3 Ways to Navigate Family Issues as a Couple During the Holidays

One of the biggest challenges couples can run into during the holidays is family. This may be everything from too many familial commitments and traditions to a whole lot of unresolved conflict. Depending on your specific situation, it can take a toll on you personally, your partner and your relationship.

You might even dread the holidays. You might even think there are no solutions or alternatives. But there’s always something you can do. Below, two relationship experts shared different strategies that can help. If these strategies don’t make sense for your situation or ring true for you, consider working with a couples therapist to help you navigate your specific situation.

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Best of Our Blogs

Best of Our Blogs: November 13, 2015

Although it might be Friday the 13th, our Psych Central bloggers certainly aren't entertaining any superstitious notions this week; in fact, they've rallied together to help you learn about recognizing a bad relationship with your therapist, how to mindfully deal with difficult people, tips on building mental strength, and more.


How to Spot a Bad Therapist: 10 Major Signs
(Caregivers, Family, & Friends) -- Does your therapist tend to talk more about him or herself than about you? Answer phone calls during your therapy session, or fail to return your phone calls in a timely fashion? These and other factors could indicate you're dealing with a therapist who isn't right for you.

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Mental Health Hygiene Habits

Parents, teachers, and doctors regularly encourage young people to establish good physical hygiene habits. Here are just a few: Bathe daily. Eat healthy meals. Brush your teeth at least once a day. Wash your hands after you use the bathroom. Clip your toenails before they get too long. These habits become routine after a while.

Most of us probably were not intentionally taught good mental health hygiene habits. These habits also bring consistency to our lives, promote wellness and resilience, and protect us from becoming overwhelmed by mental illness.

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Storytelling Will Save the World

Captain’s log. Stardate January 2011. Where unfortunately many have gone before. I’m 26 years old and thinking about dying. Actually, I’m not being entirely truthful. I’m dangling halfway out the fourth floor window of my bedroom in New York City.

I don’t really want to die. I just want the emotional pain to stop, and I don’t know how to do that. Both my father and grandfather didn’t know how to make their own terrible personal pain stop, and now both are dead.
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Surprising Ways that Shame Shows Up

Shame is an insidious emotion that can sabotage our lives, especially when we’re unaware of its presence. Shame is like the many-headed mythological hydra. As soon as we lop off one head, two more appear.

We may be unaware of the shame we carry and what triggers it. One way to detect whether shame is contaminating our operating system is if we often get defensive and reactive. Perhaps our partner expresses disappointment that we didn’t complete a chore and we immediately think, “Nothing I do is ever enough. I’ll never make her happy!” We might defensively respond, “I was just about to do it, you’re always on my case!”

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We Never Spoke of It

My father’s nicknames defined him. Bones, for his length, and “Glue Tips,” for his good reach and sure hands as a tight end on the football team. He won a football scholarship at BYU. It wasn’t until Dad returned home from the Korean War that he set about wooing my mother. She wasn’t easily convinced, and in hindsight, she said if it weren’t for his good genes and long legs, he might never have had a chance with her.

My mother was in her early 20s when she married, and she started having children faster and easier than either of them wished. We were all beloved, and my mother recounts those early years, with five children under the age of seven, as her favorites. I was the middle child, squeezed between two standout older siblings and two mischievous younger ones.
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A Veterans Day Message of Thanks for 2015

Veterans deserve to be honored today for their sacrifice in defending our country and its ideals. Not only individual sacrifice from members in the military, but also the sacrifices made by their family and children.

Veterans also deserve access to quality mental health care. Veterans also deserve not to be discriminated against for acknowledging the emotional scars that combat can leave behind in an individual. So while the Veterans...
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For a Win-Win Marriage — Negotiate!

“We’re so in love nothing bad can happen to our relationship,” many people think before marrying. So they don’t talk about what’s important to each other and how they will address differences.

Then they get married and real life happens. Expectations that may have been unconscious surface. When they are not met by a partner, the relationship can get stressed to the point where spouses think about ending it, and some do.

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Coping with Common Challenges as a Couple During the Holidays

Holidays can be hard on couples because you’re trying to navigate family commitments and extra tasks and responsibilities. And that’s while you’re taking care of your regular schedule of work, household duties and (possibly) parenting, among other things.

But these things don’t have to overwhelm us or overshadow the joy of the holidays. Below, two relationship experts share the common issues that come up during the holidays and how you can overcome them -- and actually enjoy the holidays together.

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6 Tips to Stop Being a People-Pleaser

Has anyone ever accused you of being a people-pleaser at work? You might have felt put off, thinking, “Yeah, I like making sure everyone in the office is happy. What’s wrong with that?”

The answer? Nothing. It’s admirable to be a pleasant co-worker and a leader who helps others be successful. In fact, individuals labeled as “people-pleasers” are often kind and have honorable intentions. They usually accept heavier workloads, expend time and energy to enhance team morale, and care deeply for their company and co-workers. These are all positive attributes, so it might be difficult to see how looking out for others’ happiness could possibly have a negative impact on your career and professional happiness -- but it can.

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Brain and Behavior

Old-School Interventions for Today’s Stresses

We are so busy being busy we approach the day with a vengeance. Today is not a marathon; it’s an Ironman triathlon. To stay ahead we cut corners: skip breakfast; work through lunch; eat frozen dinner while glued to a digital screen. And we wonder why we are tired (but can’t sleep), sickly (yet can’t quite pinpoint the malady), and unfulfilled (in spite of the sacrifices, things are still not coming together).

There are a few old-school interventions that can help to get your head back in the game:

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