How To Reduce Stress and Enjoy the Holidays
Do you get stressed-out around the holidays? These easy tips will help you relax and actually enjoy the holidays.
This week marks the beginning of 24/7 Christmas music and, not gonna lie, I look forward to it every year. I look forward to the holidays in general. I love the hustle and bustle, crowded shopping centers, decorations, friends and family and yes, the constant Christmas music too. The joyful anticipation of the holiday season is easy when it doesn’t come with impending stress.
This is our 8th (or maybe 9th) year that we have enjoyed a stress free holiday. We decided that the toll holiday stress was taking on us wasn’t worth it. We started saying no to more and changed overly complicated and demanding expectations to keeping it simple. Guess what,
family and friends still had a wonderful time…with less.
According to a classic song of the holiday season, it’s the most wonderful time of the year . . . It’s the hap-happiest season of all. Right. Or is it? The holidays are certainly a happy time for most of us, but the stress of the season can make many look forward to the time the holiday season is over instead of enjoying it.
According to the American Psychological Association (APA),
- Holiday stress has a particular impact on women, who take charge of many of the holiday celebrations, particularly the tasks related to preparing meals and decorating the home. Women are more likely than men to report an increase of stress during the holiday season. In addition, they have a harder time relaxing during the holidays and are more likely to fall into bad habits to manage their stress, like comfort eating.
- Workplace stress does not disappear. Although time off work is an important highlight of the holidays, people worry about getting enough time off of work and that work responsibilities might interfere with time spent with the family.
The APA also reports the leading holiday stressors are time (67 percent often or sometimes), money (62 percent often or sometimes), and commercialism or hype (53 percent often or sometimes). In contrast, work and money are leading stressors during the regular year.
To help you have a happy holiday season, here are 10 tips to help relieve holiday stress and make this time of year the happiest season of all:
Pay It Forward and Spread the Joy!
For the holidays join a local charity and help with serving dinners, dropping off presents and giving hugs. Every time we do a random act of kindness we help others while helping ourselves. Random acts of kindness give a boost of happiness that lasts for hours.
A Grateful Heart
Take a few minutes each day to write a gratitude list. The holidays are not about the presents, or the food, or the parties. The most important aspects of the holidays are the opportunities to connect or reconnect with friends and family. Allow the gratitude of being surrounded by loved ones to fill your heart.
One of the best ways to avoid holiday stress is to start planning early! This means making to-do lists, grocery lists, getting a head start on your gift shopping and more. When you wait until the last minute to do these things, that’s when the stress and pressure can be overwhelming.
Holiday shopping and thinking about a business meeting? Or visiting with family and thinking about your to-do list? You will be more productive AND enjoy doing these a whole lot more if you’re not trying to multi-task. According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, mindfulness is defined as the practice of maintaining a nonjudgmental state of heightened or complete awareness of one’s thoughts, emotions, or experiences on a moment-to-moment basis; also: such a state of awareness. Being mindful is being present and not letting your mind go to the next activity. Completely focus on the here and now.
Don’t Over Commit
There are only 1,440 minutes in a day, and as much as we might wish it weren’t true, there is a limit to how much you can accomplish. Especially around the holidays, there may be an increased demand on your time. Remember what is most important. Holidays (and life) can bring on all kinds of obligations like cooking meals, attending parties, buying gifts and sending cards. Don’t try to take on more than you can handle, and don’t spend more money than you can afford. Friends and colleagues will understand and too often the unnecessary high demands we feel we place on ourselves.
Don’t forget to make time to exercise. Raising your heartbeat and taking time to zone out with exercise helps relieve stress, anxiety, and tension that can be so prevalent around the holidays. Physical activity helps bump up the production of your brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters, called endorphins.
Have a Personal Space
Being in the same house for days with more people than typical can be stressful especially if you feel like you have nowhere to go for personal space. Carve out one place where you can go to be aloneJust 5 minutes of sitting in a quiet place and zoning out can preserve your sanity and rejuvinate your tired brain.
Bergamot, lemon, roman chamomile, geranium and ylang ylang are great for promoting instant relaxation. Applying oils topically means you can reap the benefits all day (or night)—read up on how to do so along with a variety of different ways to use essential oils in our Guide To Begin Using Essential Oils or our How To Use Essential Oils with a Diffuser guide with 10 essential oil blends to use in a diffuser.
Get Back To Nature
Bundle up and go outside. Going for a walk in the park or the woods helps many people relax and feel better when they are feeling overwhelmed.
Let Go of Perfection
Don’t obsess over doing it all. It’s ok if the house is a little messy or dinner is a little late. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Know what your priorities are and forget the rest.
Is the holiday season stressful? What is your go to for de-stressing during the holiday season? Do you look forward to or dread the 24/7 Christmas music?
be the best version of YOU
Thank y0ou so much for sharing these tips! I suffer with anxiety and stress triggers it, so these tips really helped me.
I love all of your 10 tips to reduce holiday stress, especially the 6th one, workout. Thanks for your sharing.
Reducing stress is so important especially during the holidays. I need to plan early and not to commit to so many things to reduce my stress.
This Christmas I’ve done my best no go over extend myself. Honestly I’ve felt so stress free. It is something all people can try to implement
Don’t over due it is what I’m planning to really do this year! (as I’m sticking new stockings for my kids today, trying to finish them in time for Xmas Eve…ahhhhhh! we lost our old ones during the move last year!) Anyway, the Me time is a must too (don’t get me wrong I love my family, but it’s hard to fully relax with a bunch of people!) I love your list to destress during the holidays!
Be mindful and letting go of perfection are two big ones for me. These are great tips! Thanks for sharing this with us right when we need it most.
I loved this post. I think stress kills the vibes of festive season.
Love your post and thanks for sharing. I have come to the realization that some of us get stressed for the holidays due to lack of adequate planning. Sometimes, quality time spent with a friend is worth more than any gifts. The most important thing for me is taking time to express my gratitude to my family and friends and to all that have impacted my life.
I definitely get more stressed around the holidays. Paying it forward and planning ahead are HUGE stress relievers! These are great tips! Thank you for sharing
Thank you for being so open about how tough the holiday season can get- the pressure to be happy during this time only adds extra stress! This list is a total game-changer when it comes to finding joy during the chaotic moments. Will definitely be turning to this post for some guidance through those tricky parts.
I think your advice for reducing holiday stress is spot-on. I’ve had years where I just haven’t enjoyed the holidays as much because of stress. I was putting too much pressure on myself, over scheduling and had probably impossible expectations. I’m learning to focus more on keeping my expectations in check, planning and organizing early and not committing to as many things during the holidays.
Love these list. I believe that over-committing and idealizing the holidays are stressful. Thanks for the advices!
Perfect reminders for this time of the year. It can get stressful trying to do everything, making sure to visit everyone, the added financial issues of getting gifts. It’s a lot. Now I am out of town for Christmas which in some ways makes it easier, in others makes it harder. I’m going to have to keep these ideas in mind for sure over the next week!
This time of year is very stressful. These are some great tips to reduce stress.
The holidays can be super stressful. I am going to use your tip on planning early.
It’s so hard not to over commit during the holidays. and this is such a great tips how to reduce holiday stress. and Yes essential oils is such a big help for me to calming my mind. We need to give ourselves more time to taking care of it.
Wow, well I think this blog post deserves some air time! This is so important and should be discussed now in all media outlets. I know that I feel the stress of the holidays as well and I promise after reading this – I will be mindful and really enjoy the with my family!
This time of year can get really stressful but I love every minute of it! While all the parties and shopping may be a lot there is just something about it that I enjoy.
Having a personal space is so important for the holiday time. It is truly my sanity when there’s too many people around.
These are all such great tips! I can’t believe the holidays are right around the corner!!
such a great list! I think planning early ism y favorite and most used tip – makes life SO much easier
These are some great tips. My favorite is to Let Go of Perfection. Boy, that’s hard to do. The holidays should be fun and relaxing!
Soo many great tips. I don’t start with Christmas till after Thanksgiving, but I do LOVE me some Christmas.
planning early is the key for me too. great reminder for this time of the year.
It’s all about giving, even if it’s just the most simple thing, it definitely counts. I make sure to spread the kindness especially this season. It’s really rewarding. We don’t do much for the holidays anyway. We just prepare some food and that’s it.
can’t believe how fast 2017 went!! great tips! i will definitely try to remember to let go of perfection! =)
LOVE this post! Too many of us (especially women) forget to take care of ourselves.
Great tips for such a stressful time of year. I love to volunteer even more at this time of year!
This list is so down to earth and real. Thank you for the good advice. I am struggling with and trying to do better with mindfulness. This was a good reminder to stop living in the anxious future and appreciate where I am and what I am doing.
I totally agree and love the tips to plan early and don’t overbook. You and your family/friends will enjoy your company all the more if you’re in a happier, relaxed mood!
Money is a huge stressor for us around the holidays, but several years ago we stopped buying gifts for extended family and we just spend money on just us now. It helped a ton!
What great ideas! Thanks!
Thankfully we’re traveling for Thanksgiving this year so my stress will be about packing, not the holiday. After that we’re kind of on our own and I’m oddly looking forward to it!
The holiday season can definitely be stressful and it is important to remember to chill and enjoy the moment! I think paying it forward is a big one to remember too
Great tips, I always take on way to much during the holidays and get so burnt out. What I thought would have been the worst Christmas a couple years ago with major remodeling and not getting finished until a week before Christmas let alone having any decor or tree turned out to be the least stressed, it was the strangest thing but I realized it was because I decided not to have any expectations.
I think “don’t over commit” is SUCH a helpful tip!! It’s easy to say yes to a million parties, and even to plan out how to hit 5 holiday parties in one day, but that is SO stressful and not healthy in many ways.
Love all of your tips. I could definitely use a few of these tips this holiday season. Thanks for sharing with us 🙂
Oh yeah…I can already feel the stress. Most of it comes from holiday baking – when I think about all the cookies and cakes I have to bake it’s enough to drive me mad LOL! Planning is key. And wine helps too 🙂 And yes to Christmas music 24/7!
such great tips to unwind & enjoy the wonderful holiday moments! thanks for sharing
a gratitude list is a very good reminder of what we have to be thankful for. I also find that praying helps!
It’s very hard not to over commit during the holidays isn’t it!?
I think over-committing and idealizing the holidays are some of the biggest sources of stress. It’s so easy to get stuck planning every single details and later get disappointed when things don’t go the way we hoped. Thanks for the tips!