Stop Thanksgiving Stress: 4 Steps To Relationship Gratitude

Thanksgiving is a stressful time — even if you aren’t playing host, and for many couples the holiday pressure can cause fights and frustration. So what can you do about it? Since you can’t stop the holidays (and really, you wouldn’t want to), the best thing you can do is to focus on turning this stressful season into a time of gratitude. These 4 simple steps can bring you and your partner closer together no matter what the holidays throw at you.

Build A Tradition

Every time two people come together, they bring their own history and baggage with them, and when it comes to holidays, they also bring traditions. Maybe you have to make your mom’s stuffing at Thanksgiving or your partner’s family always insists on playing host. Whatever your traditions are, though, as a couple you need to find common ground, and the best way to do that is by building a tradition of your own.

Creating traditions helps build and strengthen family bonds and, especially if you have children, can help create a sense of identity. And remember, traditions don’t have to be complicated. Some ideas you might consider include:

  • choose a dish to make together
  • write gratitude letters
  • make a special Thanksgiving morning breakfast
  • have a movie marathon after the meal

Bond Through Service

A lot of people choose to volunteer at food pantries and soup kitchens on Thanksgiving, and these are great ways to give back, but did you know that participating in volunteer work as a couple is also a great way to nurture your relationship. And in the face of seasonal stress, volunteering can also boost your mental health, give you a shared sense of purpose, and even make you both happier.

Set Clear Boundaries

One of the primary sources of holiday stress is family conflict — and not necessarily conflict between you and your partner. No, most of the time, those conflicts revolve around people outside your household, whether it’s family members feuding over who’s hosting the holiday meal, fights over travel or who will be included, or arguments over the meal, you can guarantee that someone will probably utter the phrase “you’re ruining the holidays” sometime in the next two months. But guess what? As any wise advice columnist can tell you, you can’t ruin the holidays — they’re just another day and you get to decide how you spend them.

Rather than buckle to the countless demands on your time, take a moment with your partner to set some clear boundaries. Decide together what’s important to you this season and don’t be afraid to say no.

Say Thank You

Finally, no matter what the holidays throw at you, the most important way to short circuit fights and improve your relationship is to remember to say thank you to your partner. Maybe they picked up the heavy cream on the way home from work or vacuumed the house before guests arrive. No matter the act, it’s important to show gratitude.

And if you’re having a hard time remembering to share your appreciation? Consider getting some help. Sign up for Emi today and begin building better relationship habits. You’ll be amazed at how the smallest gestures manage to make such a big difference in your relationship.