Looking after yourself and your relationships over the holiday season

It's a challenge at the best of times to achieve an optimal state of balance - time for yourself, time as a couple, time to complete paid and unpaid work - and if you have kids, time as a family and ideally some 1:1 time between each child and parent. The festive season adds a few more challenges to maintaining a relational balance, the lead-up to Xmas particularly often feeling like a mad scramble to get everything done and honour commitments to catching up socially with friends, colleagues and extended family.

Most of us are familiar with the warning signs we are getting out of balance. These may include:-

fatigue
changes in eating/drinking habits
tension or pain in the body
getting sick

Relationships can also show warning signs when your couple or family equilibrium is off balance. These may include:-

irritability
less ability to listen to each other and communicate needs effectively
conflict that seems trivial yet hard to resolve easily
withdrawal

It's important to have a way to check in with each other when your couple/family system is exhibiting signs of stress. If you are able to catch it early, it's possible to rebalance and protect your relationship from the unwanted effects of imbalance. Ways to redress the balance may include:-

reestablishing routines that ensure a balance of time together, separate time, completing work (paid and unpaid) and leisure time
taking extra care to eat and drink a healthy balanced diet (easier said than done in the 'Silly Season'!)
making sure that even if you only have a few minutes to spend together, this time is used to connect in a way that is meaningful to you. This might be quite different for each of you - one may need a hug, the other some time to talk and be really listened to, for example.
planning times for after the mad rush of festivities to rebalance - whether it be by taking a holiday, getting things done around the house, or simply 'being' together rather than only 'doing' together.

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