Managing Holiday Stress: In-laws Edition

The holidays are one of the happiest times of the year, right? For many people, that’s true. However, just as often, the holidays can feel overwhelming – dropping temperatures, mounting debt, and (arguably most stressful of all) time spent with in-laws.

While we can’t help with the temperature or the debt, we can offer some useful tips for making time spent with your in-laws as manageable and enjoyable as possible.

First, be supportive of your spouse. No matter how guilty your relatives might make you feel, always remember that you and your spouse are a team. Look out for your spouse and your children first.

Second, be decisive. Plan in advance which in-laws to spend the holidays with. Discuss every area of potential conflict. Plan what you will say if the other in-laws complain.

Third, be realistic. Odds are, regardless of the decision you make, you are likely going to disappoint someone. That’s just life. It’s inevitable. You can’t be everywhere at once. Make your decision, and move on.

Fourth, be forthcoming. If you aren’t going to accept an in-law’s invitation, tell them so as early as possible. Waiting until the last moment will only lead to frustration on both sides. Allow your in-laws ample time to make other plans, if they so desire.

Fifth, respect your spouse. No matter where you end up for the holidays, don’t complain. Try to stay up-beat. Your positive attitude is likely to be contagious, and your spouse will be thankful.

Finally, try to find time to relax. Remember that the holidays are supposed to be enjoyable. Get some rest. Take a nap. Try to slow life down if possible. Make positive memories that will last.