5 Ways to Troubleshoot the Holidays Want your holiday to run smoothly? Here are 5 potential hangups and solutions to get you through. BY ANA WEBER
Control your stress this year by addressing problems in advance and coming up with a plan.
“ If you have to make multiple stops in one night, be courteous and give each host/hostess advance notice of your arrival and/or departure time.”
From high expectations, financial worries or even judgmental in-laws, the holidays have a special way of adding stress to relationships. Oftentimes expectations are so high they can leave you feeling drained, tired and not wanting to go anywhere.
While planning is required to pull off the season smoothly, it’s important to troubleshoot relationship holiday hang-ups along the way. Here are five common problems that pop up during the season and how to resolve them.
Potential Problem: They are very opinionated and I feel that they are judging me, yet on the surface they seem so nice!
Solution: Remember that you cannot change the fact that they are your in-laws. If you don’t see them often, it’s important to shift your thinking to simply celebrate the holiday and appreciate that it’s your union that brought everyone together.
Potential Problem: Spending too much on gifts and then feeling bad and stressed when looking at my bank account after the holidays.
Solution: Suggest your family do a gift exchange not to exceed a certain amount. This makes life simpler and allows you to keep control of your finances. Otherwise, come up with a total spend amount and divide that by the number of gifts needed to create a per gift price—then stick to it.
Too Many In-Person Obligations
Potential Problem: By definition, the holiday is a date where everyone celebrates at the same time; making it difficult to choose where to visit since the invites are from people truly special to me.
Solution: Organize your schedule and cut down the time spent at each party! If you have to make multiple stops in one night, be courteous and give each host/hostess advance notice of your arrival and/or departure time. With out-of-town friends/family, take advantage of Skype and Facetime. Make a quick call to say "hello" and send them cards ahead of time.
Separate Family Visits
Potential Problem: Traveling can be such a pain. There isn’t enough time and/or money to visit everyone.
Solution: Traveling and juggling life, work and family commitments during the holidays is not easy. You must divide and conquer. There is always next year or another upcoming holiday. You can also choose to visit in the beginning of the year—airline tickets are cheaper and you’ll spend less time waiting around in airports. This can also reduce the overall expenses.
Potential Problem: I’m worried my partner is expecting to receive something big this year, e.g., a vacation, car, piece of jewelry, etc.
Solution: It’s best to communicate well in advance to see if expectations are logical or simply emotional. We place too much emphasis on certain days and label them because it is a social or family behavior habit and ritual. On the other hand, on days marked with no specific titles we can extend attention, love, gifts, support, a listening ear and make it special "just because." Those moments recharge and refuel our batteries and our emotional state of mind. We feel loved and not neglected. During the holiday season it’s very important to think of others and keep them close to our hearts, but not just on those special days, but all year around.
Since 2005, Ana Weber has published 17 nonfiction books on personal improvement, covering personal happiness, time management, healthy eating, business/personal success, parenting and money relationships as well as a novel and a poetry collection. Weber's books have been featured on some of the top websites in the world, including Huffington Post, Thrillist, Prevention and Divorce.com. Learn more at AnaWeberDoxa.com