Written by: Kevin D Arnold, PhD, ABPP

Ah, the magic of ‘There’s no place like home for the holidays,’ beautifully captured by Al Stillman in his timeless song. We all yearn for that picture-perfect holiday season filled with joy, but let’s face it – the financial strain and disruptions to our routines can sometimes cast a shadow on our festive hopes.

Stress, that uneasy feeling when problems pile up or seem unsolvable, is no stranger during this time. Our bodies react with a faster heartbeat, quicker breathing, flushing, or upset stomachs – all linked to the fight or flight response. Thankfully, we’re not running away from the dinner table or starting a family feud over a slice of pie.

Many of us bottle up these reactions, soldiering on and feeling drained by the season’s end. Post-holidays, the toll becomes evident in our relationships. Partners sense our post-celebration blues, but the idea of burdening them with negativity holds us back. Unfortunately, this reluctance often drives a wedge between couples.

Breaking this pattern involves turning towards our loved ones and sharing our feelings. In a healthy relationship, opening up allows partners to unpack disappointment together. This shared vulnerability can bring relief and reinforce the bond, reminding us that connection triumphs over isolation in the journey of love

As we head away from the holidays, it’s good to know that stress and disappointment might tag along. Despite our best efforts, it happens!

For an informative discussion of turning toward, consider the Gottman Institute: Turn Towards Instead of Away (gottman.com)

My blog at The 4 Habits of Highly Happy Couples | Psychology Today also has some helpful tips.

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