Navigating Holiday Stress: The Power of Date Nights for Busy Women

Christmas Date Nights – Do This, Not That

The holiday season, with its twinkling lights and festive cheer, has a reputation as a magical time. However, for many busy women, it can also bring a whirlwind of stress and overwhelm. Between the endless to-do lists, family obligations, and the pressure to create the perfect (or at least Pinterest inspired) holiday experience, it’s easy to feel like you’re drowning in tasks. In the midst of this chaos, it’s crucial to prioritize self-care and connection with your partner. One powerful way to achieve this is through regular date nights.

Now before you close the tap or switch over to Amazon, let me tell you – I’m a busy, ambitious woman myself. If someone told me to try and fit in a date night during my already busy, chaotic week I would tell them to go F- themselves. Truly. But, as a licensed therapist with a keen eye for what supports functional relationships, it’s hard to argue with the power of date nights.

Couple making cookies with dough and cookie cutters.

What Does Date Night Mean To You?

If nothing else, consider date nights as a long deserved opportunity to connect to yourself. You once had fewer obligations. You were a girl whose business or job didn’t make major decisions in her life. There was once a time when you didn’t have to rearrange your day if one of the kids threw up at school. Do you remember that version of yourself? This is a chance for you to create a sacred 2-hour pocket of time to connect to fun and relaxation. And your partner is lucky enough to see you in the brilliance of your relief. With this in mind, here are my top 6 reasons why you should plan a date night with your partner this holiday season. And if the kids ask where the Elf on the Shelf is… just tell them Elfie had too much curry at Benja’s and is sleeping off his food coma.

How To Create Quality Time With My Partner Amidst the Chaos

The hustle and bustle of the holidays can leave you feeling like you’re on a never-ending treadmill of tasks. Amidst the chaos, it’s essential to carve out moments for quality time with your partner. Date nights provide a dedicated space to step away from the holiday frenzy and focus on each other. As you share a meal or enjoy a quiet moment together, you’ll find that the stress begins to melt away.

Real life example: My partner and I recently escaped our previous kiddos for an adults only wedding reception. The drive from St. George to Mesquite plus the reception gave us a fun setting to discuss our vacations hopes for 2024 and get aligned on some larger life goals. It felt like coming together as a team.

Holiday Stress Relief for You and Your Relationship

The weight of holiday stress can take a toll on both your mental well-being and your relationship. Date nights serve as a powerful stress relief valve, allowing you to unwind and connect with your partner in a meaningful way. Take a break from the holiday madness, and let the magic of a simple date night provide the relaxation and rejuvenation you desperately need.

Real life example: My family recently got in the habit of going to some of the local campgrounds on Friday nights. Did you know that many of the larger ones outside Zion National Park offer live music to guests and locals? Check out AutoCamp Zion and Zion Under Canvas. Even though we took our kids, they often ran off to play on the jungle gym or roast marshmallows, giving us the feel of a date night minus the babysitting. Plus, going out on a Friday night made the weekend feel much longer.

Couple embracing with holiday lights background.

How Do I Build and Strengthen My Connection To My Partner?

The holiday season can sometimes strain the connection between partners as they navigate different obligations. Date nights offer a sanctuary for communication and intimacy. Use this time to share your thoughts, dreams, and concerns. By fostering open and honest communication, you’ll find that you and your partner become even more tightly knit, creating a stronger foundation for your relationship.

It Is All In the Research: A 1990 study (Fisher & Arnold, 1990) examined the different ways men and women perceive holiday shopping. Women in the study felt “compelled to do the ‘work,’” which often involved “kin-keeping,” or maintaining social ties. Christmas shopping was determined to be “women’s work:” they were the primary gift-givers and spent more on shopping than men. According to the study, “women appear to be socialized to take it quite seriously as real and important work.” Over 30 years later, this has not changed. Talking to your partner about all mental list making and overwhelm you feel can help create understanding.

How Do You Make Christmas Special For Two People? Or More?

Amidst the chaos of the holidays, it’s easy to lose sight of the joyous moments. Date nights provide an opportunity to create cherished traditions with your partner. Whether it’s attending a local holiday event or enjoying a quiet night in with your favorite holiday movie, these traditions become touchstones in your relationship, adding a sense of stability and joy to the season.

Therapist Insight: I am often talking to my therapy clients about expectations during the holidays. Many women feel pressure to do Christmas a certain way or worry about letting extended family down. My child-free and childless clients often feel a unique challenge to keep the spirit of the holidays when so many Christmas traditions are meant to impress young ones.

Whatever your situation, I encourage you to think critically about holiday traditions. Is it really that important to have 6 dishes to pass at Christmas if you’re a stressed out mess? Or would it feel better to make a lasagna, buy a veggie tray from Harmons and enjoy quality time without the fuss?

Celebrating Each Other: The Holidays And Love Languages

In the midst of holiday chaos, it’s easy to forget the importance of celebrating your relationship. Date nights provide the perfect occasion to express gratitude and celebrate each other. Whether through a thoughtful gesture or a simple exchange of kind words, take the time to affirm your love and appreciation for your partner. It’s these small moments that can make a significant impact on the overall well-being of your relationship.

It’s likely that both of you are a little more stressed than usual. Each partner may need it more or less, this way or that way, but we all like to feel seen and appreciated. Amidst your long to-do list it’s important to make a moment before, during and after date nights to express gratitude for your partner. And if you aren’t feeling the love from your partner this is a good time to be overt in your request for support: “I’d like a massage before bed tonight” or “I felt really appreciated when you noticed how clean the house was. I hope you’ll keep doing that.”

Two women sharing a tender, affectionate moment indoors.

Embracing Romance in the Holiday Atmosphere

The holiday season naturally carries a romantic ambiance with its twinkling lights and cozy settings. Date nights during this time allow you to tap into this atmosphere, fostering romance and rekindling the spark in your relationship. Use the magic of the season to reconnect with your partner and create lasting memories that will carry you through the stress of the holidays.

Simple, quick, free or low-cost date nights might be just the trick:
● Drive around Santa Clara and look at the Christmas lights while you listen to Christmas carols (I like the “Christmas Crooners” playlist on Spotify).
● Get sushi from Harmon’s and eat in your living room while you watch “Fireplace For Your Home” on Netflix.
● Grab a themed coffee like a Gingerbread Latte from Perks! Espresso & Smoothies on Telegraph Street or St. George Blvd and sip it as you walk around the Red Hills Desert Garden.

But whether you go fancy or simple, as you navigate the holiday season, remember that self-care and connection with your partner are not luxuries but necessities. Schedule regular date nights, and view them as an investment in your well-being and the health of your relationship.

The holiday season may be hectic, but by prioritizing these moments, you’ll find that the stress begins to fade, replaced by the warmth of connection and the joy of shared experiences. Your relationship deserves this attention, and so do you. Take a break, breathe, and let the magic of date nights transform your holiday experience.

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