The holidays can prove to be a challenging time for couples, no matter how ironclad your relationship might be. Added pressure from family members, stressful work deadlines, and talk of 2018 resolutions combine to create a "make or break" period, says relationship expert and sexologist Nikki Goldstein.
In an article for Body+Soul, Goldstein explains which habits and situations can act as triggers during the holidays and how to manage or avoid them. "There are various factors that might be playing havoc with your love life that you need to consider before you hit the silly season," she explains. Among them is alcohol, social media, and the pressure to be happy. Here's how to navigate the holidays and keep your relationship strong:
Keep Social Media Posts in Perspective
"Consider how scrolling through other's false projections of life might make you feel," says Goldstein. "The New Year can cause us to reevaluate our life and social media creates unnecessary comparisons." Over the festive season, think about tuning out a little more and focus on what's going on in your life instead of in others. It's worth remembering that you'll rarely see family feuds and tensions on someone's Insta feed.
The festive season is often jam-packed with office parties, family dinners, and celebrations, but it's worth remembering that alcohol can change your mood and actions. "Alcohol can have a negative impact on the best of days, but add in a pinch of stress and chaos and it's a recipe for fire." If there's been tension in your relationship, she recommends keeping cocktails to a minimum.
Shrug Off the Pressure to Be Happy
"We are pushed this image over Christmas of the perfect happy family when in reality, most people are feeling stressed," she points out. Try to take the pressure off and acknowledge that nobody is perfect.
Up next: a sex therapist shares the most common questions she gets asked (and the answers).