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Relationship Tips for Managing Stress During the Holidays

November 20, 2019

Managing Stress During the Holidays Within All of Your Relationships


Holiday traditions vary, but one seemingly constant of the season is the additional time spent with family and friends. Managing stress during the holidays doesn’t always come easy, with 62% of respondents to a holiday survey reporting elevated levels of stress during the season.


Your to-do list could be to blame, but could your relationships be the cause of your holiday-related stress? While it’s impossible to control the environment of every gathering you attend and interaction you have, you can do your part to keep the peace with the following tips.


Managing Relationships with Immediate Family

With no school and holiday vacations, you’ll likely be spending more time than ever with your immediate family during this season. Here are a few ways to make sure your household remains calm and collected through the unavoidable holiday chaos.


  • Set expectations. Kids off school will have spare time on their hands. Don’t be afraid to throw a few extra chores their way to lighten your load. Let them know when it’s okay to have friends over and when you expect family time. That way, they aren’t overwhelmed or disappointed.
  • Make time for tradition. Sometimes schedules get too hectic and the things that matter most get pushed aside. To avoid the rush, have your family decide on one tradition this year that’s a must. With everyone on board, you’re more likely to make memories than have regrets.
  • Connect with your partner. Spend time with your partner or spouse celebrating the spirit of the season. Enjoy a romantic dinner or leisurely complete a few holiday errands together. No matter what you do, do it with purpose and appreciation.


Managing Relationships with Friends

The holidays are a great time to catch up with old friends, but if you have more friends than free nights, this is easier said than done. Here’s how to make sure you don’t get overwhelmed.


  • Develop a gift policy. Though it may seem a bit awkward, take the time to discuss gift-giving practices with your friends. Decide on a budget if you’re going to exchange gifts or make a pact to spend time together instead of money. This will prevent any awkward and unreciprocated gift exchanges.
  • Don’t overbook. Instead of scheduling dinner with the Jones’ on Friday, bowling with the Smiths on Saturday, and brunch with the Clarkes on Sunday, consider hosting one party where everyone can gather and celebrate together.
  • Gather in the name of charity. If budgets and schedules are making the idea of a dinner party stressful, consider a party with a purpose. Host a Friendsgiving fundraiser, work a shift at a local soup kitchen, or spend a night hosting Bingo at a senior living center. Whatever you decide, do it together and for a cause.


Managing Relationships at Large Gatherings

Over 80% of surveyed Americans attend gatherings with extended family and friends during the holiday season. If you’re one of them, you might be worried about unresolved or newly developed tension. But by following these guidelines, you can enjoy and escape the big event unscathed.


  • Accept what you can’t control. If your aunt has a few too many glasses of wine or your uncle frequently spouts pessimistic comments, accept their quirks and move on. Getting upset will only add to your stress, not prevent it.
  • Shy away from controversial topics. If you know a topic will create tension, it’s best to avoid it and introduce a safe holiday topic If a heated discussion begins to develop, you always have the option to walk away.
  • Share the work. Between planning, coordinating, cooking, and cleanup, holiday gatherings are a lot of work. If you’re in charge, disperse the work between family members. If you’re a guest, offer to help where you can.
  • Put off the celebration. The holiday season can fly by. If it’s easier, schedule large gatherings after the New Year. You are more likely to find a date that works for everyone. It may also be easier to enjoy the time spent with your family and friends.


Managing stress during the holidays starts by focusing on your relationships.


“And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.” – John Lennon and Paul McCartney


Maybe they weren’t talking about turkeys and tinsel, but John and Paul were onto something with their famous quote. What are you adding to your relationships? Make sure that what you’re putting out this holiday season is identical to what you hope to receive.


The holidays don’t have to put a strain on your relationships. Make managing stress during the holidays a priority, and the rest is sure to fall into place.


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