Though the holidays are a festive time for many, that’s not the case for everyone. We must keep that in mind—not only in our communications with others, but also within our romantic relationships. If you and your partner(s) share a love for the holidays, that’s wonderful. But, it can be tricky if one person does and the other doesn’t. Here are five tips that can help to keep your relationship and season bright this year.
Create your own traditions
Christmas can be a double-edged sword for you or your partner. This time of year can be triggering and remind you or your partner (s) of times that are better forgotten. If you want to get away from the commercialized holly, jolly atmosphere of Christmas, you can try and create some of your own traditions that are meaningful to you and your relationship. Try some of these ideas to bring a bit of joy to this potentially triggering season.
- Have date nights – Plan to go out to a place that’s meaningful to each of you. You can even try a new restaurant or activity each year. This could help to create excitement and fun around this season.
- Have or Attend parties – It might make one or each of you feel better having people around. Try throwing an annual party or attending some to keep you occupied and feeling supported by others.
- Spend time with friends – Friends can feel just like family, especially for those with toxic or non-existent families of their own. A seasonal meetup with friends can be just what you need to keep your spirits high.
Ask before committing
If you are interested in attending a family or social gathering, ask your partner(s) if they would like to attend instead of assuming they’d want to go with you. They may experience social anxiety this season and may not feel like socializing with others. If they are willing to attend, thank them and show them you appreciate it. If they decide to skip the event, don’t hold it against them.
Instead, be understanding and plan to spend one-on-one time with them later. It’s also important to set your boundaries in this situation. Don’t allow your partner(s) to make you feel guilty for wanting to attend even if they don’t. This could end up making you feel isolated and resentful. How do you avoid conflict then? Tell them you understand how they feel, and you’ll respect their wishes not to attend. Then, let them know that you still plan to attend because this is something you’ve been looking forward to.
Be mindful of potential triggers
The holidays can be full of triggers. When someone is triggered and feels alone, they may resort to unhealthy coping mechanisms. It’s important to be supportive of their needs. As a partner, you probably know most of their triggers– if not all of them.
Therefore, stay mindful and avoid topics such as religion, politics, abuse, or other hot-button subjects that may cause an emotional reaction. If you know there is a potential for them to be faced with a trigger, give them a trigger warning so they have time to process what’s about to happen.
Validate their feelings
When your partner(s) expresses certain feelings to you, listen and validate them. Avoid gaslighting or telling them to “get over it”. Instead of sweeping their feelings under the rug, ask them if there is anything they need from you to make them feel more supported.
If it’s an issue such as depression, which is not an easy fix, let them know that you are there for them but give them the space they need if that’s what they want.
The holidays can bring on feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression. Working out together can help release endorphins as well as strengthen your relationship bond. You don’t have to go to the gym, you can enjoy winter activities together such as:
- Ice skating – For those who enjoy Christmas and winter-themed exercise, this could be fun, festive, and a great workout.
- Playing in the snow – Running around in the snow and throwing snowballs will burn some calories and work those muscles.
- Playing video games – If you want to keep things simple, you can stay in and play virtual exercise games with activities like boxing, dancing, or tennis.
Navigating the holidays with your partner(s) can be as joyous as you’d like, even if one of you isn’t the biggest fan of holidays. It’s all about compromising and finding activities that can keep you feeling close to one another. Creating your relationship traditions and game plan for the holidays can help each of you enjoy and maybe even fall in love with the season in your own way. Do you have tips of your own to help partner(s) navigate the holidays? We want to hear them. Email us your thoughts and subscribe to our newsletter today to stay in the loop.