Holiday Relationship Survival Guide

Marriage and Family Therapist, Kelly Hoffman, had tips to help you strengthen your relationships while you survive the holiday let down.

Get moving (with a loved one) – after all the eating, the stress of getting things done, you need some good movement in your life. Research indicates that the best way to de-stress and feel good is with moderate exercise. Everyone exercises for fitness at different intensities, but remember, its not a race or even a workout. We’re talking about just feeling good and unwinding with the person/people you love. Go for a walk WITH YOUR SPOUSE AND/OR FAMILY, stop and talk to the neighbors, look at the scenery. Explore a park or a part of Portland/Oregon you’ve always wanted to see. Don’t let the rain stop you! Just ENJOY!!! The fact that the holidays are over and you did it!

Play games/Laugh Lots – Now, you wouldn’t think this needed a reminder, but people, families, couples, any relationships can get in a rut particularly around the holiday season. In the weeks between Thanksgiving and New Years you were so busy it was all you could do to just turn on a movie and try not to fall asleep. Now’s the pay-off time. Hopefully your fridge is stocked with leftovers so no mealtime stress, or at the very least you’re feeling like going simple after all the rich holiday foods, so take this extra time and just PLAY!!! Act crazy, sing songs, laugh, be intentional about making life fun. Pull out an old board game, invite friends over, heck, invite your kids friends over, and their parents too for that matter! Try a new activity, watch your favorite comedy and laugh laugh laugh ‘till your sides hurt. Again, there are numerous medical studies that have shown that laughter is a great stress reducer, keeping depression and sadness at bay.

Shelve Your To-Do list! – This is my favorite, but I have so many friends who have a hard time doing this. But please, for one week, no, scratch that, for this week, of all weeks, knock it off with the “to – do” list unless you absolutely have to. For this one week of the year, procrastinate the small stuff (I’m not saying don’t pay your bills or some other necessary activity) I’m just saying that little things like running errands or doing projects can wait. Invest in YOUR RELATIONSHIPS! This is the time of year when many people are on vacation, getting certain projects done now often just means they’ll sit until everyone comes back. So take the time to invest in your family and your important life relationships, make appointments with people instead of with work and chores.

Designate a No Drive or No computer Day: Sitting in a car or in front of a computer is stress full. Plan your time carefully. Don’t fall into the disorganized trap of running one errand each day. If you absolutely have to do anything, get it all over asap and try to keep away from machines in general. Your blood pressure will go down and you won’t find yourself as frustrated with things you have no control over, like other drivers or internet connections. During the free time, try TALKING to those around you. And listening. And laughing. Without looking past them at the computer screen. Without stress in your voice.

Just remember the Holidays are OVER!!! Enjoy yourself, and enjoy your loved ones, and the stress will just roll away … until next year.



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