Couples Christmas survival guide

Published on: 23rd December 2019

Christmas can cause couples to experience stress, financial worries and the pressure of expectations to make the big day perfect. If you can relate to these pressures, the following points may be helpful for your festive survival kit:

It’s all about communication!
The best thing is to talk about what you both want from Christmas and work together to prevent any disappointments. Focus on what matters and decide on a realistic budget. 

Family traditions 
We can all fall into a trap at Christmas of over questioning other people’s family traditions. This can lead us into conflict both within ourselves and with others. Learning to respect other people’s family traditions, continuing with good self-care and accepting each other’s differences are key. Communicate what you feel. Learning to accept differences helps us to build tolerance and be resilient. Consider each other’s needs over the festive period. For example, rather than agreeing to spend the whole of the festive period with your partner’s family, be honest if you can only manage a couple of days. If you anticipate a problem, tell your partner you will need to take a walk. This is also a good self-care strategy. The calming benefits of accommodating each other’s values and differences outweighs the effects of engaging in unhelpful conflict. Showing appreciation towards the efforts that are being made is a far better use of energy and leads us to compliments rather than conflicts.

Keep a lid on how much alcohol you consume. Excessive use and abuse of alcohol often adds to already stressful situations.

Trigger points
Plan for trigger points and when they happen, STOP! Take a breath and give yourself time to think before reacting. Consider how your behaviours are being modelled to any children or people that you care about that might be present. Manage your emotional response to these triggers by focusing on what is important to you, increasing your sense of control. These techniques have the potential to defuse avoidable arguments and refocus our attention on what really matters. 

Keep it simple
Traditionally Christmas is about togetherness and celebrating life. Rather than feeling you have to conform to the pressures of the festive period, why not go back to basics? Celebrate each other by recognising the good qualities each person brings. Try to focus on the things that are going well.

Practice some positive self-care in the context of your relationships. Looking after yourself leads you to being more relaxed in the company of others. Asking each other what each person need to de-stress and respecting this can have a positive impact on relationships. It’s not all about being active. Give yourself permission to flop-out in front of the TV and recharge your batteries.

Merry Xmas bauble