How to Reduce Relationship Stress this Festive Season


As the festive season nears, it is important to reduce the stress levels in your relationship so that you can truly enjoy the festivities. Stress can lead to unnecessary disagreements and misunderstandings with your partner, and can sour the relationship.

Forget about doing everything

Why is it that people feel the need to get everything done before the festive season begins? Why put so much unnecessary stress on yourself and on your relationship? Forget about doing everything before the festive season and take the pressure off you and your partner.

“Everything” is a lot of things, which are probably too many to complete in the time you have available in the lead up to and during the festive season. As you think about everything you need to do you will likely feel overwhelmed and stressed. Instead, be realistic and enjoy this time with your partner.

Stop Overwhelm

If you are feeling overwhelmed, you are probably thinking about everything that needs to be done in the coming days and weeks. Overwhelm is exacerbated by:
- thinking that there is more to do than there is actually is to do; and/or
- making everything equally important/urgent.

Sit down with your partner and make a list. By prioritising the list you will also reduce overwhelm as you will focus on the most important items first, then the rest one at a time.

Begin by making a list of things that must be completed in the lead up to the festive season. For example:
• buy presents
• write cards
• finalise holiday plans
• buy special ingredients and groceries, etc.

Then make a list of what you and your partner will do during the festive season. For example:
• relax
• entertain
• enjoy each other’s company
• holidays
• renovations, etc.

Prioritise for relationship success

Now is the time to set some priorities for yourself and your partner. As you look at the two lists, ask yourself, does each activity on your lists really need to be completed before the festive season. If not, it is OK to say no to things that are a low priority and that can wait until after the new year begins.

If yes, prioritise the actions on each list in order of importance, and then put a completion date next to each action. Once your list of priorities is complete and is realistic, you will feel more at ease and be able to enjoy the festivities together.

Make sure that you put aside time in your diary or planner to do these actions. By seeing the actions in your diary or planner it will keep you focused and will help to minimise any distractions. If you rely on remembering everything that needs to be done, you will likely add to your stress levels and there is a risk it may be missed (out of sight, out of mind).

Next, think about the things that can wait until after the festive season and make a list of the things you and your partner want to do during the following timeframes:
• during the festive season break
• during January 2020
• during February 2020.

Again, you can prioritise each list, put timeframes for completion next to each action, and then diarise these actions.

Notice how focusing on the priorities one at a time helps you to be more relaxed, and to enjoy your relationship with your partner during and after the festive season.



Dr. Vesna Grubacevic is an author, speaker, media commentator, the founder and Performance Transformation Expert® with award-winning company, Qt. She is the creator of breakthrough behavioural change techniques, holds a PhD, a BEc and has over 35 years’ business experience. She is passionate about helping people to improve their relationships and confidence. Her Amazon best-selling book, Stop Sabotaging Your Confidence, has also been gifted to Hollywood and Australian award winners, nominees, hosts and celebrities. For more free resources on improving your relationships, please visit

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