How to Avoid Holiday Stress

We are now well into the summer and if you are not already on holiday you will be counting down the days until you go. However, spending a day or two at your parents’ house or sharing a holiday apratment with friends can give rise to inevitable frictions which can spoil the holidays, often leading to resentments.¬†

What can we do to prevent arguments or at least manage them better? Almost all experts and psychologists agree on the importance of adjusting expectations. Whether it’s because you’re going to spend a few days at your parents’ house, with or without your own family, or because you’re going with your partner and your children, it’s normal to look forward to the day, idealizing the holiday as being perfect. It is pleasant to fantasize about how great the holiday is going to be and often this is what keeps us going at work as we approach the summer, but we also have to take into account that problems and unforeseen events will arise. Nothing is perfect, not even vacations. Assuming in advance that there will be complicated moments or that they will not necessarily be as you had thought will reduce stress and frustration significantly, helping us to face those moments in a better mood.

Planning is also key. Not leaving things to the last minute will prevent arguments. For example, packing your bags, and especially if you have small children, can be a stressful moment if left until the day before. If we prepare for it in advance, we will avoid starting the holiday already stressed and possibly avoid unecessary arguments. Once you get to your holiday destination it is important to have a certain amount of organization, thoughtful plans about what to do, meal times, beach time, bed time etc. But leaving room for the unforeseen. If you plan to spend a few days with your family at your parents’ house, it is important to leave time to spend alone with your family. Organize plans with your parents but also with your partner and your children.

Another determining factor is understanding that for a few days, the rules change. Because the biggest frictions are caused precisely by this. You are used to doing things your way. Maybe you prefer that the children eat at two because then they take a nap on time and don’t lose their papers, but your mother continues setting the table after a quarter past three because, after all, “we’re on holiday, what’s the rush?” . The first day you don’t say anything but the third day all the accumulated stress explodes like a pressure cooker and goodbye peaceful holidays. Or maybe the argument is about how to dress the children or your partner or teenage child decides that they dont want to go to the beach for one day and prefer to stay at the apartment alone. It is important that you avoid these unecessary arguments and maybe just for the holiday, accept that the rules change.

Another fundamental issue to deal with is the feeling of guilt. Especially when you live in a different city or country from your family, you may feel compelled to spend all your free time with them to make up for the time you cant spend with them the rest of the year. However, days of prolonged coexistence can take their toll so in the end it is much better to think of the quality of the time you spend with your family rather than just the quantity. So, before planning your holiday it is a great idea to just reflect on what will be expected from you and whether you are willing to meet those  expectations.

Unfortunately holidays are part of the recent happiness imperative. Be happy at all times and in all situations. Something that is completely impossible. Holidays are a time to be happy, of course, but we must understand there will be stress and arguments, but the holiday will not be less good because of that. The perfect holiday doesn’t exist. Let yourself go, in the literal sense, by not getting caught up in negative comments that your parents or siblings may make or in the face of any friction that may arise to prolonged periods of time with your partner. When arguments occur, give them the importance they deserve and dont let them embitter your holiday. Be water my friend and with a little bit of careful planning, you will enjoy the long-awaited holiday that is just around the corner.

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