As an Austin Matchmaker, I hear lots of stories about holiday stress in relationships whether you are single or married. As I write this blog, Thanksgiving is next week; Christmas about six weeks away. Many of us are planning menus, looking for sales and, looking forward to time with family.
Or are we? As the saying goes “you can choose your friends but you can’t choose your family.” Whether you live far away or live in the same town as family, the holidays is the most important time of year to put your troubles aside. While you’re not alone in this issue, playing nice during the holidays – a time of joy, happiness, and getting along – isn’t necessarily the easiest.
Expectations are elevated during the holidays because of family rituals and assumptions about “how the holidays are supposed to be.”
- “Holidays are supposed to be joyous and happy.”
- “Holidays are times when families come together.”
- “If you don’t have family, then there’s no reason to celebrate.”
- “There’s no place like home for the holidays.”
- “The bigger the gift and/or the more we spend, the better.”
- “Everything has to be perfect.”
People want to belong and feel connected during the holidays. This desire can be so strong that we overextend ourselves emotionally, physically and financially. Examples of this include the following:
- Spending money to travel to be with family/loved one(s) with limited finances
- Buying gifts one cannot afford
- Attending social/family functions because we “have to” or “should”
- Preparing an elaborate, “perfect” meal or celebration
Stop Attempting Perfection
Attempting to have “perfect” holidays is absolutely futile. If you’re feeling pressured to recreate the picture-perfect holiday experiences portrayed in jewelry commercials, Hallmark cards and Lifetime movies. Set a course for somewhere “between Hallmark and heartache. In other words, don’t strive for perfection (you won’t achieve it), and recognize and deal head-on with some of the stressors of the season.
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