. Show your appreciation
Following on from connecting and being present, how might you show your appreciation even more? When you’ve been together with someone for a long time especially, it’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day routines and comfort of life together.
Gratitude for your partner
We love a good gratitude journal in personal development, so why not apply the same principle to your romantic relationship?
It can feel really special to be told how much your partner appreciates you and the things they’re grateful for in your relationship. You can always refer back to each other’s love languages for ideas on how to show appreciation in a way that resonates with them.
So, whether you're Thanking your partner for all their help with Christmas shopping or simply saying "I love you," take some time to express how much you appreciate them. If “I love you” is feeling a bit mundane, try “I appreciate you”, and see how that feels.
6. Be patient
Here’s another tough one I’m sure for many of you - be patient. How can you be patient when you’re brain is going a mile a minute and there are a gazillion things you still need to get to? Try to separate all that from your partner and from the relationship.
Find a common goal
What’s the common goal that you’re both working towards? Is it a festive holiday full of love and laughter? Or a chance to connect with family and enjoy the traditions that have been passed down through generations?
Whatever it is, use that as your anchor. Remember that you both fundamentally want the same thing, even when the process of getting there gets chaotic.
Things can certainly get hectic during the holidays, so it's important to be patient with each other. Short fuses won’t serve you, so do what you can to not let your cup spill over. If tempers start to flare, take a deep breath and remember that this is only temporary. The holiday season will be over before you know it!
Now’s a great time to do some tapping too, acknowledging how you’re feeling and then reinforcing that it’s safe for you to be a bit more patient - with yourself and your partner. That can be enough to keep your cup from spilling over, giving you just enough resilience to not yell at your partner or loved ones over the holidays.
If your partner is starting to feel overwhelmed, offer them some support. Whether it's taking on some of their responsibilities or just lending a listening ear, let them know that you're there for them. Being there for each other during stressful or hard times goes a long way in creating a more peaceful relationship.
7. Give yourself a break
This relationship tip is your permission to rebel against the pressures and expectations we talked about earlier. If you're not in the mood to celebrate, give yourself a break. It's perfectly fine to take a step back from all the holiday hoopla and just relax at home with a good movie or book. This goes back to my point about self-care too.
I know it’s tempting to keep running until it’s all over and then crash, but it doesn’t have to go like that!
A break amidst the holiday chaos
By giving yourself little breaks in between all the chaos, you’ll probably find the chaos a lot easier to deal with. You’ll be less likely to get short with your partner or kids or pets, whoever is standing closest at the time. You may also be able to avoid the post-holiday migraine or cold - you know that moment when you finally stop and your body seizes the opportunity to yell at you for pushing yourself too hard?
Let’s not allow things to go so far this year, deal?
To help you have breaks, it’s a good idea to set some boundaries. Boundaries are important in any relationship, romantic or otherwise, but they're especially important during the holiday season. There will be times when you need to say "no" in order to protect your own sanity and your romantic relationship.
Don't be afraid to set boundaries with family, friends, and co-workers too. It might feel clunky and hard in the beginning, but it really does get easier. It’s worth the effort, believe me.
8. Enjoy yourselves!
Ultimately, the holidays are about spending time together and enjoying each other's company. Focus on what you want to get out of this time together, how you want to feel and what you want to experience. Relax, have fun, and make some memories that you'll cherish for years to come!
What were your takeaways? Do you feel a little more hopeful about having a peaceful Christmas or holiday season?
If you want to chat about your unique situation, how you can make your relationship better, or you have other relationship-related concerns you’d like to discuss - book a clarity call with me using the link below, and let’s start the conversation! https://app.simplymeet.me/zoe/15min