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December 3, 2013
by Casey Truffo, LMFT

How to Stop Holiday Anxiety from Affecting Your Relationship

December 3, 2013 02:55 by Casey Truffo, LMFT

The holidays are here and with that come fun, family, good times…and of course the stress and the anxiety. Whether you are hosting an event, traveling, or just staying in with a few of your loved ones, it can be a very stressful time of the year for many people. From giving out gifts to meeting new family members to trying to prep the right foods and still maintain your day-to-day routine, it seems like you could blow a gasket at any time. While you know this is all normal, your significant other may be standing on the sidelines wondering what in the world happened to the person they loved so much!

The Holidays Can Make You Moody

Yes, it is supposed to be a cheerful time of year, but the holidays can bring up many emotions. Wanting everything to turn out just right, dealing with any emotional memories or stresses that might have happened in seasons past, and other factors can take a huge toll on how you respond to those closest to you. So in instances where you’re supposed to be the loving and supportive partner the holidays can put a bit of a spin on things leaving you looking…well… just a tad bit crazy. Learning effective ways to de-stress and alleviate some of the anxieties can make a huge difference on your relationship.

Set Realistic Expectations

Trying to recreate a holiday from your past that you’ve heard others talk about, or even that you’ve seen on television can create a ton of stress. No matter how hard you try, there probably won’t be a “perfect white Christmas” that you’ve dreamt of. Keeping realistic expectations about the holidays can help keep you from getting anxious about how “good” or how “bad” it will turn out.

Take Time for You

Okay, so you have a laundry list of things to do and might be wondering how in the world you can take some time to yourself during the holidays. But you must, it’s a necessity! Go to the movies, take a walk around a local park, or just take a drive with no destination in mind. Getting your head out of the hustle and bustle of the holidays can make a big difference in your mood (and it can give you some much-needed time alone with your spouse).


Exercise to relieve holiday anxiety? It might sound strange, and you may wonder how you’ll fit it in with your hectic holiday schedule, but it is proven to be very effective in keeping you grounded when things feel like they’re going haywire. Studies have proven that exercising routinely will decrease the amount of stress you are under and increase the amount of serotonin levels in your brain to encourage a happy mood all around.

Learn When to Say No

Remember, the holidays are not about seeing how much one person can do for everyone else. If you are usually the go to person in the family, consider saying no from time to time. It might feel weird to do so, and you might feel bad at first, but when you realize how much less you’re responsible for during the holidays it can take away the anxiety that creeps up when there’s pressure to get it all done in time.

Ask for Help

Many times holiday anxiety is a result of one person taking on way more than they can actually handle. Instead of trying to be the “jack of all trades”, consider asking your partner for help. After all, that is what they are there for. Asking them to do simple things such as cleaning up the house for your guests, going to the grocery store to pick up last minute items, or to help prep the meals can lighten the load and allow the anxieties to subside.

Remember the Real Reason for the Season

Sometimes you have to take a step back and remember why you’re doing all of this in the first place. It is very easy to get caught up in the hype of the holidays and lose sight of what’s really important. When you find yourself getting anxious or stressed out, take a deep breath and think about your family, children, and of course you significant other. Focus on what the season means to you and your family, and remember that this is a time for joy and making memories.

Of course, these few tips aren’t going to completely eliminate the holiday anxieties you might be feeling right now, but it’s a start. Remember, your significant other is there to help you in any way that they can and taking your frustrations out on them only creates friction, stress, and more anxiety within your relationship. At the end of the day, it is your effort that your loved ones measure, and they will be grateful for everything you do during this joyous time of year.

If you’re having a hard time dealing with holiday stress, whether from unresolved, past holiday issues, family stress or just the general pressure you feel this time of year and you find yourself taking it out on your significant other, consider letting one of the trained counselors at the Orange County Relationship Center help you sort it all out. You deserve to enjoy the season! Give us a call at 949-220-3211, or book your appointment online today.

About the Author

OC Relationship Center OC Relationship Center, LMFT

You deserve to feel better - in your life and relationships. At OC Relationship Center we want to help you find more love, more joy, more peace...and less conflict and less stress. Our licensed and caring counselors can help if you are single, dating, married, divorced.

OC Relationship Center can be found at
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