Holidays are a wonderful time of year, but sometimes they can become a source of burnout that puts a damper on your spirit and your ability to enjoy this time together. Whether one or both spouses is feeling this way, holiday burnout can strain your relationship and inhibit your ability to enjoy what should be an otherwise peaceful and happy time.
Instead of stressing us out, the holidays are meant to be a time of year to reflect, celebrate together, and enjoy a season of giving. In last week’s post, we shared three tips for avoiding (or overcoming) burnout together this holiday season. This week, we’re sharing three more.
Reconnect with happy childhood memories
Sometimes, we get bogged down by day-to-day life, and the holiday season begins to fall flat for us. It might be harder to get excited or feel joyful, and it definitely doesn’t feel like the “most wonderful time of the year.” One or both of you might have grown cynical or apathetic to the holiday season over the years. If this sounds familiar, maybe it’s time to reconnect with your inner child.
Remember what this time of year felt like when you were a kid? It was a magical, fun, awe-inspiring time full of anticipation and excitement. Some ways to jog your memories might be:
- Looking through pictures of past childhood holidays
- Sharing childhood holiday memories (maybe even traditions!) with your kids
- Watching your favorite classic holiday movies together
- Making a special trip to see Christmas lights and tree displays
- Getting pictures made with Santa
- Making cutout Christmas cookies (with icing, of course)
- Building a gingerbread house
- Making a snowman (if it’s snowing where you live)
If you have children of your own, pay close attention to the way they respond to the holidays, and try to get on their level again. If not, take a little time to reconnect with your happy childhood experience (or create your own new memories if you don’t have happy ones).
Break with tradition
Sometimes, long-held holiday traditions can become cumbersome and stressful to maintain. Maybe your tradition was established by a member of your family who has since passed away, like a grandparent. Perhaps it’s associate with a recent death or tragic circumstance, and it’s no longer joyful for you to carry it forward. Whatever, the case, if you’re trying to maintain a tradition that causes you grief or stress during the holiday season, it might be time to consider letting it go and creating a new tradition in its place.
Brand new traditions can move us forward, rather than keeping us immersed in the past. And while it can be hard initially to break a pattern you’ve followed for years (maybe even your entire life), new traditions breathe new life into your celebrations. They give you something to look forward to, rather than something to dread.
New traditions can anchor us in the hope of the future. And hope is what the holidays are, ultimately, all about.
Remember the reason for the season
The holidays are about hope, love, togetherness, and giving. Even if you’re planning to uphold every tradition and attend every gathering this season, simply remembering and reflecting on the reason for the holidays can help you overcome the emotional stress that so many couples feel during this time of year.
When we place our attention on others and on Jesus, cultivating a sense of abundant peace during the holidays is possible. This time of year is about giving, and this season—this time with one another—is a gift. Filling ourselves with a sense of gratitude and childlike wonder is a great way to keep the wind under our sails and our minds and hearts focused on why we’re celebrating.
How will you and your spouse fight burnout this holiday season? Have you successfully overcome it in the past? Share your tips and stories in the comments section below.