During the holidays, it’s not uncommon for some people to feel they continually get “stuck” with a vast majority of the responsibilities while preparing for family gatherings and festivities.  

It’s so often the case that once we take on certain roles or responsibilities, we are left holding them for years to come.

If you’ve been feeling this way lately, you’re not alone.

Whether it is the shopping, cooking, decorating or cleaning it’s important to share the work and make sure everyone in the relationship or in the family is contributing.

Otherwise, there’s an increasing chance that all you’ll have left to give one year is a not so discreetly wrapped box of scorn and resentment.

This can all be avoided by acknowledging the importance of both asking for and accepting help. Here are some ways to do just that.

1. Create an assignment board

In order to help your family and loved ones understand the importance of this for you, assign the tasks in a calendar or on a family white board.

This is not about taking the “fun” out of the holidays for everyone. It’s about communicating your need for support and assistance to avoid holiday burnout or feeling overwhelmed by any previous default of you having to be responsible for all the work.

Maybe your daughter likes wrapping gifts. Let her help you, even if they are less than perfectly wrapped in the end. It’s a shared memory and possibly a new tradition you’ve just set into motion.

2. A schedule helps

The reason for a plan or schedule is to help you get everything that needs to be done with efficiency. This will alleviate stress and anxiety if everyone holds up their end of things and understand they each have an important role to play.

The fate of the holidays won’t rest on any one set of shoulders, and you will lay the foundations for approaching future challenges as a team.

If things do not go exactly according to plan it’s ok. The important thing is that people have understood and accepted your reasons for requesting help and the value of pitching in and trying to help you. It’s a marathon, not a sprint, when it comes to embracing this mindset.

3. Be as zen as possible

Remain as outwardly calm and unflappable as possible, even if your core temperature is rising and your pupils dilating, when confronting any setbacks. This will help set the tone for the entire family.

Achieving and maintain inner calm is, of course, even better but not always possible. Do your best to set a good example.

Tell your family or partner that you are relying on them to keep things on track. Explain how important it is to your peace of mind that things not necessarily go perfectly, but that everyone is enjoying being part of the crew on a wonderful production called “the Holidays”   

4. Mix things up

For instance, if you go typically set up the outdoor decorations, make sure you ask someone else to step up and help you this year. Or maybe you’ve traditionally done the food prep and cooking. Maybe you feel that you are the only one that can place the lights properly. Maybe you feel you are imposing on an established family order.

The point is that none of that matters because asking for help is sometimes the only way you can jumpstart people into the realization you need and deserve their time and assistance.

If you allow your partner or family to accommodate your needs as much as you try to make space for theirs, everyone may begin to see the value of working as s team. This can bring you closer together and make the memories you form and share that much more poignant.

Some final considerations

Although you may have historically taken the lead on certain tasks in your role it does not mean that things cannot shift.

It can be very healthy and positive to reverse roles at times so that everyone has a deeper appreciation and understanding for all the work that’s been taken off their plate in previous years and the gift of time they’ve enjoyed.

The result may be a lot of overdue gratitude all around.

Lisa Ryan, LPC
Lisa Ryan, LPC
Relationship Expert - Infidelity Specialist - Guest Speaker ~ Loves the big blue sea, homely dogs, the unvarnished truth, and making people feel better. As an Infidelity Specialist in CT since 2002, Lisa continues to retain fairness, an enormous empathy for all clients and a desire to forge a positive outcome, with a commitment that matches that of the clients themselves. She helps couples rebuild their relationships after the discovery of an extramarital affair, a secret relationship or a technology addiction that breaches trust. She guides her clients through a 5-pronged solution-driven plan, designed by her, which has a success rate near 95%. Clients attribute their achievement to Lisa’s non-judgmental approach and genuine understanding of the unique anguish experienced by both parties when trust has been broken.

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