With shopping, hosting events, juggling the needs of work, children and more, it’s no surprise that the holiday season brings more than its share of stress in addition to the joys of the holidays. That’s in part because holidays often bring together family members who rarely see one another and when they do, don’t often see eye-to-eye.

This can be especially true for families affected by divorce or separations. And this year, after dealing with the constant changes and demands of dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic for nearly two years, many families are getting together to celebrate the season after skipping such events last year due to lockdowns and restrictions.

With all of that in mind, it may well be a good idea to think ahead about reducing the opportunities and likelihood of stressful situations arising during this year’s holidays.

Set realistic expectations

Too often we set out to create the perfect dinner, the perfect get-together or to find the perfect gift. By doing so we set ourselves up for failure and that failure can create unnecessary stress. Imperfection is realistic and normal. Accept it and enjoy life – and the holidays.

Focus on the here and now

Thanksgiving dinner is not the time to bring up and debate issues and conflicts from the past. Doing so only potentially ruins the event but also creates more stress. Focus on today and the positives.

Reach out, don’t allow yourself to be isolated

Many people found the 2020 holiday season to be a lonely, sad time. Just because you cannot be with every loved one in your life this year – or even many of them – don’t spend the holidays isolated. Reach out to local organizations that perform community service or hold gatherings of their own during the holidays. Sometimes being with people is just as important as being with the “right” people. Make the best of your situation.

Think ahead

This can be especially important for divorced couples and their families. Realizing everyone – including the children – is under some pressure to be with certain people at certain times and that you may have to interact with an ex-spouse or their family is important. Promise yourself to do everything possible to remain calm and positive during a potential interaction. Planning can also minimize the amount of time you’ll have to interact with those people.

Keep up those healthy habits

Think about getting in a daily walk, not letting your eating habits fall apart completely (though there’s nothing wrong with holiday treats in moderation) and dedicating some time to relax can reduce the stress you’ll bring to that dinner or other celebration. Avoid back-to-back-to-back scheduling and stretching yourself and your family, too thin.

Finally, the entire team at Marler Law Partners wishes you and your loved ones a joyous holiday season and a prosperous 2022.

We truly appreciate having the opportunity to serve our clients and look forward to continuing to serve for years to come!