5 Tips for Handling Holiday Stress as a Couple

The hustle and bustle of the holidays are fast approaching.

While we’d like to say that it’s all fun and games, we know this season brings more stress than most others.

Hopefully, with a partner by your side, you don’t have to handle the holiday stress on your own.

So... what are some ways to handle it as a 'team'? 

1. Come Up With a Game Plan

Creating a game plan ahead of time is crucial for surviving the holidays. This game plan can include anything from where you’ll spend the time, and with whom, to when and how you’ll handle shopping and cooking. Devise a schedule that works for both you and your partner so you can handle the holiday stress alongside one another.

Because extended family can often be one of the biggest sources of stress during the holiday season, discuss together how you’re going to manage that. For example, this could mean balancing a limited amount of time with each side of the family while reserving quality time just for the two of you and your children.

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Stick to your schedule and don’t overschedule!

2. Be a United Front

The holidays and coinciding activities already put a dent in your routine, and when you have children, it can get more complicated. Try not to interrupt your regular schedule too much just because the kids are home from school.

It’s also important that you and your partner maintain a united front during this time. Kids like to push buttons and when Mom says "no," they’ll just go to Dad. Don’t let the holidays be an exception to the rules. Maintain this season of the year as you do the rest of the year.

Having the kids around all the time can also become overwhelming. Therefore, go on date nights and spend quality time with each other. Not everything you do during the holidays needs to be centered on your children.

3. Lean on One Another

It’s a pretty well-known fact that the holidays bring about feelings of stress and anxiety, but did you know that depression rates are also higher?

If you begin noticing an onset of depressive feelings, be transparent with your partner. Instead of isolating or sparing their feelings, let them know what’s going on so they can support you. Regularly check in with your spouse, as well, to see how you can support them.

Have fun together in order to avoid feeling down and out this season. Practice gratitude for what you do have and try to remember that the holidays are intended to be a season filled with joy.

4. Embrace Wellness

Holiday stress often leads us to slack when it comes to taking care of our bodies and ourselves. However, it’s can actually be the time we need to take care of ourselves the most.

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Set aside time to fit in physical activity – go for a walk, a hike, or to yoga class. Better yet, go out dancing together. Even if you both have two left feet - dancing can be a wonderful way to connect. When you do these activities as a couple, you’ll be more inclined to hold each other accountable.

It’s also vital that you get enough sleep and drink enough water. Even your most basic habits can be forgotten during the holiday season.

5. Budget Together

One of life’s biggest stressors is finance, which becomes even more stressful during the holidays. Sit down ahead of time and create a realistic budget for food, gifts, decorations, travel, special activities, etc.

When you come up with a game plan that you both can support, you’ll be less inclined to overspend. Adjust accordingly to your current financial situation – if this year is tighter or you’re saving up for something else, it’s okay to scale back.

Above all, this holiday season, embrace your partner and take advantage of the fact that you’re in a relationship. Working together as a couple, you can learn to navigate the waters of a stressful holiday season together.


Consider using some of your resources - both time and money - to help others. This can also be a wonderful tradition to start with your children. Host a serviceman/woman for a holiday meal, bring treats to a nursing home, sponsor a family in need.