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Stay your Team through the Holidays: Maintaining Relationships with Grace

No doubt about it the holiday season is hard. Often portrayed as a time of joy,
love, and togetherness, for many of us, that’s not how it has been. Depending on
your own life story, holidays can bring a mixture of memories-happy, joyful,
serene, comforting, or sad, angry, loss, abuse, loneliness, and longing. Differences
in those memories for couplets can be a BIG source of stress and strain on our
relationships. Balancing the demands of shopping, decorating, cooking, and
socializing can put a significant strain on our mental and emotional well-being,
making it challenging to maintain healthy relationships. But it is possible to sit the
old aside and create a new set of holiday memories that you both share as wonder-
filled experiences. With some thoughtful strategies and a bit of effort, you can not
only survive the holiday season with your relationships intact but find a way to
enjoy all the grace the holiday has to bring you together.

  1. Open Communication
    The foundation of any healthy relationship is open and honest communication.
    During the holidays, it’s important to talk through what you want and don’t want
    from the holidays. This is a time to negotiate what is important to each of you and
    find a way to merge what you each need. Sometimes there are old traditions to
    work through. Remember that each of you may have different preferences, and
    stress triggers. Try to find ways where you can both enjoy the time and make new
    traditions for yourselves. Keep the lines of communication open with your loved
    ones. By sharing your feelings and listening to your partner, you can find common
    ground and compromise for the happiest season ever.
  2. Prioritize Self-Care
    Stress often stems from neglecting self-care. Don’t forget to take care of yourself
    amidst the holiday chaos-this is huge. Prioritize activities that help you relax and
    recharge, whether it’s meditation, exercise, reading, or spending time with a close
    friend. When you prioritize self-care, you’ll both be better equipped to handle the
    demands of the season and be more present in your relationships. You can each
    only bring your best to the relationship when you are physically and mentally well.
  3. Set Realistic Expectations
    One common source of holiday stress is unrealistic expectations. We tend to
    picture the perfect holiday, complete with flawlessly decorated homes, gourmet
    meals, and harmonious family gatherings. Check yourself… the Hallmark

Christmas Movies are not real! Instead of striving for perfection, you and your
partner have to work as a strong team to set realistic expectations for yourself and
your loved ones. Budget is important. Don’t incur debt to make your holiday
special. There are lots of things you can do to express your gratitude and
appreciation for each other and your loved ones without spending money. Get
creative. One of my favorite gifts ever was a set of homemade coupons for a
carwash, hugs when I really need it, dinner when I am tired, cleaning the bathroom
when I am busy, cutting the grass, etc. Accept that imperfections are a part of life
and that holiday mishaps can make for cherished memories and inside jokes in the

  1. Create Boundaries
    Setting boundaries is essential for preserving your mental and emotional well-
    being during the holidays. Decide how much you can realistically commit to in
    terms of social events, gift-giving, and other holiday activities. Don’t be afraid to
    say “no” when necessary and protect your personal time and space. Don’t cancel
    your date night. Keep your team close and remember what priority for your
    relationship is. Communicate your boundaries respectfully to others and encourage
    them to do the same.
  2. Share Responsibilities
    If you’re hosting holiday gatherings or responsible for meal preparations, don’t
    hesitate to ask for help. Sharing responsibilities can ease the burden and make the
    holidays more enjoyable for everyone involved. Enlist the help of family members,
    friends, or even consider catering or potluck-style gatherings to distribute the
    workload evenly. It can be a lot more fun when everyone pitches in.
  3. Embrace Flexibility
    The holidays rarely go exactly as planned, so it’s essential to embrace flexibility.
    Unexpected challenges can arise, such as travel delays, weather disruptions, or
    last-minute changes in plans. Remember the pandemic? We weren’t even
    “allowed” to have a family gathering! Instead of letting these moments ruin the
    holiday spirit, adapt and find ways to make the best of the situation. Sometimes,
    the most memorable moments come from spontaneous and unplanned experiences.
    Consider an act of kindness by delivering meals to the elderly, volunteering at a
    Blue/Brown Santa event, take a group of kids to see Santa and pop some popcorn
    for a snack! The holidays are a great time to share with your community.
  4. Practice Gratitude
    Amidst the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it’s easy to forget the true
    meaning of gratitude. Take time to reflect on what you’re thankful for and
    encourage your loved ones to do the same. Expressing gratitude can shift your
    focus away from stressors and towards the positive aspects of your relationships
    and holiday experiences.
    Every team has to be ready for the game. They spend hours preparing mind and
    body, they don’t just show up unprepared. Your team is just the same. Maintaining
    relationships through the stress of the holidays requires intention, communication,
    and self-care. By setting realistic expectations, creating boundaries, and practicing
    gratitude, you can not only survive the holiday season but also strengthen your
    connections with loved ones. Remember that the holidays are about cherishing
    moments with those who matter most, and appreciating the opportunities you have
    in sharing a lifetime of amazing experiences. With a little effort, you can make this
    season one to remember for all the right reasons.