5 Winning Strategies for Staying Stress-Free this Holiday Season

The holidays are undoubtedly the most stressful time of the year, so much so that sometimes people need a holiday from their holiday.

Why do we let stress consume us during the season that’s supposed to be the happiest time of the year? Maybe it’s the pressures to find the perfect gift for every person on your list, or maybe you’re pressing end-of-the-year deadlines at your work and trying to juggle holiday traveling to visit your family that’s overwhelming you.

Whether the holidays are your favorite or least favorite time of the year, there is no doubt that you’ll encounter the overbearing stress that comes along during this season. To make it through with as little stress as possible, try out these five tips:

1. Slow down and breathe

It already feels like life moves at a million miles an hour, and somehow the speed manages to pick up as we near the end of the year. One second we’re in the middle of August and then suddenly December is almost over in the blink of an eye.

In times like this, it’s easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of life and let panic consume you. Deadlines are approaching, gifts need to be purchased, holiday parties have to be attended to, and you may even be hosting others which is a whole challenge in itself.

Instead of getting caught up in the rapid speed of life, try to slow down and breathe. Living in the moment is an important tactic for fighting stress and the looming anxieties about the future. Take moments to practice deep breathing when you’re feeling overwhelmed to help lower your blood pressure and anxiety. If you can activate the relaxation response by actively calming your breath, you’ll be able to mindfully combat stress.

2. Take time to rest

The overachiever will protest against this one, but it’s vital to get good quality rest to keep your mind and body healthy during stressful times. Not only will keeping up with your sleep improve your energy, it will also lower stress, improve your immune system, and help keep you healthy during the colder season.

Tempting as it may be to sacrifice rest during a busy time of the year, it’s important to cherish your period of restoration. When you sleep your body takes the time to relax in comfort, repair damage, and prepare you for the next day. Without your good sleep, you may be caught walking around like the Ghost of Christmas Past.

To get your best sleep at night, try creating a wind down routine that helps relax your mind body to prepare for better sleep. You can dim the lights, put away the technology, and optimize your environment for rest and relaxation in the evenings.

3. Don’t be afraid to say “no”

During the rush of the holidays, you’re victim to becoming an over-committer. In the spirit of the giving season, you may be pressed to give your time and assistance to everyone who asks, but you need to be realistic with yourself and know your boundaries.

“When you say ‘yes’ to others, make sure you are not saying ‘no’ to yourself.” –Paulo Coelho


Committing to three holiday parties all in one weekend and volunteering to assist with each of them is really pushing it. Not to mention the pressures of doing every fun winter activity including building gingerbread houses, building snowmen, decorating a tree in your home, decorating your home, going ice skating, seeing Christmas light shows, and every other winter highlight. Sometimes you have to be practical with yourself and know that it’s okay to not get to everything this year. Besides, there’s always next year!

4. Remember the reason of the season

You can allow the large crowds in stores, chilly weather, and extra time with family members annoy you, or you can step back and remember the true reason for the holiday season. The holidays are a time to slow down, reflect on your year, and be thankful for all that you have in your life. Sure your in-laws may drive you crazy, but your time with your family should be valued, especially if this is the one time of the year you get to spend time with them. A simple change in perspective can help turn your entire attitude around.

You can also celebrate the reason of the season by giving and donating to others in need. If you don’t have time to give to community service, you can simply gather up old coats and other items sitting around you home and donate them to a local charity. This will help boost the moods of both yourself and the people you’re helping.

5. Dedicate time to yourself

Don’t be afraid to prioritize yourself for a moment, or during any other period of the year for that matter. If you’re not in the right state of mind, you won’t be good company to those around you anyways, so it’s important that you always make sure you’re getting the time to yourself that you need and unplug for a bit every day.

During the cold, winter holidays, your self-care routine can capitalize on the comfort of getting cozy. If you like spending your free-time working on DIY crafts, maybe you can take a day to create your own self-care products like bath bombs, candles, and body scrubs. To make it even more fun, give them holiday scents like peppermint, cinnamon, and cranberry! Afterwards, you can use these products with a warm bath to help you relax and wind down.

If a warm bath isn’t your cup of tea, try a cup of tea! You can sip on a warm cup with relaxing music in the evenings and maybe even read that book that’s been sitting on your shelf all year long. To add to the relaxation, you can try chamomile and lavender tea which are known to have calming properties.

By incorporating all of these tips, you should be able to get through the holidays with ease and enjoyment. Happy holidays!

photo source | pexels 

Laurie Larson

Laurie Larson

Laurie Larson is a freelance writer based in NC who writes on home, health, and lifestyle topics.
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