So, how’s that quarantined, hunkered down, “stay-at-home” Christmas season going? After 10 months of unprecedented togetherness what would you say about your relationship? (oh, yeah, and how’s that home schooling going?) This has been a trying time to be sure. For many, its also been a time of growth, new found closeness, and the opportunity to bond in new and satisfying ways. What has been the determining factor of your relationship experience? Has this been a time that will become a cherished memory or a dark and discouraging year you will try to forget?
If you need intervention or guidance, a couples counseling session might be something you want to consider.
Look for the Silver Lining
For the vast majority of couples an accounting of this year will include many examples of both. It has been difficult not to focus on what we don’t have. We have limited opportunities to visit with family, travel, and shop for Christmas presents without fear. Even going out to eat or drink, and perhaps, going to our daily workplace or school has been restricted.
Tragically, in all too many cases the year has included great loss—family members and friends we loved. Plenty of people faced challenging financial strains, and many lost opportunities for ourselves and our children. Identify the unexpected joys and advantages this opportunity for closeness has produced. How you choose to deal with this real loss and the genuine bright spots will absolutely determine what 2021 will be like for you.
No one believes that after January everything will be back to normal. It will likely take months for the world to even approach the freedom and confidence we felt before this pandemic. However, the presence of hope that this will end eventually, — will mitigate some of the depression and despair.
Don’t be tempted to “wait for change before we express gratitude and joy”. Cling steadfastly to whatever sense of peace you can muster. Equanimity is a skill we should all strive to develop. It involves mental calmness, evenness, self-control in the face of difficult circumstances. We must take proactive steps to strengthen our mental fortitude. Dr. David Bloodgood offers coaching and guidance to help you and your partner get through the holiday stress.
Positive mental health exercises help nurture a healthy relationship and keep negativity at bay.
The Christmas/Hanukkah Season provides us all with a wonderful time to embrace of peace, joy, forgiveness, and thankfulness—regardless of our religious beliefs. The desire of peace, security, and happiness is basic to all human beings. Have you made a “Wish List” this year for presents? This is a wonderful time to make a list of AFFIRMATIONS of what you DO have, not what you don’t have.
Literally, writing down the things because of which your heart overflows with gratitude is not just a new-age or psychotherapeutic exercise. It opens your very being to joy, kindness, and a rich appreciation of all that you have. You can try reading self-help books like Fanning the Flames: Revving up the Romance in Your Relationship. It will give you and your spouse a better understanding of each other. Alternatively, that’s a great Christmas stocking filler too!
Relationship Reset this Holiday Season
Relationships strained by enforced togetherness are particularly in need of a “reset” today. The minor abrasions of annoying habits, and the misery of circumstances can cause one or both of you to even question the value of your relationship. Also, the generalized unhappiness of the world can easily be projected directly towards each other. But, all these can all be dissolved by the conscious decision not to replay and cling to those events.
Instead, begin today to focus on the positive qualities of your partner. Delight in their innate goodness, competencies, talents, and the occasions when they brought you happiness. Considering even their good intentions—not always completed or fulfilled—can begin the process of healing to a battered and exhausted relationship. JOY TO THE WORLD—this trial is going to come to an end……..but DON’T WAIT until that happens to begin focusing on joy and expressing that warmth and love to your partner, your family and friends, and to the world.